If you expected the COVID-19 virus to spell the end of globalisation, think again. The World Trade Organisation now predicts that world trade flows will increase by 8.0% in 2021, bouncing back following last year’s decline of 5.3%, when the pandemic closed borders and stymied supply chains.
The reality, from a trade perspective, is that COVID is a blip. In a world where consumers’ disposable income is increasing, where transportation and distribution is ever more sophisticated, and above all, where digital connectivity brings people together, the marketplace will continue to globalise.
That, of course, is good news for product suppliers. If you produce and supply food and drink, beauty products, health and wellness items, or a myriad of other consumer products, you have more markets and customers to sell to than ever before. And while selling into new markets for the first time can be daunting, the RangeMe platform makes all the difference, providing a one-stop-shop for international suppliers hoping to sell to retailers in key markets.
Happily, the platform continues to expand, having added retailers in the U.K., Australia, and the Netherlands in recent months. Suppliers targeting these markets can now use RangeMe to identify the right retailers for their products in each case – and connect directly to them.
Ease of doing business
If you have limited experience of selling to retailers in overseas markets, the U.K., Australia, and the Netherlands are all excellent places to begin building up your export sales. All three score highly in the World Bank’s rankings of global economies, based on the ease of doing business; the U.K. is at number 8, Australia at number 14, and the Netherlands at number 42 (though it scores more highly on key issues related to trade).
In practical terms, these rankings mean that in each country, you can depend on political stability, the rule of law, and clarity about the operating environment, whether that’s product regulation or taxation arrangements. These provide a stable foundation for any business selling into the country – if you are based in a developed economy, trading in any of these markets should not feel too different compared to your experience at home.
From the specific perspective of suppliers, it is important to know that these are relatively wealthy countries. Australia, for example, boasts an average per capita income of $53,190, according to the World Bank. That compares to $51,280 in the Netherlands and $41,330 in the U.K.. The figure for the U.S., for the purposes of contrast, is $62,850.
These are also markets where consumers have a propensity to buy products from international producers as well as the domestic market. For example, the U.K. and the Netherlands are amongst the world’s top six importers of food and drink products, for example. Australia, more geographically isolated, is further down the rankings, but has steadily increased imports in recent years.
The same but different
This is not to suggest suppliers will have an identical experience when trying to sell into each of these markets – and it is important to understand the nuances of each country where you think retailers might be interested in stocking your product.
One key difference is how online sales are growing, particularly in the groceries sector. The U.K. has one of the highest penetration rates for online groceries in the world, but Australia and the Netherlands are further behind. That means retailers in the latter two countries are particularly conscious of how products look and feel on the shelves of their shops – and likely to remain so.
Another factor is seasonality. If you’re selling products with any degree of seasonality to them, bear in mind that when it is summertime in the U.K. and the Netherlands, it’s winter in Australia – and vice versa. In Australia, moreover, the huge size of the country means shoppers in one city may be experiencing very different weather conditions to those elsewhere; a one-size-fits-all approach may not cut it with retailers.
In addition, the characteristics of each country’s retail sector naturally differ. In the Netherlands, for example, supermarkets in major cities tend to be smaller, which means they often don’t stock the full range of products – retailers may only want to source more international and esoteric goods for their larger out-of-town stores. There is also a very clear split between traditional grocers, where prices tend to be higher, and the discount supermarkets, which specialise in selling more own-label goods at lower prices.
In Australia, meanwhile, competition in the retail sector is more limited than in Europe, with fewer international companies having entered the market; the supermarket industry is particularly polarised. That may mean you need to target more specialist stores, which are focused on your product segment.
The U.K.’s retail sector is more sophisticated, with a larger number of players serving a bigger economy. U.K. buyers are increasing their purchases of international goods, reflecting demand from their customers for broader and more interesting product ranges.
Do your research
The bottom line is that you will need to plan ahead when targeting sales in each of these countries. Your pitch needs to be honed by market – and according to the specific retailers you think might be interested in stocking your products. Some basic market research will help you with this task.
The good news, however, is that because RangeMe makes it easy to get your brand and products in front of retailers in the U.K., Australia, and the Netherlands, you can concentrate on getting your messaging right. The platform provides a shop window for retailers in each of these countries – you just need to display your wares in the right way for each of them.
To learn more about creating a best-in-class brand profile that stands out to retail buyers on RangeMe, go here.