In 2020, ecommerce became more important than ever. With government enforced lockdowns meaning people have to stay at home, the coronavirus pandemic led to a significant shift in consumer behaviour, as more people turned to online services to acquire what they needed. This change in consumer behaviour inevitably pushed UK SMEs to rethink their business models and pivot to a digital-first approach. This adoption of digitisation was not only a great opportunity for SMEs, but also their accountants, bookkeepers, and advisors.
Despite the unprecedented events of last year, Satista research reports that ecommerce retail is forecast to reach $6.54 trillion by 2022. With the pandemic driving ecommerce last year, 2021 is set to follow suit, but with so many global ecommerce stores, competition can be tough. This means brands will have to think carefully about how they pivot to a digital-first strategy.
Getting started selling online
If you are thinking of selling online for the first time, there are a number of important factors to consider. First of all, you will need to determine if you are going to sell via a marketplace like Amazon, or via your own online specialist storefront. You will also need to consider localisation, if there is enough demand for your product or category in your chosen market, and cross-border shipping options.
Here are some key steps in starting to sell online via a marketplace:
- Product restrictions: there are some restrictions to selling certain products through online marketplaces, so it is worth checking what they are first.
- Selecting a selling plan: there are typically two options – will you opt for a basic or a professional plan? Remember, each has different benefits and cost implications.
- Register your products: to register your products you’ll need to provide personal and business information along with additional details. The final step is to provide bank account details to complete payment transactions.
- List your products: how you list your products is dependent on what selling plan you opt for.
- Start selling: once your products are listed, you can get ready to start selling.
For more information, take a look at the WorldFirst guide, ‘How to start selling on Amazon’.
Which online marketplace should you sell on?
As ecommerce sectors become increasingly global, more and more businesses set their sights on overseas expansion. With 58% of UK SMEs using online marketplaces such as Amazon, it can be difficult to decide which platform is best for your business, but WorldFirst can help alleviate some of the pressure. WorldFirst partners with major marketplaces and ecommerce service providers on a global scale, allowing you to grow your small business into a global enterprise. With flexible local and cross-border payments and risk management solutions such as forward contracts, you can collect, convert, and manage international funds with ease. Our collaboration with these online marketplaces could increase opportunities for the international expansion of your business. A list of major marketplaces can be found on the WorldFirst website.
The WorldFirst ‘Meet the Marketplace’ series can offer additional insights into which type of Marketplace is right for your business. Each marketplace partner is carefully selected by WorldFirst to ensure they can cover a breadth of global seller preferences including location, category, suitability, and reach. Marketplace Partners featured in December 2020 and January 2021 included:
Meet the Marketplace video series can be accessed for free here. This resource is being added to constantly.
How can WorldFirst help?
Driven by their mission to make it easy to do business anywhere, the WorldFirst payment platform is enabling customers to collect, convert, and make payments locally, all around the world. Since 2017, WorldFirst have provided their customers trading on ecommerce marketplaces with dedicated solutions to help their businesses thrive by taking a customer-centric approach. Designed with SMEs and online sellers in mind, World Account enables you to receive international funds, and make same-currency and cross-currency payments faster and easier, giving you more control than ever before.
Hedging currency effectively
For anyone who is involved in sending or receiving goods from overseas, this kind of movement can have serious implications for their business. This is one of the key reasons more and more businesses are looking to manage their risk with the right kind of hedging strategy. When it comes to protecting yourself in the currency markets, especially when importing or exporting is concerned, navigating exchange rate fluctuations can sometimes be a tricky business.
WorldFirst allows SMEs to forward buy currency, locking in an exchange rate at a given point in the future. If you or your client are looking to mitigate exposure from an individual contract, WorldFirst’s team of dedicated relationship managers can discuss the risks and benefits of the different options available to you.
A trusted partner
WorldFirst understands the level expertise an accountant can bring to SMEs, that’s why WorldFirst partners with accountants to help their clients save time and money. With many years’ experience working with SMEs who are selling internationally on global marketplaces, WorldFirst has the knowledge and expertise to help accountants, bookkeepers and their clients succeed in the global marketplace. Here are some of the ways they provide support:
- Save SMEs time and money when paying international suppliers via our transparent pricing structure.
- Provide robust hedging solutions to help protect a client’s profit margins.
- Combining technology with fantastic personal service, to find the most suitable solutions to streamline their payment flows and business processes.
- Customers are able to connect Xero to their WorldFirst currency accounts to seamlessly reconcile their transactions.