Globalisation has seen the world become a vastly interconnected place. Travel, trade, communication and technology has allowed different countries to adopt each other’s cultures and traditions. This has allowed the world to become a truly global economy. Huge multinational corporations have seen the benefit of sprawling their operations across the planet. It has proven much cheaper and more effective to shift manufacturing to the Eastern market. This is for a number of reasons – most notably cheaper labour, weaker currencies, a growing infrastructure and rich resources in these areas. Asia’s big businesses are looking for opportunities to break into the EU market. Chinese and Indian corporations are trying to diversify their worldwide profile by dipping into the EU market. There are, however, a number of different of hoops these companies need to jump through. At the same time globalisation has seen the market become a vastly populated arena which is hard to enter without overcoming a number of trade barriers. Lots of companies from India and Asia are trying their hand at breaking into the UK and European markets. In this global economy we live in it is understandable why companies from all over the world are trying their best to enter these markets. However, they are facing a struggle, for a number of different reasons…
How to break into a UK market – is it feasible?
- The UK economy alone is worth a whopping $2.8 trillion.
- The UK market is not exclusively about price – it is important that the quality of product or service is to a high standard.
It is more than understandable that companies from all over the world are looking to have a slice of this huge economy and market. The UK has had long standing historical ties with India and Asia. India was once a British territory and is a current member of the British Commonwealth. It is the only English speaking country that has these historical ties with Asia. This is a good place to start when considering Asian countries breaking into the UK market. When entering a Western market with a new product there is a number of different factors to consider.
Product – Quality & development
The UK market, in some circumstances, regards the quality of the product or service higher than it does the price. This is more evident in a city like London where consumers are happier to part with their money in return for a quality product or service.
A few things that you can do…
Product adaptation to resonate in new landscape
- The product/service being provided needs to be adapted to the specific market it is entering. This is particularly true when entering the UK market – a market which differs from location to location.
- Whether it be changing the packaging, or the way the product or service is presented to the market all variables need to be considered in order for something to be a success in a new market. For example, the market needs in a traditional city like Nottingham may be different to the needs in a cosmopolitan city like London.
- If you are a manufacturing company with a focus on B2C services, product packaging is imperative. This is the first tangible experience your customer will have with your product or service and it needs to leave a lasting impression.
- Information is readily available on packaging, health and safety online. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/product-safety-for-manufacturers
- Come out of the Ho Jaya ga (this will be done) delivery concept. It is vital that a top quality service is provided. It really has to be second to none so that there is no doubt in the customer’s eyes that your product or service is a top of the range product or service.
Is the UK market the best market for your product?
The UK market is perhaps somewhat sceptical of products and services from outside the UK. The UK is very proud of products that come from their own shores.
- For example, a lot of big UK companies place huge emphasis on providing customers from call centres based in the UK.
We can also see this in other industries such as the food and drink market where British people are far more comfortable purchasing food products from Britain. The same goes for any new product, concept or idea that comes to the UK – British consumers will immediately stand them up next to the products that they are used to. That is why it is vitally important when entering the UK market to have a clear strategy for that chosen location.
1) Your product or service will need to be backed by some local partner who can help guide you in to the UK market. Having some local knowledge about the market you are entering can really make all the difference. There are many ways of doing this. One of which involves using UK-wide distributors. The distributor can purchase your exported goods or services directly from the manufacturer and sell them on to a third party, avoiding costly taxes. A distributor may have had complete coverage of the UK before Brexit negotiations took place. Their approach may have to be altered depending on the outcome.
- Distributors may look to do business on a more regional basis, setting up shop in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- Companies wanting to use distributors as a means of getting their products and services into the market need to adhere to a strict set of guidelines set out by the EU.
- Ensuring that their practices remain transparent to the EU and their directives allows companies to provide their products and services to an expanded market.
2) Another way of instilling confidence in the UK customer is to rebrand your product with British values. For example Beko, the Turkish consumer durable company which is going from strength to strength in the UK and European markets. Beko have partnered with UK based charity Barnardo’s which has added value to their brand and shown them in a positive light. Visit their website to see the good work that they are doing – https://www.beko.co.uk/about-beko.
3) Having a strong communication channel with a watertight process in place allows companies coming in to the UK to set realistic and achievable goals with no over commitments. Having excellent presentation skills allows companies to show off their products or services in the right way.
4) Proof of concept- this is my favourite part! The reason being showing that you are ready to adapt and change your product, service and process in a new market allows you to grow as a company learning more about the markets you are entering. Being able to adapt or change your product, pricing, packaging, UX, CX before you fully immerse yourself in the market. It is always advisable to do it the right way, however long that takes.
5) The international, digital marketplace – The UK has one of the largest presences in the world when it comes to online shopping, bettered only by China and the USA.
- Approximately 87% of the UK population said that they had bought something online in the last 12 months.
The online marketplace is bigger than ever and this is where many companies from all over the world are focusing their efforts, and rightly so.
Digital marketing companies such as… ( We have no financial association with these companies)
1) Crowdform https://www.crowdform.co.uk/
2) Revolution Content Marketing http://revolutioncontentmarketing.com/
3) Sierra Six Media – https://www.sierrasixmedia.com/
are leading the charge in effective ways of bringing companies looking to break an already crowded market to the forefront.
- Having an online presence is vitally important for companies who want to be part of one of the biggest markets in the world.
Lessons from a market stalwart
The USA has found ways to infiltrate the EU market, providing a blueprint for China and India’s biggest companies which would allow them to thrive. Asian businesses looking to break in to the EU market post-Brexit need look no further than the USA and how they have got around the many perceived barriers. For example many US Law firms have established their own UK offices or have created links with local authorities in order to get the right legal advice when it comes to trade laws.
- Companies wishing to take a slice of the EU market must lay the groundwork and be willing to create positive relationships within the countries and regions they are hoping to do business.
Successfully laying the groundwork will allow businesses to create lasting relationships where businesses can essentially get their foot in the door to a lucrative and formidable market.
The indomitable size of the EU market makes it the most important trading arena in the world. No wonder companies from far and wide are looking to break into it and get their slice of the action. The effect of Brexit on the EU trading block remains to be seen but it is still a market that is well worth companies investing their time and effort into. Companies from China and India are expanding rapidly and should make every effort in trying to break into this considerable market.
If you’d like more information on any topics throughout this post, please get in touch direct with Chetan Dogra via email on firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com