March 25, 2013–Every year around April, tens of thousands of people fly across the globe to Guangzhou, China for the Canton Fair, one of the largest trade shows in the world. It’s big, overwhelming, and can come with an expensive price tag. The good news is that in the age of e-commerce, you can find the suppliers you need without boarding an airplane or paying any entrance fee. Alibaba.com’s Michael Lee, Director of Global Marketing, offers the following five tips for businesses wanting to trade globally:
1. Exploit the power of the web and find the right platform. E-commerce opens up the entire world as your potential source of products or supplies. It’s convenient, cost- and time-efficient. You can find suppliers working in your field and drill down to identify highly qualified manufacturers whose factories will work with you to produce top-quality products.
Appeagle.com–Global research and advisory firm Forrester has released a report predicting that eCommerce sales will increase by 13% in 2013. This would mean that online sales numbers would reach 262 billion dollars, a whopping 31 billion dollars more than then the previous year. Forrester also predicted that this surge in eCommerce sales would continue through 2017 eventually reaching 370 billion spent online.
The Forrester Research data shows a growth rate of 10% compounded annually from 2012. Of course that data doesn’t include things like travel, but it does include groceries, video games and movie tickets. The firm even predicts that by 2017, eCommerce will amount to 10% of all US retail sales. That’s compared to 8% in 2012 and 2013.
Where is this growth coming from?
The most major growth is coming as the result of larger retail stores and websites putting more money into their online marketing, mobile marketing or what is currently being referred to as “omnichannel” or “multichannel” efforts. These efforts are all geared towards promoting eCommerce shopping and making consumers more comfortable with buying online.
ShipStation–A few weeks ago, we announced our integration with Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). The integration is a great step forward for retailers who sell on multiple channels to take advantage of having Amazon fulfill your products rather than you having to keep your items in your warehouse/storeroom/etc. The greatest benefit to our integration was that it opened up the process to easily have Amazon fulfill your products that you’re not selling on Amazon.
Now, we’ve opened the gate even wider, and are happy to announce that you can also set up an FBA UK account! What this means is that you can ship your products off to a UK warehouse, and then have Amazon fulfill those orders to many European countries, just like you were a UK seller (meaning, cheaper rates than shipping them from the US to Europe). If shipping prices were a barrier to you selling your products overseas, this new integration can certainly help with that.
Basically, you ship your products to Amazon’s UK fulfillment centers, and pay the appropriate fees. List your items on your chosen platform (eBay, Buy.com, Shopify, etc.), and when they sell to certain countries in Europe, you can fulfill them via Amazon. Using ShipStation, you can even automate this process using Automation Rules & product tags. (We’ve got detailed instructions at the bottom of the article here.)
Appeagle.com–Last week the USPS announced that budgets cuts would require them to no longer provide mail on Saturdays, but maybe you can get your package delivered on Sunday. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe recently told MSNBC that the USPS would soon start delivering packages on Sundays.
Donahoe said, “In some areas, we’ll be delivering packages on Sunday starting soon, so that’s big innovation.” Though Donahoe was vague on when the new program would commence, he added, ‘It’s going to happen soon. I’m not telling you anything else. Just watch for your letter carrier in your neighborhood.”
Saturday Deliveries, Too?
While it’s great that the USPS added another day for package delivery, the statement is nonetheless odd. Just last week, the post office said they were cutting Saturday deliveries, except for packages. Everyone assumed that Saturday would remain the day for packages and that carriers just wouldn’t deliver regular mail that day.