World eCommerce rank: 3
Population: 64 million
Components: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
Official Language: English
Gross domestic product: $2.94 trillion
Currency: Pounds Sterling (GBP)
Although the extensive UK marketplace is diverse and highly competitive, British consumers always have a keen appetite for fresh and novel goods and are very willing to try new things - especially those who are well-versed in social media. As such,any prospective e-merchants will need compelling, unique and preferably exclusive offers, and will need to put mechanisms in place to attract their target customers’ attention in this well-subscribed marketplace.
Consumers access the internet via mobiles, tablets and personal computers, and can place orders online or in-store. Pick-up options are abundant, with a customer often able to choose between picking up in-store and opting for a home/office delivery location or a convenient pick-up point, such as a corner shop or station. When it comes to the all-important returns process, the choice is just as impressive, so brand owners and retailers need to ensure that they have a robust omni-channel supply chain in place to serve their customers across all of these channels.
While consumers continue to do much of their shopping from laptops and desktops, a larger proportion than ever before are now using mobile devices to shop online - smartphones and tablets accounted for 51% of UK online retail sales in Q4 2015, which was a substantial increase on the 45% recorded in Q3 – and up from 40% in Q4 last year.
It is perhaps not just the obvious services that a logistics provider must offer to meet these omni-channel requirements. Whilst a robust IT system is a given, it must be capable of reaching across the entire supply chain - from warehouse management and eFulfilment to carrier management and reverse logistics/returns management.
Although the extensive UK marketplace is diverse and highly competitive, British consumers always have a keen appetite for fresh and novel goods and are very willing to try new things - especially those who are well-versed in social media. As such, our prospective e-Merchants will need compelling, unique and preferably exclusive offers, and will need to put mechanisms in place to attract their target customers’ attention in this well-subscribed marketplace
They will also need to build and retain high levels of consumer confidence and fulfil expectations in order to ensure the completion of the order process and good levels of customer retention. It is essential that an aspiring entrepreneur is also aware of the various hurdles and developments in the UK marketplace and infrastructure, and caters for them accordingly.
In recent years, UK consumers have grown accustomed to fast-loading web pages, slick presentations, comprehensive information in English, credit card payments, and, at least above a certain threshold, free standard delivery with no-hassle returns.
With its multichannel shopping culture, the UK also leads Europe in terms of mobile revenues, and a prospective merchant will benefit from being able to identify and exploit such developing opportunities. Finally, shoppers in the UK are the recipients of a vast array of consumer protections, imposed by both UK and European law. A comprehensive understanding of all of these areas is a necessary element of an aspiring e-Retailer’s journey.
Ultimately, whilst many factors make the UK an excellent and rewarding location in which to set up an online shop, as with any new trading location, care should be taken to thoroughly research and analyse your new market and its rules and procedures.
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