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Territory Overview

Map of the UK

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)

The UK has a relatively mature and sophisticated e-market of around 41 million high-spending online shoppers - who spent £114.9bn online in 2015 alone. This potential for high financial return together with the relative ease of setting up a business in this location clearly make the UK an attractive destination in which to set up an online shop.

 

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.


Further information

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eCommerce Environment

eCommerce Environment

eCommerce Environment This section concisely documents statistics and facts related to the use of online and mobile in the UK and specifically examines these channels as they relate to online retail.
Marketing and Branding

Marketing and Branding

Marketing and Branding This section explores the most popular and effective marketing mechanisms in the UK.
Business Environment

Business Environment

Business Environment This section examines the UK political and socio-economic environment and how it will affect your online business.
Finance and Payments

Finance and Payments

Finance and Payments This section documents the key financial information you should take into account before trading in the UK.
Legal

Legal

Legal This section provides an overview of the legal framework of the UK.
Corporate Forms

Corporate Forms

Corporate Forms This section explores the main corporate forms that exist within the UK and the requirements for operating in each.
Logistics

Logistics

Logistics This section examines significant trends, advances and practices in UK logistics and delivery.
Customer Experience

Customer Experience

Customer Experience This final section offers information and advice on inspiring consumer confidence and promoting customer retention.

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