Why You Should Expand your E-Commerce Supply Chain Overseas

Written by EO Executives on May 09, 2018

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As a Procurement and Supply Chain headhunter, we have seen a huge trend in UK businesses expanding their online operations overseas.

It’s a great opportunity.

To add value to our client network we have sat down with experienced Director Tony Leach, to produce a two-part series covering why and how you can go about this expansion – and what to watch out for.

So, in this blog we interviewed Tony to look at why you should take your e-commerce operations internationally.

Tony started by painting a picture for me: “In today's global marketplace, advances in technology are continuing to connect the world's economies in new ways, making it possible for businesses of all sizes to embrace new channels to sell, compete and expand their footprint."

Why now? “With the advent of modern technology and transportation, never has the world been more connected. Successful modern brands are utilising e-commerce markets and technology to sell across borders to global markets. Taking a multi-channel approach helps them maximise sales reach and rapidly open new geographical markets. All channel types — marketplaces, social selling, flash sales sites, or your own e-commerce store drives opportunities that can rapidly increase unit sales and market exposure."

What are some of the challenges? “Although the market opportunity is clear, entering new markets is complex. Countries take their import and export laws seriously, and if you don't ship the right goods to the right people in the right ways, you could be subject to penalties or even denied entry to markets. However, with the right planning and seeking expert advice, you can considerably mitigate risk, manage compliance and model a supply chain that drives growth.”

How should organisations get organised internally? “Being successful in new overseas markets requires a focus on all aspects of the international supply chain, from e-commerce sales planning, freight, logistics and inventory holding through to compliance with indirect taxes, customs regulations, and important procedures.”

What is the first steps to international expansion? “Selecting your supply chain partner and planning your e-commerce logistics is a critical step. Whether you are working with a 3PL to setup a local warehouse hub in country or drop shipping from origin to off-site markets. Having the right supply chain partner is crucial to choosing the right inventory management and shipping model. Logistic planning affects the long-term viability of the market, the overall growth in the region and the expansion into further domains like – orthogonal products, supplementary services, etc."

"Shipping models can add a lot of cost to the final product, and global e-clients may not be able to pay the premium to have your product shipped. Therefore, to avoid losing the customer at first glance, you must create a robust shipping model that suits the market and your product range."

"Having a logistics partner that can offer multiple routes to market aligned to the cost and expected customer experience of the e-client is critical to not only serving the market, but also margin management to maximise profit. Last mile delivery is commonly the costliest part of the supply chain, so the logistics partner must have the flexibility to offer a global eFulfillment network that enables speed to market and a flexible pricing structure."

Now that you have an understanding around why businesses should expand their supply chain overseas, you will need to know how to implement this. For more on this, watch out for out second part of this series with Tony.

In the meantime:

Connect with Tony on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tony-leach-179aa914/ 

tony leach

Having worked in North America, Asia Pacific, and across Europe. Tony has a broad understanding of cultural differences and organisations which have allowed him to formulate continually successful business strategies to client’s needs. Tony is a specialist on overseas sourcing and has extensive experience implementing and deploying enterprise supply chain systems. 

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