Online SMEs are looking to export
A member of the UK200Group of independent accountancy and law firms has commented on a new study from Royal Mail into the ambitions of small online UK retailers. It has revealed a confident mood among online businesses as they look towards new markets. The annual tracker revealed that Australasia has seen the most significant increase in interest as an export destination, as 23% of small online retailers believe it holds the greatest opportunity for export sales growth, compared to 5% last year. Asia has also increased in importance as a target export destination with 26% believing it holds significant sales opportunities; up from 12% last year. Meanwhile, Europe remains the main target for exports with 48% of small online retailers aiming to sell their products in the Eurozone in 2016, compared to 30% in 2015.
Jonathan Russell, partner at UK200Group member firm ReesRussell, commented:
“The small online retailers and traders who I act for are less keen on the export market than the Royal Mail’s survey suggests but what the Royal Mail considers a small business may be different to me. Most online retailers I act for are actively avoiding selling overseas for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the complex VAT rules, especially for EU countries, on distance selling make many not wish to get involved. Secondly, shipping internationally is even more difficult than nationally and as most online traders are utilising merchant services of one sort or another where customer protection is often a problem with domestic sales, let alone international ones. Lastly, there is a significant problem with fraud on international sales again utilising the credit card protection rules.”