Borderless shopping: will the ‘new normal’ drive more small businesses to go global?
According to early 2020 statistics, UAE online shoppers made more than half (58%) of their online purchases overseas. Now, with lockdowns and social distancing forcing even the biggest fans of brick and mortar shops to purchase everyday products online, this trend is set to accelerate.
Many small businesses know that this is the way of the future. In a survey by SME10x for UPS, 73% of small business owners in the UAE said that in order to grow, they need to export more. However only 51% said they export regularly, with another 31% saying they only export irregularly or intermittently.
So, the question is, why aren’t more businesses taking advantage of the virtual marketplace and exporting more regularly? The advent of the virtual marketplace has opened doors for companies of all sizes to trade across borders almost as easily as doing business at home. It is increasingly becoming clear that to prosper in tomorrow’s market, you will need to go global.
The first step when looking to make your first cross-border sale is to find opportunities to get plugged in to the global marketplace, and there can be no better opportunity than Expo 2020 Dubai, as the largest event ever held in the Arab World, and the first World Expo held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
When it opens its doors in October 2021, business owners looking to grow their global customer-base will find plenty of support, with Expo 2020 having pledged to boost the sector by diverting 20% of its budget towards small businesses, a target that remains on track. Through its licensing and retail initiative, it is also helping businesses with their digital journeys by offering assistance in setting up or strengthening their online presence.
In recognition of the important role small businesses play in both the UAE and the global economy, Expo 2020’s global reach presents an opportunity for entrepreneurs to attract interest in their products from around the world. And as its Official Logistics Partner, UPS is committed to supporting Expo 2020 in this mission.
Historically speaking, however, there have been logistical barriers that have made businesses hesitant about going global. Managing taxes and duties associated with crossing borders is the most prevalent of these and certainly for small businesses shipping internationally, customs clearance can be challenging - but it is also an important differentiator for small companies to avoid any delays and to ensure products are delivered in the shortest possible time.
The good news is that today all the complexities associated with shipping internationally can be taken care of by logistics companies that offer technology solutions, expert advice and global networks to make trading across borders much easier.
Global logistics partners offer end to end international shipping services with simplified and automated customs processes, as well as visibility and tracking across the supply chain, reducing the burden for their small business customers so they can focus on developing and selling their products.
UPS is one such company that has SMBs in its sights, and is continually looking for new and innovative ways to provide services tailored to the needs of their customers.
Driven by a strong focus on innovation, UPS recently upgraded its website to provide a more simplified and intuitive experience when creating international shipments, in line with its customer-first ethos. The online process guides customers every step of the way and provides insight into total landed costs, including duties and taxes, meaning businesses can notify their customers of any additional costs before their package ships – critical to being competitive with today’s consumers who expect full transparency.
In the current market every decision counts, and the key decision for SMBs going global will be to find the right support to meet their cross-border shipping needs. Finding the right logistics partner will ultimately provide business owners with the agility and flexibility required to tap into high growth markets, and build a sustainable future for their company.
The businesses that will emerge triumphant from the uncertainty created by the pandemic will be those that find the right partners with the right capabilities. Going global is no longer a choice, it’s a necessity and it is not a sole venture – it is one best done in pairs. Let UPS help you move your business forward by delivering what matters.
This piece is contributed by the team at UPS.