The Summit aims to give businesses, whatever stage of their international trade journey, the practical advice and invaluable resources they need to begin the next step of their export journey. The day consisted of workshops, energetic panel discussions, insightful speeches and plenty of time for networking with likeminded delegates from new and established UK and international businesses.
As expected, with the latest Brexit developments dominating the headlines, the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) and the impact this will have on British businesses was on almost everyone’s lips. But the underlying feeling was that of getting on with business and looking at the opportunities further afield.
Do more trade, instead of just talking about it
Opening the Summit was Adam Marshall, Director General of British Chambers of Commerce, who commented on the current lack of clarity for British businesses. With one in every two organisations in the British Chambers network reporting Brexit as a current barrier for them to do business normally, Adam emphasised the importance of bringing back confidence.
However, Adam was still optimistic that business will lead the way by unlocking new markets and creating new opportunities: “International businesses are more likely to grow than those who stay in the domestic market. Smooth trading with EU should be government priority, we need to be optimistic but also have clear heads.”
Moving goods across borders
Shannon Diett, Vice President of Marketing at DHL Express UK, joined a panel of international experts to discuss some of the challenges moving goods across borders can bring in this time of uncertainty, and how they can be overcome.
When asked what actions businesses can take when faced with these concerns, Shannon said: “The good news is that there has been a growth in the non-EU market sectors. Look beyond Europe. The more markets you’re in, the higher your prospect for growth.”
The panel was also asked what they thought the outlook for businesses in five years’ time would be, to which Shannon said: “We’ll be talking about business and markets and growth again! Business will find a way. There is so much entrepreneurial spirit in the UK, especially in e-commerce, the opportunities out there to look beyond Europe are huge. The prospects for growth can only grow.”
Actions to take in the final stretch
A particularly relevant and extremely helpful keynote was given by UK Global Trade Leader at EY UK, Marc Bunch, on the four actions to take in the final lead up to Brexit. These included taking a step back to review with your core team, engaging with the critical people in your supply chain and monitoring where key issues might be, putting a crisis management plan in place and understanding your cash positioning.
How to achieve global success in e-commerce
DHL Express UK’s Head of E-commerce Business Development, Nicole Morton, took one of three enlightening workshops of the day titled How to Achieve Success in Global E-commerce. Nicole’s main point was “Delivery is the new black, and fast is the new free.”
Findings show that consumers are likely to spend more on online purchases when selecting express delivery, so it makes sense for e-commerce business to have an express shipping option at the checkout, and to consider adding this as a free option when a spend threshold is reached. Consumer behaviour is changing, they now expect everything on demand, any time and any place. Other factors of e-commerce websites such as being in a country’s native language or currency have led to an increase in sales for some of DHL Express’ customers.
Nicole also shed some light on e-commerce markets that might not be as obvious. For example, did you know Israel has four million online shoppers, 82 per cent of which are cross-border buyers?
Did you attend this year’s Summit? Share your thoughts or ask us a question on Twitter @DHLExpressUK.