British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA), DIY and
garden sector director Peter Stone discusses the key to successful
export opportunities for suppliers.
For some companies, selling product abroad was a reaction to tough times at home over the past few years but, with better economic forecasts coming through, export has now become a necessity for the very opposite reason.
Home sales are now getting so high in some areas that potential overseas success is the way to release positive pressure. Certainly BHETA has found itself more and more in demand in terms of advising, brokering and even partnering with our members on the export front.
The markets are literally worldwide, from obvious European destinations, to developed territories like the USA and South Africa, to the Far East and Indian sub-continent, as they become as much importers of British brands as they are suppliers to developing nations with a new appetite for niche imports.
Some members, such as Whatmore, have very much ‘ploughed their own furrow’ by venturing into new territories, finding out the possibilities
and fulfilling the needs discovered.
A Queen’s Award for International Enterprise was among many positive results. For others, doing the desk research and looking for good contacts and advice, has been very much the way forward. This seems to break down into four areas:
- Exploration – looking for market and territorial opportunities and
also looking for funding to research and test the water via exhibitions
- Advice – finding out about all aspects of territory-specific compliance, and in particular payment terms, which could mean the difference between a good export account and a bad one
- Familiarity – the significance of culture and language – the importance of which differs from country to country
- Partnership – securing sales agents, sorting out logistics and
deciding how to tackle the provision of marketing support.
The UKTI Partners Scheme is a really good starting point. UKTI Partners are drawn from trade associations, accredited trade organisations and other membership groups and their remit is to respond to the national challenge to get more SMEs exporting. Partners can help companies take part in UKTI initiatives such as ExploreExport, which provides one-to-one meetings with UKTI commercial officers covering market and industry information and potential contacts and prospective new activity. A UKTI Partner can also supply funding for shows like Ambiente and Cologne as well as money for exploring new markets like Mexico. There is also a fantastic networking opportunity in the Global DIY Summit, which is being held in London next year, while BHETA’s connections with EDRA and Fediyma also ensure that the most exciting overseas buyers attend homegrown shows like Exclusively Housewares and Spring Fair.
A recent BHETA forum focusing specifically on export provided a fascinating insight into the ‘do’s and don’ts’ – most particularly the need, not only to translate, but also to rework information into the project led, environmentally-friendly format those particular European markets require.
As one of the speakers remarked, “Export is about category management in the chosen territory, not just product. And getting that ight can require two to three years' research and preparation.
25 June 2014 | 16:38 |