Being ahead of the competition and walking into new horizons has always been a key factor to business success. These advantages have now increased their weight in a more dynamic market, thanks to globalization and communication technologies. The arrival of the new milennium brought what is arguably the main technological tool for today's national and international market, which is e-commerce. An increasing number of logistics companies from several countries of the world are engaging a new stage of expansion via online portals, in an attempt to reach new markets and spread their range of potential customers.
The more technology is available to a certain population, the easier things can get to people. Logistics companies are now facing the challenge of becoming increasingly competitive in this field, as consumers from dozens of countries use the Internet to purchase products online. As when it comes to the Internet, physical distance between consumer and provider is no longer of importance, e-commerce is a great tool to boost international purchases, which then increase the flow of items across country borders. This is challenging as international logistics mean dealing with foreign and international regulations for parcels and shipping, sanitary controls, paperwork and legal compliance, and they can also make tracking and item recovery more difficult. However, the expansion of businesses is an advantage too good and too tempting for many companies to let these disadvantages discurage them.
Many countries are facing these challenges and, according to , each one of them have to deal with particular issues regarding their own legislation and political-economical situations. However, if there is something that we in the UK have been doing for a long time, is overseas commerce - and other maritime affairs. It should surprise nobody that we still find ourselves ahead in the battlefront of commercial shipping, and this includes being on the frontline of e-commerce. As a matter of fact, the United Kingdom is the number one country for online purchases according to a recent report of the Office of National Statistics. Since the early 2000's, a wide proportion of the UK population had had purchased online, and that number increases from year to year.
This situation hasn't changed. UK leads the e-commerce boom thanks to its strategy of investing in improving the purchasing experience and the marketing approach to customers for online sales. Indeed, purchasing online could seem very simple at a first glance, but there are in fact many details that could critically change the outcome of a potential transaction. In the last years, more companies in the UK have hired IT specialists than the average EU country, and it shows in the results.
The leading role that the UK has in e-commerce has drawn overseas companies into closing very important commercial deals with us. International logistics require deals that help overcome legal obstacles and open gateways for transportation, and for that reason these agreements are particularly important in order to provide the client with the best experience. Otherwise, next time the customer is likely to purchase something, they will think twice before using the same channel for an international transaction.
One of the advantages of overseas commerce is that one country could satisfy the needs of another one, which isn't in proper conditions to produce goods that its population is willing to consume. This, as well as the notorious predominance of the UK in European international logistics, has pushed logistics mega-giant company Alibaba into looking towards the United Kingdom. This Chinese international logistics firm expands to the UK in order to allow British products to reach the Chinese market. The overwhelming population of China is increasingly interested in acquiring overseas products and goods from the UK match their requirements. In example, a recent sanitary scandal in China doubled Scottish exports of seafood to this country. These exchanges will become much easier, cheaper and more efficient thanks to the huge logistics support that Alibaba could provide to British retailers. Last year, Alibaba organized a "Double 11", a 24-hour long massive sale similar to an American Black Friday; that day, the company's sales jumped tenfold.
New agreements and international collaboration will allow UK retailers to expand their business internationally, but this possibility will only come to full fruition if UK companies keep investing in improving their online platforms and IT infrastructure. As technology keeps evolving at breakneck speed, new trends arise and companies must be ahead of the curve if they want to overcome their massive competition. Many see mobile commerce or m-commerce as the next step towards a more massive introduction of e-commerce, and UK companies are already working on spreading their activities to that new online niche.
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