In this article Dr.PAWPAW MD Johnny Paterson talks about exporting. Johnny, currently an Export Champion appointed by the Department for International Trade (DIT), helps to give businesses’ the confidence to export from the UK to the rest of the world.
Do you currently export? Have you been worried about it? Should you be considering it? Let me tell you what you need to think about and how we, Dr.PAWPAW started on our amazing export journey.
At the beginning I was lucky enough to meet the Department for International Trade who provided a liaison officer with the information I needed and funding to attend global trade shows that kickstarted my exporting journey. Dr.PAWPAW is now available in over 35 countries around the world and it is with great pride that we still continue to make our products in the United Kingdom and sell globally. Here are my five top tips on perfecting your own export strategy.
Do your research and know your competition
We looked at the direct competition out there and what other types of brands that were similar to ours were already available in the market. If your prices are a lot higher than the competition and you’re going into a market where it may be discount led, you’ll face problems. You need to make sure you have a product that either has an incredible story that gives you the credibility to charge your high prices or try and get as close to the competition as you can so you can do high volume sales.You need to also consider your margins. These can include selling fees for international retailers and working with distributors; which is great and often easier to help build your presence abroad but obviously this comes with high margin expectations, sometimes as high as 75%! Can you afford to cut this margin into your existing margins?
Be prepared, and get ready
When Dr.PAWPAW started selling internationally in 2016 there weren’t huge hurdles we had to jump to make sure our products were compliant. We did have to consider things such as our packaging and our ingredients, will our formulas be able to sell in foreign territories? When we first opened conversations about selling into Canada, we weren’t aware our products would need the French language on the front of the packaging as well as English. Carefully consider where you want to sell and do checks and research on certain compliance requirements in that territory. You can do your research online but I highly recommend you look to work with an expert company, we use one called MSL. As soon as Brexit loomed over us we quickly found a company to ensure we were fully compliant and had a responsible person allowing us to sell into Europe as well as the rest of the world. MSL have carefully walked us through all the steps and we now have carefully curated product compliance for all global markets in place.
Be selective when it comes to partners
Strongly consider a direct to consumer route. Ace your strategy in your home territory first and replicate this around the world. Share your successes with your partners and show them that it can be done, and how it can be done. Working directly with international retailers and with distributors each have their pros and cons. When working with distributors you need to keep an eye on them seeking large margins, extra stock for marketing and marketing support, often at the expense of the brand. You must decide if the investment is reaping your reward. Working with retailers directly is another great viable option, however be aware you must deliver products and stocks to their back door – this is called DPP terms. With the EU right now this can sometimes be a bit of a headache.
Hit the freight forwarder jackpot!
One of the best things that we ever did with Dr.PAWPAW is find a great freight forwarder, somebody that would help us ensure we could get our stocks and goods anywhere in the world. Whilst we have a 3PL warehouse sometimes we couldn’t rely on them to make sure that all our paperwork was in the correct order and all our goods were sent in the right way, needed for their chosen destination. Generally you want to work on an Ex Works basis, that’s where your distributors and retailers collect from your warehouse. If this is not an option then you need to get the goods to them on a DAP or DPP basis.This is where that external expert may be needed to help get your goods over the line.
Secure your sale through and demand
How we have done this at Dr.PAWPAW around the world is to create a pan world feel. We have created an extensive marketing hub with all our information, training videos, training books, sampling boxes etc so that the distributor or the retailer have the tools they need to do their own marketing within their own territory. This is so important and getting an order from a retailer or distributor sometimes can be the easiest part. The hardest part is the sale through and without any physical awareness of the brand in that market it is almost impossible to keep the sales coming. Really do think about how you are going to market your products in these global territories so you can make lots of great sales and get repeat business.
That’s all for now, I hope the tips have provided you with the advice and the confidence to start or ramp up your export journey. Feel free to comment or get in touch with me directly via linkedin for questions. That’s all from me for now.
To find out how the UK government and DIT can help you export visit www.gov.uk/ask-export-support-team or visit great.gov.uk. If you are new to exporting, I recommend you join the Export Academy. It is designed to accommodate different levels of experience, whether your business is interested in starting to sell internationally or looking to grow your international sales further. The academy will help you to overcome common challenges that businesses can face. You can register here https://www.great.gov.uk/exportacademy