When developing your export strategy, the route or routes into global markets are multiple and the route you choose will ultimately determine your success when trading overseas.
The further you go from your home market, the more essential it becomes to having a route to market that allows you to supply your product or service in a timely, efficient way to your new customers.
There are 4 main ways to sell your product or service overseas:
- selling through agents and distributors
- selling direct
- contractual methods such as licensing or franchising
- setting up an overseas operation
In the first instance, you may have to use multiple routes to market before settling on one that works. Assuming you know the market you want to target and have a clear idea of its potential, you need to decide on the channel by which your product will reach your customers. The decision to either sell directly or partner with someone to sell on your behalf will be guided y resources, opportunity and the nature of your offering.
Choosing the right route to market is critically important; local distributors can provide deep understanding of informal business practices and networks of relationships. You are sacrificing margin by working with intermediaries, but the upside is that you might gain access to a customer base that would be much harder to crack as a new entrant to the market.
To find out the best route for your business, be prepared to research and get advice on what’s already happening in your target market. You’ll need to determine, for example, where customers are currently buying from and whether it’s the norm to have local representation, such as a distributor. It’s also important to take steps to protect your intellectual property, regardless of which way you choose to export.
Some routes to market will need higher levels of initial investment and more ongoing management, and may not be suitable if you’re new to export. But if you are in a position to invest more effort and resource then you’re likely to see some rewards.
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