Why market research should be in your suitcase before you leave to visit a market

10th August 2018

Overseas visits should be an essential part of your export development plan, but these visits can be expensive and represent a big investment for your company. We can help you get it right, with planning to the tiniest detail.

There’s plenty of examples where  business people who have arrived in a market place, literature and business cards in hand, full of enthusiasm and drive, but absolutely no contacts or any idea as to the best way to make some.  British Embassies and Consular Offices regularly answer their doors to 'travelling salesmen' from the UK who have arrived in the market place with no clue as to what to do next.  Their first thought is that the Embassy will help, and of course given time to do so they will, but not on a Monday morning when you have just turned up out of the blue!

And on that Monday morning their advice is going to be... go home, research, plan and then come back.

Where do I start?

Research is one of the fundamental things you should do before you start on your overseas journey.

Here are a few questions you should be answering with in-depth analysis to back up your answers:

  • Why this market?  Ensure that you know why you have chosen this market rather than any others.  This market should be the best place for your products and services and there also must be a demand for them. 
  • What is the size of the demographic that you are aiming at in this market? If you have had an enquiry from this market, this is a good start but make sure you aren’t missing out on more lucrative opportunities in other markets.  If the size of your target market is lower in this country, perhaps look at the size of the market in neighbouring countires.
  • What is your price point going to be? You need to be competitive in this new market but also take into account other costs that you will incur by exporting.  Think about current exchange rates, tax, import duties and export documentation costs. Many British products can carry a premium price tag which is an advantage when you have all these items to consider.
  • How will you manage the sales development? Think about whether you want to use a distributor or agent, or other ways to get your goods into market and expand whilst you are there.   There are many options to sell your products and services so thorough research should be carried out to make sure you chose the right one for your brand and customers.

This is just a starting point; there will be many more things to consider before packing your suitcase, and you can identify what these might be by discussing, planning and producing an export plan with your International Trade Adviser.

Who will do the research?

Most businesses find it difficult to be able to conduct this all-important market research and may not have the skills, knowledge and access to the right resources to get this done.  There are many market research companies who specialise in overseas markets, and you can employ a researcher to do this in house if you have a particularly unusual product or service.  The research can provide you with information on market growth trends and opportunities, business culture and language characteristics, legislation, import regulations and certifications and a competitor landscape overview. 

We have a team of in-house experts who can help you with a quick market selection, or a full research report, send an email to research@businesswest.co.uk or ring our friendly International Trade team on 01275 370944. 

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