St Ermin’s Hotel London has a long history of international intrigue. The Special Operations Executive carried out covert operations during from their headquarters – an entire floor of St. Ermin’s Hotel – during World War II, whilst MI6 were stationed two floors above. In the 1950’s the spy Guy Burgess (part of the infamous Cambridge five) handed over secret papers to his Russian counterpart in the Caxton Bar.
Yesterday saw a different international intrigue set out when Pentagon held their “Fashion Without Borders” event at St Ermin’s. With around 150 of the UK’s top fashion retailers Pentagon in association with UKTI (UK Trade and Investment) set out a blue print of where ecommerce is today, what the shape of the future looks like and where the focus will be in 20 year’s time.
UTKI’s e-Exporting programme exists to accelerate the flow of international sales by UK companies. They place data at the heart of their programme with the aim to provide UK companies with real opportunities. By working with overseas marketplace they can identify product shortfalls and work with UK brands providing real insights as to where success can be gained. By helping UK companies exploit 90% of the worlds internet connected customers they can help lower the cost of entry to overseas markets, which improves margins and gives companies the ability to forecast and ensures more successful sell through rates.
Pentagon are the cement which brings together the building blocks of marketplace and UKTI’s e-Exporting insights. Having forged reletionships with the marketplaces (and had huge support for the events with marketplace reps flying in from China, South America and even a 24 flight from New Zealand), Pentagon are able to connect their retailers with the marketplaces and work with UKTI to ensure retailers target the geographic regions with an almost certainty of success.
Laurence Guy, founder and CEO of Pentagon says that marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon have catered to the needs of consumers by enabling them to buy great value items at any time of the day on any device they choose from anywhere they want. But in these overseas territories local players tend to dominate and for British brands it is almost impossible to export to these new markets without having a strategy for marketplaces.
The purpose of today’s event was to provide introductions to international marketplaces and showcase some of the leading sites in each territory. We’ll be introducing some of the new marketplaces in separate articles in the near future along with how you can get started exporting through them.