Shipping costs stops UK's small firms from selling abroad

UK's small businesses could earn a lot more if they would focus a bit more on consumers outside the country, PayPal suggests.

The online payment service conducted a research which says that 56 per cent of UK's online small businesses are selling their goods abroad. The rest are, obviously, not.

Both France (64 per cent) and Spain (61 per cent) have scored better.

The results are somewhat surprising, as PayPal reminds us of an earlier research which says there seems to be a higher demand for British goods over goods from any other major European market.

Shipping and costs associated with it seem to be at the very heart of this problem. On one hand, businesses say shipping costs are the biggest barrier to selling abroad, while consumers say that's the single most attractive shopping driver.

Customs and duties (20 per cent) are the second biggest concern for UK businesses.

PayPal also reminds us that it covers the cost of returning unwanted goods from consumers in 25 countries, including Australia, the US, France and Spain, in a bid to motivate UK businesses to ship more.

“The UK is more popular than ever as a destination for online shoppers worldwide and 2015 proved to be a real tipping point,” says Simon Moran, Senior Director of Strategic Client Services, PayPal UK.

“With more than 179 million active customer accounts around the world, PayPal is in a unique position to help British online businesses reach a global customer base. Simple changes to your online store such as accepting multiple currencies, offering different languages, and keeping shipping costs low can have an immediate impact on sales.”

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