Selling online in the UK

Ecommerce sales facts & tips on selling in the UK

The top ecommerce websites in the UK are Amazon, eBay and Home Retail Group. Other top retail sites include Tesco, Apple, Google Shopping, John Lewis Partnership, Dixons Carphone, Walmart and Marks & Spencer. It’s worth checking out those popular ecommerce sites/platforms to see which one(s) would be the best fit for your product in terms of traffic volume, competition and the type of ecommerce buyers they attract.

The top products/product categories for UK online buyers include books/music/movies/video games, consumer electronics & computers, household appliances, furniture & homeware and clothing & footwear. Offering products from these categories can help you establish your presence on the UK ecommerce market.

The top payment methods for digital purchases include credit/debit cards, Paypal and direct payment through a bank. It’s important to provide your (potential) customers with payment methods of their preference. In many cases, if online shoppers can’t find their preferred or trusted methods of payment during checkout, they will abandon the shopping cart.

Optimizing checkout for your customers can have the biggest impact on your conversion rates. This is crucial also for your international online buyers. Thus, take care to provide international payment, currency conversion and suitable shipping methods.

Mobile commerce is shaping the future of ecommerce in the UK, but also around the world. Ecommerce sellers should bear this in mind when setting up their online stores and product listings. Mobile optimization and great mobile buying experience are a must for all growth-minded online sellers.

To drive UK traffic to your website, local marketing & SEO will help you get it right. When you localize your online store for international markets, enable international search engines to index your content to improve your organic international traffic. You can also leverage services, such as Google Shopping and Facebook ads internationally.

To ship your products to the UK in the most efficient and cost-effective way, use global shipping / parcel forwarding services. This way you can get competitive international shipping rates, on average 30% lower, and pass the lower cost on to your buyers, increasing your competitive advantage.

The UK: general information

Selling on the UK ecommerce market is a great option for growth-minded online sellers. When you launch your store in other countries, there are a few useful facts and data that you should consider.

There are 60,273,385 Internet users in the UK and Internet penetration amounts to 92.60%. In terms of device usage, there are 44,953,000 smartphone users and smartphone penetration amounts to 68.60%. On a global scale, smartphones are being more and more widely used for digital purchases.

The total population of the UK is 66,573,504. The median age is 40.5. The language spoken in the UK is English and the currency is Pound Sterling. The country code top-level domain is .uk and calling code +44.

According to the International Monetary Fund, GDP based on purchasing power parity (PPP) is 2,914,042 (millions of Current Int$) and nominal GDP is 2,624,529 (US$MM). GDP (PPP) per capita is 43,620 Int$ and GDP (nominal) per capita is 39,735 US$. Real GDP growth rate is 1.20%.

United Kingdom
Country profile
Country Profile
Language(s) spokenEnglish
CurrencyPound Sterling
GDP based on purchasing power parity (PPP)2,914,042
Nominal GDP2,624,529
GDP growth rate 1.20%
Number of Internet users60,273,385
Internet penetration92.60%
Top 5 ecommerce platforms
Top 5 Ecommerce Platforms / Retail Sites
1. Amazon
2. eBay
3. Home Retail Group
4. Tesco
5. Apple
Top 3 payment methods
Top 3 Payment Methods for Digital Purchases
1. Credit/debit cards
2. Paypal
3. Direct payment through a bank

International ecommerce sales potential

Selling in the UK is worth considering for many international ecommerce sellers. A well thought out international sales strategy should help you overcome the initial burden of translating and localizing your online store.

If you’re a global online merchant already exporting to the UK, you may be happy with your sales figures. However, you may have noticed that your UK, and your international traffic in general, converts at a much lower conversion rate than your domestic traffic, even in markets that share the same language. The likely reason being, many of the components of localization, beyond translation alone, have not been optimized.

A fully localized buying experience

  • Ecommerce-optimized translation
  • Size conversion
  • Currency conversion
  • Local marketing & SEO
  • Keywords
  • International payment
  • Shipping optimization
  • Taking care of restrictions and legal aspects.

Currently, international online retailers must do a great deal of manual work, matching product categories, attributes, sizes, etc. It’s not uncommon for them to not even be sure if they’re doing it correctly. Instead, trying to localize their online stores by themselves, ecommerce sellers find it time-consuming and confusing.

Luckily, thanks to the developments in machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI), online merchants don’t have to spend a lot of time on ecommerce translation & localization when launching their stores abroad.

A simple raw description is enough for AI to localize the whole content, extract attributes, convert sizes and map the right category in an accurate, efficient and consistent way. It’s just a matter of a quick set up before your localized stores are launched on tens of markets.

Combining machines’ capabilities and the intelligence of the human brain is often the easiest and fastest way to make the most of your international sales potential.

Sell in the UK:
Translate & localize your online store with Webinterpret

Webinterpret enables online retailers and marketplace sellers on eBay and Amazon to instantly expand worldwide and boost their online sales. Our simple Plug & Play solution provides international buyers with a comprehensive end-to-end local shopping experience.

In partnership with PayPal, Webinterpret powers PayPal’s Global Sellers program, providing translation, price and size conversion, stock synchronisation, customer service and international shipping.

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