New survey reveals that B2B organisations are struggling to extend their online footprint abroad

B2B organisations in the UK are struggling to extend their existing online offerings to the rest of the world, despite success selling through existing channels. This is according to newly released research jointly commissioned by Master Data Management company Stibo Systems and ecommerce digital agency Salmon

The research findings revealed that 72 per cent of UK B2B organisations sell internationally, but only 40 per cent were doing so online. The same research revealed that 67 per cent of UK B2B organisations already had online offerings, highlighting that, though many businesses have invested in online, they had not yet taken the step of extending it overseas.

The research, commissioned in order to explore the latest trends in ecommerce for business-facing organisations, questioned 100 senior UK decision-makers in manufacturing and wholesale companies about the current stage in their adoption of ecommerce. Part of this research was to find out how ecommerce operations were expanding internationally, and what challenges businesses faced in implementing successful ecommerce strategies. The full report can be downloaded here.

The findings provided an insight into some of the challenges B2B organisations in the UK face when operating internationally. The most significant challenge was the cost of service to trade, which 87 per cent of respondents listed as the problem encountered most often. Trading overseas for any business has significant cost implications ranging from logistics, a concern to 49 per cent of businesses, to lack of market knowledge at 58 per cent.

Yet the development and tailoring of an international ecommerce offering that fits into an existing UK solution can significantly reduce the costs of doing overseas business and serve as a business growth opportunity.

Commenting on the report, Simon Walker, director, ecommerce innovation at Stibo Systems, said “British businesses are innovative and dynamic, as this research shows, and have expanded considerably overseas in recent years. However, this research has highlighted how this expansion is being stifled by the cost of doing business. By channelling the local market and cultural knowledge developed by selling through existing channels into online operations, the cost barriers to international expansion can be significantly reduced. By utilising centralised tools such as Master Data Management as part of a business’s ecommerce infrastructure at home, it can in turn power online offerings abroad, significantly reducing the costs of operating overseas.”

Craig Harper-Ashton, head of multichannel at Salmon, added “Growing ecommerce offerings abroad should be a key consideration for any B2B organisations looking for growth. As this research shows, the main barrier to growth internationally is the cost of doing business, which can be immediately reduced by selling online. Optimising sites for international markets and utilising existing expertise gained in the market, is a simple way for UK businesses to expand their international footprint, driving growth.”

Whitepaper and infographic

Further information on the research can be found in the form of a whitepaper and an infographic here


The survey was conducted by Coleman Parkes Research in February 2013. The sample consisted of 100 senior business decision makers in charge of ecommerce development and delivery for a mix of large manufacturers and wholesalers (1,000+ employees) that either currently have an ecommerce operation or are planning to implement one. All interviewers abided by the MRS code of conduct.

About Salmon
Salmon is a highly innovative eCommerce digital agency whose commitment to on-time, on-budget project delivery is increasingly embraced by the leading names in retail, wholesale and manufacturing. Major brands turn to Salmon for its ability to define, deliver and exploit enterprise level eCommerce, multichannel operations and digital marketing solutions.

Salmon quickly understands the business vision, creates realistic project plans and efficiently delivers solutions to plan; based around a management process that removes risk from successful project roll-outs. Customers include Akzo Nobel, Argos, Audi UK, Halfords, Kiddicare, Morrisons and Selfridges. Salmon is headquartered in Watford, Hertfordshire and has offices in China and Australia. For more details about Salmon visit

About Stibo Systems
Stibo Systems gives data direction by providing organizations with the leading multidomain Master Data Management (MDM) solution, which makes it easier for companies to manage enterprise information on a global scale, improve sales, and quickly adjust to changes in business requirements. The STEP technology is a flexible, best-of-breed MDM solution from Stibo Systems, that provides a single trusted source of information for the entire enterprise. We deliver deep industry-specific solutions and consulting, engineered, and supported to meet the strategic information needs of global customers including: GE, Sears, Siemens, Target and Thule. Stibo Systems is a subsidiary of the privately held Stibo A/S group, originally founded in 1794 with corporate headquarters in Aarhus, Denmark. For more information, please visit

Press contacts
For Salmon
Sue Pratt
+44 (0) 1923 320000 / +44 (0) 7976 732903

Published on: 3:00PM on 23rd July 2013