In the next blog sessions, we are going to talk to experts and interesting profiles who all have the same in common: They have China on their agenda to a lesser or greater degree.
In this blog we will ask Annette Falberg a couple of questions about how the organization she is working in are helping companies to increase their online export. Annette Falberg is Director of DI Handel at the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) and has worked with e-commerce for nearly 20 years, such as being in charge of establishing Coop’s web shop.
DI is supporting the initiatives of the Danish government to strengthen and increase e-commerce by establishing an e-commerce center to help Danish companies to develop and grow their business through e-commerce and e-export.
What does your organization do to increase online export?
We know that businesses that are focusing on online export has a higher income per employee than businesses without online export activities. We are working on various areas to encourage and help businesses to start sales on new markets. To empower this, we hold seminars and events supported by cases and we provide our members with counselling on various issues such as market entry. Besides that, we focus on enhancing the political awareness on the need to increase online export and to ensure that global competition takes place on equal terms. Of 28 EU countries, Denmark takes the 26 place – a poor position when it comes to e-exports. Merely, 2% of the Danish trading volume of about DKK 3,500bn is taking place in the form of e-export. That is far from being enough and action is called for.
DI Handel instigated a project with the objective to focus on assisting 10 businesses to start online export. One of them was a packaging company wishing to expand their business to Sweden. After a couple of hours of counselling from a layer and an expert in e-commerce business respectively, the company was ready to start sales in Sweden after a period of three months. Our experiences gained from this project was incorporated in the governmental work on defining a strategy for digital growth in Denmark which contains initiatives that through individual counselling ought to help businesses to start online export.
Which markets are appropriate for Danish companies to increase their online export to?
Local markets such as Germany Sweden, The Netherlands and Finland are a good start as they are within the EU and therefore have some of the same legislation as in Denmark. A country such as China is also very interesting because of both the market size and their eminence in shopping online. Frankly, Chinese consumers are placing a lot of money in foreign web shops – actually more than double the amount of what they are buying from domestic web shops.
How eager are small and medium-sized business to increase their online export to countries outside Europe?
More and more businesses are aware that the potential is huge, and e-commerce is presenting a great potential and making it easier to become a global company, although businesses are grounded in Denmark and profoundly are of Danish origin. We experience that our members are interested in exploring e-commerce on a global scale.
What does it take a Danish company to have the courage to create growth through online exports to overseas markets?
Businesses must have access to specific and individual help to understand the culture and how to do business in a particular country as well as support on practical and legal issues. Many of our members have addressed the following: “We don’t know what it is, that we don’t know?” Therefore, businesses hesitate because they do not have the appropriate knowledge of a certain country or market, the scope of the project and all the pitfalls. It is substantial to eliminate all the uncertainties in order for businesses to have a good start on their new export adventure. Our obligation is to show businesses the good examples – not to mention that businesses can learn so much from each other and cooperate to gain from joint synergies.