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Selling online

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Selling online

There's been significant growth in the ecommerce sector due to challenging times in the last few years, and this trend is likely to continue. Get useful guidance on how to sell online effectively and find out about the support we can offer to help your business reach new and existing customers online.

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Now's the right time to sell online

The opportunity has never been greater to embrace selling online, as consumer behaviour continues to change. The challenges of the last few years caused many companies across Scotland to start using or accelerate the use of ecommerce platforms as a way of reaching new and existing customers.

And the record performance of global emarketplaces such as Amazon and eBay during the pandemic, clearly shows that more and more businesses and consumers are turning to ecommerce platforms to meet their needs.

Trading online has also become much easier due to the range of ecommerce support now available. 

How to sell effectively online

  • Ensure your website is set up to engage with your target audience and that transactions can be made digitally
  • Ensure you have the capacity and stock in place to undertake online sales effectively to meet demand
  • Look to translate your website into the target market language or, if this is too expensive or you don’t have language skills in-house, translate a simple landing page and keywords into the appropriate language 
  • Look to register a domain name in the target language – for example, .de for the German market and .fr for the French market
  • Consider local currency price points that can go up on your website, but make sure these prices align and don’t undercut the prices your export partner may be selling your goods or services at in market
  • Ensure your website and any accompanying social media activity complies with local laws for online sales and data protection, and you have the terms and conditions of sale clearly stated on your website, including your delivery terms and any refunds policy
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Building your customer base online

The next stage is to build your customer base online. Your website address should be on your business card and any marketing or point of sale material you have in place for your target market.

Using social media can be a very effective way of creating brand awareness and driving traffic to your website. It also allows you to engage with your customers and get immediate feedback on your product or service. Do your research into social media channels/usage for your target market and develop a social media strategy to support your marketing efforts.

Alongside more traditional forms of social media, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, you might also consider using market influencers or bloggers in your target market to endorse your product or service.

More hints and tips for selling online

  • Learn from experts at our free online ecommerce events
  • Have a plan for selling online into your target market – we can help you with this
  • Ideally ensure your prices are converted to the local currency on your website
  • Be clear about postage and packing terms, delivery times and insurance on your website
  • Ensure you're compliant with distance selling legislation on the GOV.UK website
  • Consider putting a trustmark or accreditation on your website to help encourage and reassure online customers
  • Research social media channels and usage in your target market and have a social media strategy to support your marketing plan

International online marketplaces

Read our guide to international online marketplaces


There's been exponential growth in the ecommerce sector during lockdown. This trend is likely to continue, so we need to support companies across Scotland to develop their digital capabilities to ensure they can take advantage of future online trading opportunities.

Neil Francis, Director of Global Trade at Scottish Development International

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Ecommerce support: How we can help

Scottish Enterprise and our partners offer a range of ecommerce support to improve your digital skills and help your business with digital transformation.

This includes online events, an international ecommerce programme and one-to-one support for ambitious companies. 

Find out more about our ecommerce support


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Don't just take our word for it

Carl Gardiner is a Digital Trade Specialist at Scottish Development International, Scotland’s trade and inward investment agency

"As we try to adapt to the changing business landscape, ecommerce has shifted from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ for companies looking to thrive in a post Covid-19 world."
Read full success story

Amy Livingstone and Julie Wilson, Co-founders of Cheeky Chompers, a Scottish baby business operating in 49 countries

"We had to think about where growth was going to come from... so we used beautiful digital assets, video content and social media to really engage with parents and gift buyers online."
Read full success story

Need some expert advice?

Our team is on hand to answer your questions about ecommerce and selling online and explain the support we can offer to help your business succeed.


All information provided on this web page is for general guidance only. The contents of this guide have been provided by our training partners, Upper Quartile. Upper Quartile is not affiliated with any of the third parties or listings represented on our website. Third party listings are drawn from public domain and industry body data sources. Due diligence on a given third party or listing remains the exclusive responsibility of the end user. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the details represented, Upper Quartile and Scottish Enterprise cannot endorse, recommend or accept responsibility for any transactions conducted between the user and a given third party or listing provided on this web page.