WorldFirst to open up SME growth through e-commerce platform

credit: Shutterstock
credit: Shutterstock

Digital payment firm WorldFirst has launched an e-commerce growth solution designed to boost trade options for UK Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across the world. 

Through the solution, accessible via the World Account, SMEs can set up an account on the platform to perform e-commerce trade which brings down FX and payment operation costs that typically account for 2-3% of the total value of the transaction.

The World Account aims to reduce this to less than 0.75%, enabling SMEs to boost their margins and sustain long-term business growth.

According to WorldFirst industry insight, global trade is expected to grow by 3.3% this year and retail e-commerce sales are expected to grow 8.8% over the same period. 

However, in the UK, the Office for National Statistics’ most recent Annual Business Survey of Exporters and Importers revealed that over one in every 10 UK businesses (11.4%) are involved in exporting; a number that has risen by 0.7% in the preceding three years.

In 2022, the total cross-border e-commerce market in Europe, including the UK, amounted to a turnover of €265bn (excluding travel). Of this total, €167bn, or 63%, was generated by marketplaces. 

However, European countries are falling behind compared to those across South America and Asia, where multiple markets have seen significant growth in e-commerce sales, according to eMarketer.

Bruce Ding, General Manager of WorldFirst International Business, said: “Against this backdrop, there’s an excellent opportunity for many more UK SMEs to tap into the opportunities of international trade. 

“Despite the complexities involved in cross-border e-commerce, with the support of external partners like us, we’re seeing SMEs are increasingly optimistic about the opportunities presented by exporting overseas.”

Furthermore, WorldFirst found that more than 50% of sellers using its cross-border e-commerce solution are Gen Z or Millennials, suggesting these generations of business leaders are more aware of global e-commerce opportunities.

However, challenges, ranging from the complexity in international payment and FX, payment fraud, and hidden service charges, continue to present challenges for small business owners aiming to expand their operations. 

To help solve these issues, through WorldFirst, UK SMEs can streamline international operations by partnering with external vendors. The World Account supports payment collection with 14 local or cross-border accounts and pay-out in more than 40 currencies to over 130 countries and regions.

Ding added: “Consumers are increasingly buying directly through SMEs’ websites, online marketplaces and social media platforms. This means people are purchasing from businesses located across the globe without even realising they’re doing so. 

“Younger business owners have spotted this opportunity to run their independent e-commerce stores or set up fronts on global e-marketplaces.”