Reaching and engaging your consumers


  • The UK has notoriously poor foreign language abilities; 62% of the population cannot speak any language other than English, giving the UK one of the worst language penetration levels in EU. To sell to UK consumers, a foreign online retailer should translate all pages of their website into English.
  • A retailer should also display all elements of their pricing in pounds sterling (£) and be up-front about any additional charges. Where international shipping is involved, it is important to be clear about the cost of shipping and any charges associated with export duties or other taxes.
  • Localise your customer service for the UK market; UK customers will expect to be able to speak in English to an organisation’s representative should a question arise, and a toll free contact number should be clearly displayed on the website’s home page.
  • Local addresses and telephone numbers will help UK customers feel more confident in making purchasing decisions, and it is suggested that an English-language online support messaging service is also offered.
  • The UK’s standard of excellence in logistics has raised the population’s expectations for delivery; multiple delivery options should be offered, including those most popular amongst consumers in the UK.
  • Remember to display dates and times in the preferred local formats – if your site promises to deliver goods on 02/12/16, for example, then UK customers will expect this to be on the 2 December 2016.
  • When purchasing from a foreign online retailer’s website, UK consumers will expect to be offered the online payment methods most familiar to them; i.e. credit card (40%), debit card (35%) and Paypal (21%). A retailer targeting UK consumers should also take steps to optimise a customer’s mobile payment experience.
  • 53% of British consumers are nervous about posting personal and financial data online; be upfront about company policy in these areas from the beginning and make sure all information related to delivery, personal details and payments is easily accessible.
  • Competitive prices and the availability of products not offered in the UK are primarily what encourage UK consumers to make cross-border purchases.


  • Well-educated and technologically gifted.
  • Spend substantial amounts of time browsing and making online purchases – the UK is home to some of the most prolific online shoppers in Europe.
  • Enthusiastic social media users.
  • Moderately security-conscious.
  • Responsive to changes in the price of goods, and commonly undertake price comparisons online.
    In the UK, a significant proportion of consumers opt for late-night shopping opportunities. Peak online shopping times are from 6 pm through midnight.



Many marketers in the UK are planning to increase their investment in these marketing methods, with email marketing (59%), SEO (51%) and AdWords (46%) leading the way.

When companies in the UK were asked about how they rated popular marketing channels in terms of return on investment, the following feedback was given.

Email marketing is, overall, growing in popularity and effectiveness, and UK companies are currently attributing 23% of their total sales to the email marketing channel



Other areas of interest

Meeting your regulatory responsibilities

The legislation and tax applicable to you when selling to UK consumers will vary depending on whether you are an EU entity or operating outside of the Union.

Receiving payment from your customers

Bank cards are the preferred e-payment method for a massive 75% of UK consumers.

Getting the goods to your customers

The UK's logistics infrastructure is well developed and relatively straight-forward to negotiate.

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