International trade: How to identify your next market

International trade: How to identify your next market

Posted: Tue 1st Aug 2023

Expanding your business beyond domestic borders can open up a world of opportunities and growth. By exporting products or services to new markets, you can get access to a larger customer base, a more diverse range of suppliers, and protection from the economic pressures at home.

You might also see your revenue increase and gain a long-term competitive edge as you take advantage of the many available benefits. However, venturing into new markets requires careful planning and strategic decision-making.

In this blog, we look at how businesses can find their next export market. We focus on the key steps involved: getting to know potential markets, exploring available resources and options, and conducting market research.

Get to know your markets

Before you decide where to expand your business, it's essential that you gain a comprehensive understanding of the markets that are open to you.

Start by analysing your existing customer base and identifying any international demand or overseas-related enquiries you may have received. Look for common characteristics among your customers – such as demographics, preferences and buying behaviours – to help you identify target markets that suit the product or service you offer.

You should also research economic indicators such as GDP growth, population size and disposable income in various countries or regions to gauge their market potential. Consider factors like cultural differences, legal requirements, and the overall competitive landscape to assess whether your product or service is a good fit for each market.


Santander Navigator: Sign up to the FREE Explore tier today to help you on your international growth journey

Santander Navigator

A subscription platform that helps you identify opportunities for growth, find skilled labour, build connections and more. Start your journey towards international growth and sign up to the free Explore tier today


Explore your resources and options

Expanding into new markets means taking advantage of the resources on offer and examining all your options. Start by understanding what resources are available to your business specifically.

If you need help or guidance with this, organisations that specialise in international trade – such as Santander, Deloitte and Dropbox – have market-leading tools, activities and connections you can use at each stage of your journey. You can access these via from Enterprise Nation's Go Global hub.

For further support, look towards the various government programmes, trade associations and chambers of commerce, who can all provide valuable information and support for businesses looking to export. All of these organisations often offer resources such as market intelligence, trade missions and networking events to connect businesses with potential partners or buyers in foreign markets.

Consider forming strategic partnerships or alliances with local distributors, agents or retailers who already have established networks and expertise in your target markets. This can help you overcome language barriers, navigate regulations and laws, and gain insight into local business practices.


Go Global: Free guides to help UK businesses kickstart their international trading

Download our free Go Global exporting guides

USA / China / India / Singapore / UAE / Germany / France / Australia


Conduct market research

Thorough market research is a key part of making informed decisions and reducing risk when entering new markets.

Begin by carrying out a detailed analysis of your target markets' competitive landscape. Identify your key competitors then examine:

  • what they offer

  • how they price their products

  • what distribution channels they use

  • what marketing tactics they employ

This analysis will help you set your business apart and position your products or services in the most effective way possible.

Furthermore, understanding your potential customers' needs, preferences and buying habits is crucial. Conduct surveys, interviews or focus groups to gather insights directly from the people who make up your target audience. Use social media listening tools and online analytics to monitor conversations and trends related to your industry and products.

Use Santander Navigator

The Santander Navigator platform gives you a unique gateway into identifying which market (or markets) have the biggest potential for your business.

Through its Explore Markets feature, you'll be provided with key facts and trends across 35 markets, as well as a full library that explains the intricacies around consumer tastes, distributing your product, and many other important details. Santander Navigator can help support you in your market research, aiming to save you both time and money as you grow.

Santander Navigator is a subscription-based platform, but you can sign up to the free Explore tier today to help you on your journey towards international growth. Here are some of the platform's key benefits:

  • Identify your next market and how to trade seamlessly and compliantly

  • Learn new skills and connect to global opportunities and events

  • Get access to the latest country and sector insights

  • Streamline your customs processes

  • Grow with like-minded individuals, providers, buyers and sellers in over 35 countries

Key takeaways

Growing your business to expand into new export markets can be a game-changer. By following the key steps outlined in this blog, you can identify the best opportunities and make informed decisions for your international expansion.

Remember, to take a business into new markets, you must be patient, adaptable and willing to learn and adjust your strategies as you navigate different cultural, legal and economic environments. With a well-researched approach and a clear understanding of your target markets, your business can thrive and achieve success on the global stage.


Go Global: Free support and guidance to help UK businesses kickstart their international trading

About Go Global

Kickstart your international trading with this free programme of support from Santander and Enterprise Nation. Take me to the international trade hub

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

Get business support right to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive business tips, learn about new funding programmes, join upcoming events, take e-learning courses, and more.