Companies in Scotland looking to benefit from the global e-commerce boom caused by Covid-19 have been urged to register for a unique series of digital events organised by Scottish Enterprise.

Scotland’s national economic development agency will host its international e-commerce summer series programme, which will provide expert guidance to firms aiming to sell online to international customers.

The free programme, which launches on Tuesday (6 July), will consist of four, weekly webinars specifically designed for businesses with ambitions to sell their products and services direct to consumers. 

Scottish Development International (SDI) specialists will provide advice on developing an e-commerce strategy, guidance on choosing the correct platform to boost international sales and support on how to sell globally via established online marketplaces.

Lockdowns, international travel restrictions and changes in consumer behaviour caused by Covid-19 has resulted in an exponential rise in firms trading online. It is predicted that this year, more than 2.14 billion people worldwide will buy goods and services online, up from 1.66 billion global digital buyers in 2016.

Carl Gardiner, SDI trade specialist and organiser of the international e-commerce summer series, said: “As firms have adapted to the changing business landscape due to COVID-19, e-commerce has shifted from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ for companies to survive and thrive.

“Scottish Enterprise’s international e-commerce summer series will provide businesses with expert advice and support on how their company can take advantage of the significant export opportunities that exist online.

“The next decade of e-commerce growth will provide some extraordinary opportunities for Scottish businesses to innovate and thrive on the world digital stage.  As part of our wider efforts to support Scotland’s economic recovery, Scottish Enterprise stands ready to support companies and turn their digital ambitions into reality.”

Since the outset of the pandemic in March 2020, Scottish Enterprise has significantly ramped up its e-commerce activity to provide companies with the skills required to trade online.  This has included webinars, digital masterclasses and bespoke sessions for regional partners across the country.

In financial year 2020/21, more than 1,000 businesses have dialled into Scottish Enterprise e-commerce online events, a fourfold increase compared to the previous year.

Strong emphasis has been placed on assisting companies develop their digital and e-commerce capabilities to help them trade in new ways, while Scottish Enterprise’s recently launched Business Plan for the coming year underlined our commitment to providing increased online support to more companies.

Research from Growth Intelligence revealed that last year, more than 85,000 businesses in the UK launched online stores or joined online marketplaces in the first four months of the pandemic. According to data from IBM’s U.S. Retail Index, Covid-19 accelerated the shift to e-commerce by five years. And this week high street fashion outlet Gap announced the closure of its 81 stores in the UK and Ireland as it shifts to online only.

Companies can register for the international e-commerce summer series here.  Further information on e-commerce support offered by Scottish Enterprise can be viewed on its website.