Recent estimates by analysts have pegged the annual global market value of cross-border B2C ecommerce by the year 2020 at just short of $1 trillion, up from $235 billion in 2014. Furthermore, the drivers of customer behaviour often change when buying from international sellers, with ‘better price’ nearly always of lower importance than ‘better quality’ or ‘better availability’, demonstrating that B2C consumers are not just seeking bargains when buying from overseas. These factors combined can make the proposition of selling internationally an enticing one for online retailers, often regardless of where they or their customers are located. 
However, internationalising online listings or offering products on international online marketplaces, such as Amazon, is only one side of the growth opportunity that expanding globally offers. If your business is one of the thousands of UK companies selling into international markets, you will likely have some requirement for converting currencies at some point(s) in the supply chain, so sourcing internationally is also something worth considering, reducing the number of currency conversions required.
When it comes to paying suppliers, UK companies have a middling reputation overall for punctual payments, with only 25.1% of invoices being settled within the timeframes of commercial agreements, let alone for the right amount, in the correct currency or via the agreed payment method. This is in stark contrast to some European countries such as Germany, where 72.3% of supplier payments are on time. Although ostensibly more of a problem to the payee than the payer, the damage to existing relationships can cause problems later for the company sourcing products, as they then may not have access to the best terms or offers available in light of past payment performance.
By selling to consumers in the same country or region that it also sources from, a company could reduce its net currency exposure (and therefore reduce the risk of any currency movements affecting profitability) and also potentially reduce the friction involved in making supplier payments. This is providing there was a way to receive payments from customers in a specific currency, hold the balance and then make payments to suppliers in that same currency, without any unnecessary currency conversions in sight. In short, they would be using their B2C income to pay B2B costs directly, all in the same currency.
Where solutions like World First’s World Account can help is in simplifying these payment flows for online sellers, saving them time and money. By opening a World Account, it will be possible to hold international in-country currency accounts to receive local payments, such as those from online marketplaces for B2C sales or perhaps the proceeds of wholesale B2B operations, and hold the funds in the corresponding currency in the accounts. Retailers can then make payments to local beneficiaries, such as suppliers, in the same currency out of account balances, reducing FX costs for the payer and increasing the likelihood of the payee receiving payment on time. Alternatively, they could convert some or all of the balance into other currencies to pay other international beneficiaries, or transfer the remaining balance back to their home bank account. This ground-breaking flexibility allows SMEs to start scaling their business internationally and removes the barriers that would otherwise add complexity to overseas trade. All this within an intuitive new app allowing users to manage their payments whenever they want and wherever in the world they are.
If you’d like to be one of the first online sellers to gain access to a World First’s World Account, pre-register here to receive the latest news and updates regarding the upcoming launch!
 ‘Cross-Border Ecommerce’ – Accenture: https://www.accenture.com/t20160830T101949__w__/cn-en/_acnmedia/PDF-29/Accenture-Cross-Border-Ecommerce.pdf
 ‘D&B Payment Study 2016’ – D&B: http://www.dnb.com/content/dam/english/economic-and-industry-insight/payment-study-2016-international.pdf