Going global: 7 ways to boost exports

Going global: 7 ways to boost exports

Going global: 7 ways to boost exports

At a time when the region’s FMCG firms face a challenging economic environment, it makes sense to increase the focus on international sales. Sam A. Jaoude, consultant and CEO of Madenlebanon LLC, shares a checklist of essential steps to getting export ready.

Today, the global affinity for indigenous and fusion fast moving consumer goods (FMCGs) is second to none, providing an ideal environment for selling products and services across the globe.

Internal consumption: the risks

FMCG companies in the MENA region are currently grappling with significant economic challenges. Sustainable revenue sources are needed to address these issues. Relying heavily on internal consumption exposes FMCG companies to risks associated with fluctuations in domestic demand, political instability and regional conflicts. Diversifying the economy is a vital step that can be achieved through an export-oriented approach. This, in turn, reduces the vulnerability to local economic downturns and mitigates the impact of internal shocks or crises.

The pursuit of international markets requires businesses to meet stringent quality standards, adopt advanced technologies and engage in continuous improvement. This will fuel innovation, enhance productivity and bolster competitiveness within industries. It will also elevate the overall competitiveness of products and services, increasing market share and higher profitability. It is for these reasons that FMCG companies in the MENA region must prioritize and focus on exports now more than ever.

Leveraging export channels

To grow exports, it is crucial to utilize various channels and strategies that can help to expand market reach and attract international customers. The following steps, listed in order of priority, are imperative ones to take:

1-Market intelligence – conducting thorough market research and competitive analysis is essential to understand target markets, trending products and price structure. Identifying consumer preferences and palates is another must. This knowledge enables businesses to tailor their offerings to meet international demands effectively.

2-FDA and labeling – food is subject to various regulations and safety standards in different countries. Research the applicable regulations related to food production, packaging, labeling and food safety to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations in the target market.

3-International trade fairs and exhibitions – these events provide key opportunities to establish connections, meet potential partners, explore export prospects and gain insights into market trends and demands. Always ensure that your potential buyers know you’re taking part to maximize the benefits.

4-Distributors and agents/brokers – collaborating with reputable distributors in target markets can help protect brand integrity, especially when entering unfamiliar territories. Local agents/brokers who possess market knowledge, established networks and distribution channels can help you manage your brand and reach your goals with ideal buyers more quickly.

5-Digital marketing and social media – partnering with international digital marketing and social media platforms that understand FMCG products is crucial for boosting brand visibility and attracting customers. To maximize engagement, focus on geo-targeting and retargeting as part of your SEO practice.

6-Strategic partnerships for clustering – clustering with businesses in the same field on purchasing similar raw materials can help make your product more competitive in the export industry. This, in turn, helps you to save money which you can spend on incentive programs and marketing.

7-E-commerce – e-commerce is in high demand in the FMCG industry, offering an additional avenue to sell your product in new markets. However, it’s important not to alienate yourself from major retailers in the target market by becoming their competitor. Always establish yourself first in the market with prominent retailers.

Sam abou jaoude MADENLEBANON

Sam A. Jaoude
International FMCG Consultant & Agent
MadenLebanon LLC

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