How to Buy from Britain Online

Buying from Britain and finding UK online stores is not as straight forward as it would seem, even for those living in the UK. For those living overseas, British Expats as in my case, or Anglophiles in general, buying from Britain is a quite a challenge. Why you may ask? The simple answer is most people will use US based search engines to conduct their exploration of what is on offer, whose organic results are filtered and sporadic at best and whose advertising policy is based on who is willing to pay them the most money to appear. This obviously leads to a number of large retailers and corporations with deep pockets dominating the advertising space and the multitude of Britain’s great independent retailers and brands not even getting a look in.

The process of searching for what you are looking for and to buy from Britain is frustrating, time consuming and even if you do find something when shopping from overseas, there is no guarantee the UK business will ship to your country or the delivery cost is prohibitive. People are therefore inclined to use the large marketplace platforms simply for the ease of use and convenience; I am not going to name names here but for one example think Brazil and rain forest and I am sure you will get the idea. Again America-centric, with hefty fees to pay and no way for a small independent brand to develop its brand awareness effectively and certainly not a way to buy From Britain. Another consideration to think about is the fact that when buying from a global corporation rather than a British based business, reduced taxes are paid (if at all) into the British economy which would have otherwise gone to a UK based business who pay their taxes accordingly and employ British people.

“The times they are a changing” The world has gone global!

For as long as western society has existed the back bone of the local economy has been financed by trade in both products and services. Every British village, town or city’s streets would be lined with small independent businesses plying their trade. In more recent times with the development of efficient transport infrastructure businesses concentrated in the larger towns and cities. As affordable national delivery services developed we had the rise of catalogues and mail order companies who could be based in one place and deliver to the whole of Britain. To Buy from Britain was straight forward, advertising was a cinch, in the press, radio or TV. Businesses boomed, national chains of retailers appeared on many UK High Streets.

In the late 1990s we had the arrival of the internet, the web, the online world, heralded as a breakthrough in communication and freedom. Every business imaginable rushed to create their UK online store, reach out to the world in general and sat back and waited for the masses to arrive and queue at their new virtual shop door. Not only could people in the UK buy from Britain, the World was their oyster. Did, does that happen? The simple answer is NO. Why? We go back to the beginning of this article, peoples online experience is filtered by a few large tech companies. Anyone’s online preferences are added to a database, which is shared between the said companies as they follow you around the internet. What you are interested in is noted and then the advertising that you receive is personalised for you. The product you get offered is determined by who is willing to pay the said tech companies the most money by auction. This quite obviously leads to online advertising being dominated by large businesses and corporations as $100 plus can be charged just for one click on an in demand search term.. A way to buy from Britain? Again NO!

The UK’s High streets are feeling the pinch

The fanfare of the arrival of the new dawn in retail has subsided. As more people move to shopping online in the UK as well anywhere else in the World.   Independent businesses and brands are faced with a stark reality. Yes a few businesses have adapted to the new situation and have thrived with an online only global business model – have a look at these figures. However most established high street businesses with bricks and mortar stores to also consider are seeing their sales and market share decrease. Iconic British high street names continue to disappear from our shopping options and as a healthy competitive retail sector diminishes, so does our ability to choose and benefit from a diverse, competitive, free market.

Unfortunately with the advent of an ever growing share of the market going to large corporations with global infrastructure and developments in robotics based systems in huge mechanised warehouses, there is another large problem facing us all: Jobs, employment, the ability to support one’s family, the ability to buy stuff in the first place. Gone are the days when it was easy for a school leaver or Aunty Flo to find work easily in the local store or clothes shop. With the advent of large warehouses taking an ever increasing share of the online market whilst utilising fewer employees to improve their bottom line. The liquidity of money in local economies is diminishing at an alarming rate. The UK government is aware of the situation and have taken action;  however the problem is complex and is a symptom of all of the a fore mentioned and more besides. The fact of the matter is that more people each year shop online and those businesses on the UK high street in general do not benefit from this as they are not found easily in internet searches, this is therefore a threat to their profitability and very existence.

How can that change? After considering this carefully we came to the conclusion that the best way to help independent British retail businesses and brands was to assist them being found online for those potential customers who wished to buy from Britain, direct from the British business. In particular we focused on allowing those people overseas to determine quickly and easily the choices on offer to them in their country. UKDIRECT with our buy from Britain ethos was born.

Classy & Classic Shopping at Chester, United Kingdom

How UKDIRECT makes buying from Britain Easy

At UKDIRECT we set out to create an online platform where British businesses could promote their UK online stores and sell direct to customers in the UK and worldwide, under the Buy from Britain banner. We scoured the nation for UK online stores and the UK high streets of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for independent retailers and brands who not only were wishing to sell their products to the UK but also to the wider world. Our aim was to offer an online UK high street where a customer could find a business’s shop window by category so to speak and “take a peak” at what they had on offer, be they based in the London or Belfast or Edinburgh or anywhere in between.

As UKDIRECT has grown with many businesses from all over the country joining us, so has the size of the businesses. A good number of national retail chains have claimed their spot on our online UK high street as well as British based world renowned brands. No matter what the size of business the same opportunity for promotion is offered at UKDIRECT. We do not charge a business or indeed a customer to use the site. If a customer decides to make a purchase direct from a UK online store, we are paid a small commission (we do have to live too). We continue to grow and as new businesses join us and promotions are offered, there is something new to discover most days.

Compare and buy direct with trust from more than 100 reputable UK online stores that also ship internationally.
Compare and buy direct with trust from more than 100 reputable UK online stores that also ship internationally.

We hope you enjoy using UKDIRECT and buying from Britain, any feedback on our social media feeds is taken on board. We are doing our best to help people buy from Britain and support British businesses.

You can also help others Buy from Britain if you wish, by sharing with friends and family wherever they are in the world via the social media sharing buttons throughout the site.

Thanks for being here!