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Researching the market

Consultation and bespoke research

Taking a strategic approach

British companies are advised to undertake as much market research and planning as possible. Doing business with Thailand can be challenging, but taking a strategic approach is the key to making the process manageable. The first step is to spend some time thinking about your company's Thailand objectives.

The questions listed below should help you to focus your thoughts. Your answers to them will highlight areas for further research and also suggest a way forward that is right for your company. You may then want to use this as a basis for developing a formal Thailand strategy, although this may not be necessary or appropriate for all companies:

Your Aims

  • Do you wish to buy from Thailand, sell to Thailand or both?

  • Do you wish to establish your own company presence in Thailand, for example through partnering with a franchisee, forming a joint venture, setting up a local representative office, regional office or regional operating headquarters?

  • Do you need to be involved in Thailand at all?

  • Do you see Thailand as part of a wider plan including other South-East Asian markets?

Your Company

  • What are the unique selling points for your product or service?

  • Do you know if there is a market for your product in Thailand?

  • Do you know if you can be competitive in Thailand?

  • Are your competitors already in Thailand? If so, what are they doing?

  • Do you have the time and resources to handle the demands of communication, travel, product delivery and after-sales service?

Your Knowledge

  • Do you know how to secure payment for your products or service?

  • Do you know where in Thailand you should start?

  • Do you know how to locate and screen potential partners, agents or distributors?

  • Have you carried out any Thailand-specific customer segmentation, and do you know how to best reach potential customers in-market?

It is unlikely that you will have the answers to all these questions at the outset and these “knowledge gaps” should form the basis for further research and investigation. Some of these questions will require quantitative research in your sector, while others involve more contextual and cultural considerations. Talking to other people in your industry and regularly visiting Thailand will give you access to the most current advice, and such experience can often lead to new insights and form the basis for further research. You will be able to find out some free information from carrying out desk research.  

 

Help available for you

The UK Department for International Trade (DIT, formerly UK Trade & Investment – UKTI) provides tailored support packages for companies who are:

See: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-international-trade/about/about-our-services, for further information. The following details are a selection from the website:

Business opportunities

UK companies are set to benefit from a unique new five-year programme presenting real-time export opportunities that you can apply for online. This is part of a move to get 100,000 additional companies exporting by 2020.

Launched in November 2015, Exporting is GREAT is part of the UK Government’s GREAT campaign, and presents live export opportunities to UK businesses across a range of media outlets and digital channels. Hundreds of these export opportunities, with a potential total value of more than £300 million, are hosted on a new platform, www.exportingisgreat.gov.uk, with many more set to come online each month.

“Exporting is GREAT” provides advice and expertise to support businesses at every step on their exporting journey, from initial interest to selling in-market, and includes a year-long roadshow travelling the UK, giving face-to-face assistance to potential exporters, and using the latest technology to connect these businesses with live export opportunities.

Events and missions

Taking part in overseas exhibitions is an effective way for you to test markets, attract customers, appoint agents or distributors and make sales. DIT's Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) provides grant support for eligible SMEs to attend trade shows overseas.

Participation is usually as part of a group, a great advantage for inexperienced businesses, and is usually led by one of DIT's Accredited Trade Associations (ATOs). ATOs work with DIT to raise the profile of UK groups and sectors at key exhibitions. 

The DIT calendar of events has some 400 core events and missions, and 1,000 opportunities across the TAP ‘Trade Access Programme’ and the English national regions.

 

DIT Events Portal

The DIT Events Portal provides a single calendar view of all DIT Events and Missions, and has been developed to provide companies with more detailed information on each event in order to help them decide on the most appropriate event to attend. The calendar can be filtered and searched by sector and/or market.

There are also detailed events websites which include more information about the event and also allow users to register for an event.

The DIT Events Portal is your central hub for business and networking opportunities. Search for future events and missions, register online and network with fellow delegates. See: www.events.ukti.gov.uk

Webinars

The DIT webinar service runs hundreds of free hour-long internet events covering topics, sectors and countries around the world, helping you shape your export plan.

These events allow you to interact with the experts in specific sectors and countries and allow you to ask questions to enhance your knowledge

To see upcoming DIT webinars, please visit: www.events.ukti.gov.uk and search for webinars.

Overseas Market Introduction Service

You can also commission an Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) to help you enter or expand your business in Thailand. Under this service, the British Chamber of Commerce in Thailand’s (BCCT) Business Services team, who have wide local experience and knowledge, can identify business partners and provide the support and advice most relevant to your company's specific needs in Thailand. Contact the BCCT team in Bangkok for more information. See the ‘Resources’ section later in this guide.

Other Department for International Trade (DIT) services

DIT assists new and experienced exporters with information, help and advice on entering overseas markets such as Thailand. These services include:

  • An Export Health Check to assess your company’s readiness for exporting and help develop a plan of action;

  • Training in the requirements for trading overseas;

  • Access to an experienced local International Trade Adviser;

  • Help to grow your business through online exports;

  • Specialist help with tackling cultural issues when communicating with Thai customers and partners;

  • Advice on how to go about market research and the possibility of a grant towards approved market-research projects;

  • Ongoing support to help you continue to develop overseas trade and look at dealing with more-sophisticated activities or markets;

  • Information, contacts, advice, mentoring and support from DIT staff in the UK and their network of staff in Thailand;

  • Support to participate in trade fairs in Thailand;

  • Opportunities to participate in sector-based trade missions and seminars;

  • Access to major buyers, local government and supply chains in Thailand;

  • Advice on forming international joint ventures and partnerships;

  • Exploratory visits to Thailand;

  • Alerts to the latest and best business opportunities.

To find out more about commissioning any of these services, contact a DIT Export Adviser at: www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/ukti/ for a free consultation, or see further details at: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-international-trade/about/about-our-services

E-Exporting Programme

DIT’s E-Exporting Programme aims to help UK companies get their brands to millions of global consumers and grow their business through online exports. DIT’s E-Exporting Programme helps UK companies who are:

  • new to selling online

  • already selling online, but need help with specific issues

  • experienced in online sales, but are looking to sell on multiple platforms globally

The programme enables you to:

  • arrange a free meeting through your local DIT office to get expert international trade advice and support, and access to DIT’s global network of contacts. See: www.contactus.ukti.gov.uk/office-finder

  • meet a Digital Trade Adviser where relevant, to help you develop and implement an international online strategy

  • set up on e-marketplaces quickly and also identify new e-marketplaces around the world

  • access better than commercial rates to list on some e-marketplaces, including lower commission fees and ‘try for free’ periods. See: www.gov.uk/guidance/e-exporting#preferentialrates

  • access the ‘E-Expertise Bank’, a community of over 175 B2B/B2C service providers offering free advice. See: www.gov.uk/guidance/e-exporting#eexpertise

  • join DIT’s mailing list for opportunities to hear from industry experts, network with like-minded individuals and find out about e-commerce trends

 

Open to Export

Open to Export is DIT’s free, online advice service for UK companies looking to grow internationally. It offers free information and support on anything to do with exporting and hosts online discussions via its forum, webinars and social media where businesses can ask any export question, and learn from each other.

Open to Export can be accessed at: www.opentoexport.com.

In-market support

If you already export, and have decided Thailand is part of your business strategy, you are advised to contact the DIT team in Bangkok prior to your visit to discuss your objectives and what help you may need (see the ‘Resources’ section later in this guide). Together with the Business Services team of the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT), they can provide a range of Thailand-specific services for you, including the provision of market information, validated lists of agents/potential partners, key market players or potential customers; establishing interest from such contacts; and arranging in-market appointments for you. In addition, they can also organise events for you to meet contacts in Thailand, or to promote your company and your products/services.

[Source: Department for International Trade (DIT)/gov.uk]


 

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