As a seller in the US, there are many reasons why you may be considering expansion into the UK and EU marketplace. From growing your customer base to exploring different marketing and sales styles, creating innovative product lines, and expanding your business network, with the help of large marketplace sites like Amazon, international expansion has never been more accessible – or more lucrative for those sellers who get it right.
But, before encountering your business’s EU success journey, you have to meet the requirements of compliance for each of your products, to have the ability to expand seamlessly. There are many things to consider and challenges that could be faced. This blog pulls together all the main information from our compliance episode from an eighteen part series, in a bid to provide you with the foundation’s your brand needs to achieve expediential growth!
What is product compliance?
Product compliance is the process through which the labels attached to your products are assessed by the local governing or regulatory body – ensuring that the information presented on those labels is correct and provides the right information as required in that specific market/region.
As a touchpoint in the global expansion process, product compliance is a crucial detail which differs depending on where you are selling to – with each country and local market operating under its own regulations. As such, product compliance is a process that you need to go through with each and every expansion project you undertake – with every single product, in every single market.
Some of the factors that are considered in product compliance include:
- Organic status if necessary
- Allergens and dietary information
- Safety information
All of these areas are designed to inform the end buyer and user of exactly what they are purchasing – any risks associated with the product, how to use it safely, and what its purpose is.
The main takeaway is that when it comes to selling overseas and in a new marketplace, product compliance is what ensures that your products are regulated and fulfil the legal requirements of the region you’re selling in.
For many brands, sellers, and businesses, this means having the same product but different labels across each marketplace. So, how can you stay ahead of the curve and ensure your goods are always legally in line with your target market?
Product Compliance Challenges
Before we share our tips and the ways that GEE can support your move into new international markets, it’s important to understand the challenges that sellers face.
One of the biggest challenges has come as a result of Brexit, because of the way it has separated the regulatory processes of the UK and the EU into two separate areas. When the UK was part of the EU, it was largely responsible for much of the legislation that the EU market operated under, and so now that the two are separate their compliance requirements are much the same – though their separation means that the process must be completed independently for each.
Sellers can no longer undergo a single process to sell in both the UK and the EU – Brexit means that the two operate entirely separately.
By means of an example, the EU has recently banned a specific substance – and while it is predicted the same ban will soon come into play in the UK market, the independent regulations process means that this hasn’t happened yet.
As a company supporting sellers’ expansion into overseas markets, a big part of our job is keeping on top of new and upcoming legislation and changes to regulations, so that we can always make sure our sellers, clients, and customers are in line with the legal compliance and labelling checks.
How to ensure a product is compliant
The whole point of a product label is to communicate to the buyer what the product does, who it is intended for, how it works, what it contains, and any risks associated with that product.
To look at the labels from the perspective of an end buyer, that means making sure that information is:
- Translated for the local market
- Not misleading in any way
And it’s not just labels that you need to do in order to be compliant, with many products in specific industries also needing to be registered and marked in order to demonstrate that they are safe for sale in each country. Only approved products can then be placed on the market, with these requirements relating specifically to cosmetics, health, and medical products.
How GEE can help
As your one-stop solution to global expansion, we work with sellers across all industries to ensure that they know their market, can sell in that market, and are compliant with that market. A large part of our job is working with clients to ensure their product labels fall within the regulations of each target market – providing services which support localisation and translation, the need for product markings and verification, and ensuring that they never miss a change in legislation or regulation.
When presented with a product that you want to sell, we conduct a label review to see how many different versions of the label will be needed depending on which markets you want to sell in.
For more information on this service and how we could help you, reach out directly. And don’t forget to tune into our upcoming webinars as we dive deeper into the process, requirements, challenges, and opportunities that come with international expansion.