With the world becoming more connected, it’s time to think big, even if you’re a small business.

Importing can allow businesses to keep costs low while maintaining quality, whether it be importing raw materials or components still to be constructed, or fully formed items ready for point of sale.

The ability to export finished products often expands client bases into international markets, potentially aiding growth and allowing businesses to thrive in front of other audiences.

Global Marketplace and Supply Chain

It is worth thinking about if your products are desired overseas. Are there any countries that have similar cultures/tastes? Another aspect to consider and research is if you can source your materials more efficiently in other parts of the world.

Thanks to the strength of international trade around the world, our clothes, cars and technological items might have travelled the globe, even before they get to the end consumer. A tag that says a product was “Made in China” is likely to represent just one part of the journey.

The clothing sector often relies heavily on international imports/exports, showing a niche that especially needs an efficient and well-planned supply chain in order to succeed.

The Journey of… a Simple Cotton T-shirt

A survey by TNT found that the UK public thought that the biggest export in the clothing sector was T-shirts, and so decided to take a look at the journey of a simple cotton T-shirt might look like:

According to the latest World Trade Organisation statistics, China is the main exporter of clothing and textiles. In this example, the raw material (cotton) was harvested from China, before moving to other countries to complete the rest of its journey.

TNT’s research estimated that a simple cotton t-shirt might have had an estimated journey of more than 15,000 km before customers have even had a chance to step foot inside a physical store and see it (or click the ‘Buy’ button on their computers).


The process of importing and exporting helps the development of many businesses, both nationally and across the globe.

As the above research gives a glimpse of the importance of taking advantage of the global marketplace, as well as the positive impact that streamlining your supply chain can have, it is worth ensuring these aspects of your business are well considered and audited on a regular basis.