Export market research

Last updated: 5 October 2017

Market entry strategy

A market entry strategy covers how you plan to launch your products or service in a new foreign market.

It's important to have a strong market entry strategy that looks at:

  • pricing
  • distribution
  • market positioning
  • communications
  • marketing and promotions
You should regularly review your market entry strategy.


Setting the right export price is one of the most important ways to ensure your exporting is successful. There are different types of pricing you could consider, including:

  • competitor pricing – looking at what your competitiors are charging, what your costs will be and whether you can make a profit
  • cost plus pricing – adding up all your costs and adding a profit on to find out how much to charge
  • offering a trial price – coming in with a low price to get people to try your new product

Your market research will guide your decisions on these pricing questions.

You should include the costs of sending the goods or services and insurance in any prices you quote.

Incoterms can help you qualify the price.

You may want to talk to an advisor about your pricing strategy. Contact Scottish Enterprise or Highlands and Islands Enterprise if your business is based in that region.


You'll need to decide on how to get your product or service to customers. As a cost, you'll need to think about this when setting your export price.

You'll need to consider:

  • how to transport your product (the 'freight method', such as air, sea or land)
  • if you'll be using 'freight forwarders', couriers and distributors, and if you're using direct or consolidated shipments
  • customs clearance documents and warehousing costs

There are different types of trading partners who can help with distribution. They are:

  • agents – they'll encourage people in the market to buy your product or service
  • distributors – they'll buy the product from you in bulk and sell it on

It's important to choose carefully if you're going into business with an agent or a distributor. Always do background checks – such as a credit check – and get a lawyer to check your contract.

Payment for trading partners

Agents will normally take commission and the rate will be agreed in your contract. For example, an agent might take a percentage of your sales in their country.

Distributors will buy your product in bulk and will often want exclusivity over your product in their market.

Market positioning statement

Once you've worked out your pricing strategy you can then create a 'positioning statement'.

Positioning is about deciding on the niche in the market where your product fits. Your positioning statement should include how you want your product or service to be perceived by your:

  • customers
  • competitors
  • peers


In your communications strategy, you need to take your positioning statement and define how this message is delivered to your target markets.

The strategy should look at who your audiences will be. This could include:

  • customers
  • end-users
  • buyers
  • decision makers

Marketing and promotion

You'll need to look at the different ways of reaching each of your audiences, such as:

  • your website
  • social media
  • e-mail
  • direct mail
  • events
  • trade publications
  • trade associations
  • national and local press
  • 'broadcast' media (TV and radio)
Export market research
Market entry strategy