The Setting up of Bartercard in United Kingdom economy in 1996 has revolutionised the way companies run their day-to-day business all across the world. Nearly 75,000 trading members in 9 countries have benefited from the cashless economy of barter due to Bartercard's world-leading and innovative trade exchange system. Through its firmness and steadfastness, Bartercard has emerged as the biggest and best ever growing barter network all across the world today. At present, Bartercard holds cashless transactions worth $1.3 billion p.a., and function in 9 countries and 6 different languages. Nevertheless, new international markets for Bartercard are opening ceaselessly.
Bartercard tender service by which any member of Bartercard can trade all over the world by any other member in the same exchange without having to exchange of goods and services directly. It also ease the process of exchange (trade) network that bid energetic and efficient ways of performing business and thus helps to grow and achieve financial success determined by medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).Though the concept of barter dates back to a thousands of years ago, Bartercard is trading through a combination of new technology, a business community , marketing channels (directly or indirectly), and also direct marketing and indirect sales channels to increase customer base, increase profits and improve increase cash flows. Unlike most businesses that make - to buy to save on the cost model Bartercard provides a viable and innovative solution. A typical problem for SME's is the need to continue growing despite that the business is making enough money. Therefore, Bartercard is an ideal solution for those businesses which are experiencing the inevitable catch 22 to grow in the future and earn more.
Bartercard being leader in Trade exchange and largest in the world, thus has been chosen to be marketed in the potential market of France. It is the only tactical recent business tool which can generate new business, increase sales, reduce cash expenditure and allow the use of profit margins as a discount for purchasing. The product has build the network of 70,000 prospective customers in 16 different countries all across the world as it allows members to in its trade business exchange to buy and sell the goods and services without using the cash. Thus this achievement makes Bartercard the largest network in the world and fastest growing business trade exchange all over the globe.
France and the United Kingdom are major economic trade partners and since Bartercard is a truly global business network packed with local and global trading and marketing opportunities for members, it has been chosen from the source country to be promoted there. France also has potential for niche markets in various sectors especially suitable for small and medium sized business firms. It is said that almost anything that sells in United Kingdom can be sold in France provided that the price and quality is right.
Opportunity analysis and market selection for barter card in France
There is a major economic and trade partnership between France and United Kingdom. Not only France is United Kingdom's third largest export market but also the third largest supplier. Nearly 10% of United Kingdom's visible exports worldwide comprise of exports to France worth to some £20 billion per year. United Kingdom has substantial excess in the energy sectors, machinery, and pharmaceutical business. But the major trade balance is in France's favour. From investment perspective both the country all ready has number of investor investing in B2B sector and other niche markets. France is deemed to be United Kingdom's second largest European direct investor in terms of stocks and the United Kingdom in turn is the largest investor in France. Interpenetration of both economies has grown due to a considerable increase in mergers and acquisitions between them. Even the exchanges of services between them are intensifying. United Kingdom has over 1700 established French firms, subsidiaries and branches which are employing approximately 330,000 people. France has mainly invested in service sectors such as restaurants, hotels, transport, telecommunication water distribution, banking, and also in chemical and electronic industries. Apart from this, there are almost 2000 United Kingdom firms active in and working transport, chemicals, agri-food products biotechnology and retail distribution. The rising number of British residents and property-owners rapidly, making Britons the first European community living and working in France.
The opportunities for Bartercard to flourish in France
France has a highly developed transport and communication network which lies in a Core and tactical location which at the centre of Western Europe .Good connection of air and sea ways between the two countries also good quality infrastructure setup in both the countries has open the market for each other. The accessibility is also easy with the help of the high -speed train euro star between the two countries. The distance between the centres of London and Paris is only two hours fifteen minutes. This entails that the business executives and representatives can organise B2B meetings or visit their customers on day to day basis. foreign direct investment, France is also a home to world's leading companies in many innovative industries. The economy of France has a highly productive labour force. A secure investment process has been aided by structural reforms that are being undertaken for this purpose which is expected to offer new opportunities in procurement and sub-supply to UK companies. A number of industrial clusters have confirmed the charisma of France as a business location. Some key sectors that have opportunities for both UK exports and investments have been identified by the UKTI (United Kingdom trade and investment) in France.
Thus, the sectors engaged in exports and imports of the goods and services between the two countries and globe in turn lays the foundation for Bartercard to provide trade related services to these sectors and increasing itself a good market share in the France. There is also a room for other sectors particularly for medium and small sized firms in niche markets. It can be inferred that the product Bartercard will have the opportunity to target these sectors to get good market share in initial stages of entry in France. The above information suggests that there is high potential for opportunities for products in B2B sector in France and thus the Bartercard can be highly suitable to be marketed in France.
Cross-cultural Analysis and Consumer profile
By now, the traditional image of the France has become outdated. Consumers are becoming more and more house-trained and they are willing to undertake small medium size business or enterprise jobs around the house. The younger generation lie at the centre of this change in attitude while the older generation are more fixed in their attitudes.Do It Yourself is an attitude that is perceived as a rich man's hobby amongst the French public and although it is also becoming a poor man's necessity, it is seen as an activity that enhances status.
The initial objective was to do the cross-cultural analysis and learn what culture was currently prevailing in France, then the focus became ‘how to approach and conduct cross-cultural analysis?' and ‘how do these cultural relationships influence and affect the consumers needs and behaviour?' people living in France generally tended to go for products or services which have high level of values which may or may not be visible (The ‘Iceberg Model' of culture).
“The collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group from another... culture, in a sense, includes systems of values; and values are among the building blocks of culture” Hofstede (1980)
“The Sum total of learned beliefs, values and customs that serves to direct customer behaviour in particular country market'' Doole and Lowe (2004).
The first dimension (high context Vs low context) suggest the way in which information is transmitted or communicated. All information transactions were categorised in high, middle and low context. High context transactions contain pre-planned information which is transacted with minimum information in the message and are implicit. In contrast, the information transacted in low context contains all the missing information while transmitting the messages and the information in the messages are explicit.(Hofstede 1980).
From the first dimension theory it is understood that the context of information transacted between the United Kingdom and France are characterised under middle context which suggest that context is neither high nor low and the information transaction is less explicit as well as being less implicit (the contextual continuum of culture)
The second dimension i.e. Monochronic V/s Polychronic time orientation deals with the ways in which cultures are structured in time orientation in relation to interpersonal relations, activity coordination, personal time and organisations. The findings suggested that French people are of Monochronic time orientation as they preferred to concentrate on one thing at a time, which is more structured and rigid. This is also a similar case with people living in United Kingdom.
The fourth dimension of culture consists of four categories:
- Power distance : Considering France, it comes under high power distance as they have more hierarchical structure and accept inequality in wealth and power so the attitudes towards fear of expressing disagreement with managers or authority is greater.
- Uncertainty Avoidance: Culture which exists in France comes under high Uncertainty Avoidance as they tend to be less risk taking and there is high need of written and unwritten rules.
- Individualism V/s collectivism: The degree to take appropriate decisions dependence on individuals upon the group. France and United Kingdom has a high individualism score culture, as individual decisions are taken by consumers.
- Masculinity - Femininity: The degree to which society describes to the typical group of which is associated with males and females. Frances culture consist of masculine culture as they stress making money and they pursuit of visible achievements. This degree of culture is contrast in United Kingdom.
- Achieving or Ascribing Status: Culture of achieving status (performance based ) exist in France which again similar to the culture prevailing in United Kingdom. The degree to which culture emphasises earned or performance - based status, or status based on social standing and non-performance factors.
Emotional culture v/s Neutral cultures: France and United Kingdom has adopted neutral cultures as people living in France emphasise more on objectivity and reserved detachment in relationships.
Universalism V/s Particularism: France has inculcated Universalist culture as they prefer clear rules and believe that personal relationships should not interfere in business decisions.
Specific v/s diffuse relationship: France has diffuse relationships as they are concerned with keeping and maintaining social equilibrium. This is why in diffuse cultures it takes long time to prove one point. It is a way of avoiding private arguments or disagreements so that others won't feel offended and should not take personal.
To be an absolute winner in the French Market, it is highly recommended that a Bartercard United Kingdom Ltd should convert all marketing aspects into French language. The intention was to market and sell our product and services in local areas to get better advantage over the competitors for long-term as competitors are also aware that English is the universal language used globally for doing business. But the people living in their home country would feel more at ease in reading and speaking in their local language instead of other languages. They also thought the business executives living in France and speaking good English will also prefer to go with their first language and will be more comfortable in interacting during business plan. Company also wanted their buyers to feel comfortable and have good understanding of their Bartercard products and services which in turn will make their product and services different from the competitors. Company's idea behind this was to fill the communication gap between the customer and the product and services they are offering which will again help in eliminating the misunderstandings. After the detail research and discussion done with the French representative over language issues, They came to the conclusion that though mostly the international business are conducted in English language but it is very much important to consider host country's culture and language which plays a vital role in success of the products and services in that country(host country). With regards to market Bartercard the key cultural challenges were fulfilled after company did questionnaire session for getting appropriate results in French market. The results were shocking as 65% wanted all the products and services should be sold and branded in host country's language. These findings helped us in targeting our segments related to barter card as we were targeting Medium size Industries, small-scale industries and other community groups. The theories give an appropriate culture differences and similarities prevailing in both the countries and these were the key cultural challenges for the product (Bartercard) to overcome while targeting the segments.
Market Entry Strategic Decisions:
Barter card Franchisee
An opportunity to small medium size enterprise's or business to participate in barter trade which is the most sensitive economy in the world today is given by operating a Bartercard franchise.
It also offers an excellent opportunity for starting one's own business but the knowledge, the assistance of innovative marketing programmes and a victorious business concept, and support of an experienced team is a requisite. It has also helped business people in a lot of countries to set up their own successful franchises. As a matter of fact, many franchisees have established multi-territory businesses.
Operating a Bartercard franchise includes the following benefits:
- Special region for growth
- Tremendous earning prospective
- Inclusive training and Keep up programme
- Franchisee kit
- Complete organizational support
- Company searches and on0line credit
- Promotional and advertising activity
- Easy access to international and local trading opportunities
Shipping of computer hardware is included in Franchise cost
The three main sources for generating income for the franchisees are as follows:
- New members joining the scheme provides commission to the franchisees
- Trading transaction by every member generates Commission
- Capital growth of your business
- Commission structure offered by Bartercard is better as it gives opportunity for franchisee to receive high return compare to other franchisee organizations.
- Bartercard has the proven ability worldwide to on sell the franchisee at a premium
The process of internationalisation for BARTERCARD UK LTD
The process that an organisation goes through to be international (and ultimately a global) company (lee and carter 2005)
- Tends to begin with experimental or tentative attempts, then gradually increase commitment as experience and improved.
- Not always a ‘smooth, immutable path of development'- ‘de-internationalisation can occur at any time.
- Main Approaches:
- The Stage Models
- Born Global
The process Bartercard UK ltd falls under the born global perspective
As the recent increase in the number of ‘instant international' or ‘born global' companies (Jolly et.al. 1992; knight and cavusgil, 1996 McAuely, 1996).
- The Patterns of Barter Card UK Ltd do not conform to the traditional approaches. They have a global outlook from the beginning and derived a large proportion of the sales from international activities. The enabling factors for ‘born global' are as follows:
- Changing Consumers preference and shortened PLC - demand for specialist and customised products and/or customised products/services (global niche)
- Advance in affordable production technologies - easiers for small companies to customise
- New communication and E- commerce (e-delivery technologies)
Types of market entry Modes
Level of Risk
In the above picture the Market entry mode used by BARTER CARD UK LTD is Franchisee which comes under Direct Exporting
Product service offer and Branding
Bartercard as a global brand: International Licensing
Bartercard unites franchisees capacity with the company's skilled and established franchise system to create a flourishing partnership. Justification to choose Bartercard includes the following point:
- Bartercard can generate high revenue and profitability to franchisees
- Global leader in the trade exchange industries
- Bartercard is the trusted brand and has international recognition in many major markets throughout the world
- Bartercard's proven success is the ‘turn-key' franchisee model which is also multi award winning in the Australia and other different international locations.
- Franchisees receive complete training, assistance in set up and ongoing support from Bartercard's world-class management team
- Bartercard is associated with and supported by some of Australia's largest financial institutions.
- Sales Training Barter card covers all travelling and other allowances incurred on centralized training seminars. So no extra cost is bear by the sales member attending the training.
- Training sessions are also attended by Businessmen and their Trade partners which will help them to develop common goals and strategies.
- The offer also contain in-depth training both on-site and at Bartercard's head office. Guidance will be provided on use of computer systems, software and accessories.
Bartercard provides on-job support and advice on many areas of the business, including:
- Marketing and Business Plans
- Financial planning
- On-going sales and trading training materials
- Annual franchisee conference (source:Bartercard.com)
- Companies will have communication and day-to-day access to all the departments which includes IT, Marketing, human resources and administration. Bartercard experts will assist in all terms which will help companies to run their business effectively and efficiently as communication is the key to success of bratercard franchisee.
- An updated report of all clients on their business performance will be generated on weekly basis which also includes sales and purchases report and accout balance report.Bartercard also holds national conferences and regular telephone conferences that provides a forum to exchanges ideas and experiences.
Bartercard will also help out Enterprise's in planning out and executing marketing campaigns accustomed to local areas and will also co-ordinate with marketing department for national activity.
Marketing and promotional mix includes:This marketing and promotional activity includes:
- Ads through Radio
- Direct mailing
- Press release
- Taxi Advertising
- On-line communications
- Contest and Competitions
Member companies of Bartercard being provided high profile through Bartercard's sponsorship programme in the local business community and the in the business world. The sponsorship thus includes the following:
Sponsoring sports Teams Sports sponsorship:
- National tournaments
- Grand prix racing
Activity days for existing and potential members
- Rewarding model executive of the year
- Business associations and Chambers of Commerce
- Doing Charity for other organizations
Bartercard network is also opted by flourishing franchisee from a wide selection of environment having no product knowledge.
A triumphant franchisee will typically have good communication skills and will be there to interact with persons in a self-confident, but unwind and positive way. They are talented to survive with the force and could do with high-demand market. They will be realistic, passionate about running their own successful business with strong desire.
Bartercard will also prepare the firm for a successful launch when it is satisfied that it has made the right choice. All franchisees get to attend an inclusive training sessions surrounding more than 10 years of successful trading practices to certify that each member is secured and all set to provide the unparalleled customer service that is expected from them.
The Competitive advantage
- The ways by which firms can use Bartercard and help their business to engage in effective marketing and promotions strategies while conserving cash flow gives it a competitive edge in experimental marketing.
- Companies can even test new markets, different advertising channels, alternative promotional methodologies, or set up a system of expensive rewards for top customers using a Bartercard.
- Utilization of Bartercard directory will also help to generate promotional and marketing thought on how to influence your Bartercard membership and then discussed these ideas with your TCO.
This ancient type of business has been brought into 21st century by Bartercard's distinctive methods of accountability, support and business safety. Bartercard consent to companies to develop and broaden their horizons while saving on their The Bartercard Trading Programme enables businesses to trade in goods and services without the need for cash. It allows organisations to grow and diversify whilst saving on their expenditure and thus serving to manage their cash-flow. Thus Bartercard helps businesses through trading programmes to trade goods and services without inculcating cash.
Bartercard is mostly concentrating on small and medium sized business which is the single largest sector to generate revenue. The product has seen extraordinary stages of development in trade volume and membership. Bartercard provide trading of more than pounds 30 million per annum in the UK and worldwide. Bartercard has proved that this type of trading is a essential part of the new economy.
To sump with, being a part of the Bartercard Boom with over 55,000 businesses worldwide and Bartercard International (BCI) which is the world's largest Trade Exchange and also internationally recognised as the leader in its field, will give an opportunity to Small and medium size business firm's and other business community to enhance their business operation and position in the chosen potential market of France.