E-marketplace firm sets sights on Europe

William Wilson, chief executive of Global-365 Ltd
William Wilson, chief executive of Global-365 Ltd

An online company hopes to tap into the boom in internet purchasing by expanding into Europe.

Global-365 Ltd provides ‘e-marketplaces’ - websites where visitors can order products from different suppliers in one place - for businesses in the education, hospitality, health and animal care trades.

And after the success of its first venture in the UK, the Lancaster-based firm plans to launch dedicated platforms for different sectors.

The company, set up to help organisations buy goods at lower prices than they would pay individually, is teaming up with Enterprise Europe Network North West (EENNW) to engineer a move into European marketplaces.

Chief executive William Wilson said: “The concept for Global-365 is not unique, but our business model is. There are a whole host of e-commerce sites available online, but none offer the ease of use provided by the seamless integration of marketplace and payment method.”

The company has recently launched healthcarebuyer.co.uk and hospitalitybuyer.co.uk will launch in the future.

Another e-marketplace - eduationbuyer.co.uk - is in the pipeline, with bosses hoping to capitalise on the more than £2 billion spent on classroom resources in the UK each year.

“Our business is not dependent on creating new markets for the products and services sold by the respective e-marketplaces”, Mr Wilson added.

“For example, care homes will always have a need for food and hygiene products, and the long-term care sector alone is projected to be worth £15.7 billion by 2014.”

Marie Kerkhof, European business adviser at EENW, said: “William approached EENW after Global-365 had launched its first e-marketplace, and it was clear that he had an expert understanding of the UK industry.

“However, he wasn’t sure where to start in terms of the need for e-marketplaces across Europe, and he wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the cultural, political landscape, not just market demand.

“As the business is so specialist, we were required to dig a little deeper to find the necessary information for him to make an informed decision about which countries would be best to target.”

Global-365 now plans to set up a pan-European strategy and launch its first international e-marketplace within the next two years.

The UK’s internet economy is worth £360 billion per year.

Business experts predict this figure will grow 10 per cent year-on-year as web sales soar.