Step 3: Conduct Market Research

Having a deep understanding of your export market will help you make sound export marketing decisions by giving you a clear picture of the economic, political and cultural factors that affect your ability to sell your product or service.  Ultimately it will help you to avoid costly mistakes by reducing your exposure to the unknowns.

Initial desk-based research will help you to prioritize the most attractive markets through reviewing:

  • trade statistics
  • market and industry information
  • potential partners
  • trade leads
  • technical barriers to trade

Such research may rule out export markets before you start investing serious time and money.

Caribbean Export has developed the Caribbean Export Market Intelligence Portal (CE-MIP) to assist you in your market research. There are a suite or resources out there also for you.

You may also choose to access the country commercial guides from These guides provide practical advice and guidance on doing business in a wide range of countries around the world, exploring in detail the opportunities, local regulatory standards, political influences and cultural challenges.

Additionally direct contact with key experts, customers or other sources of information through techniques such as interviews and consultations should also be done after you have familiarized yourself with the potential market through your desk based research. A market visit will be crucial once you have some understanding of the market dynamics and the opportunity. Your product or service may also be able to take advantage of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) as well as other trade agreements.

For those involved in the Services Industries the following documents may give a valuable reference:

For those in the craft sector please review the information in the Export Marketing manual .

To help in your research consult the following websites;

  • CARICOM Secretariat Statistic department:  Provides regional trade statistics.
  • Centre for the Promotion of Imports (CBI)  Provides downloadable market studies containing product information, databases and export tools, such as an export readiness checker, templates for developing an export marketing plan and a market research action plan.
  • EU Export Help Desk: The EU Export help desk is an online service, provided by the European Commission, to facilitate market access for firms from developing countries to access the European Union. This service provides an overview on the EU´s preferential trade regimes established for developing countries as well as lists all tariffs, taxes and other requirements for developing country exporters interested in supplying the EU market.
  • International Trade Centre (ITC): This site contains information on international trade and market profiles, trade statistics and prices.
  • TFO Canada: The products and services available to registered users include the handbook on Exporting to Canada as well as over 20 sector-specific market info papers, trade events and news, links to Canadian and international resources; advice on finding buyers, tariff rates, consumer preferences and trends, regulatory requirements and practical tips on preparing for the Canadian market; and free promotion of registered companies and their products.
  • HubSpot is all-in-one marketing software that helps companies to attract leads and convert them into customers. HubSpot is a pioneer in inbound marketing and aims to help its customers make marketing that people actually love. On the website is a rich library of marketing documents and manuals.
  • Market is the most comprehensive collection of market intelligence products and services on the Web. They offer reports from over 720 top publishers and update their collection daily to provide firms with instant online access to the worlds most complete and current database of expert insights on global industries, companies, products, and trends.
  • Caribbean Regional Organization for Standards & Quality (CROSQ): The CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) is an Inter-Governmental Organisation among the fifteen Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).CROSQ is the regional centre for promoting efficiency and competitive production in goods and services, through the process of standardization and the verification of quality.

Note: Original text from the Exporter Toolkit from the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA).The content has been updated for the Bahamas Trade Information Portal with permission of CEDA.

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