UKTI case study – Lumino
The decision to exhibit its latest product at the Light + Building exhibition in Frankfurt proved to be a light bulb moment for Harlow-based lighting manufacturer Lumino. The company achieved more sales than expected by the end of 2015 as a direct result of being at the exhibition.
Lumino, which has been supplying lights to designers since 1985, attended Light + Building with support from UKTI to launch its latest V36 LED lights to the 210,000 visitors from around the world who attend the show.
The company’s founder Andrew Small attributes subsequent sales of approximately £280,000 directly to its attendance at the exhibition. He said: “The support for that show really enabled us to maximise the launch of this product and the result is more than the predicted sale of this product by the end of 2015.
“Considering we are in a specification market, which can take many months and sometimes years to see results in, this level of business from a product that we showed only prototypes of last April and was not ready to produce until the summer 2014 is hugely more than I was expecting to see!”
Business has flowed since the exhibition from SMEs via distributors in Belgium, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. This has really helped speed up the process of getting the product to market, says Andrew. “Although we would have eventually achieved the results we are now seeing there is no doubt that the support from UKTI helped to fast-track our growth.”
Until Light + Building, Lumino’s plans had been to focus on the UK market then start to grow overseas after a couple of years.
“As soon as people in the industry discovered we were manufacturing they wanted to become our distributors,” explained Jago Wickers, Lumino’s design director.
This meant the company had to act quickly to ensure it was able to meet the requirements of these new markets. One thing that became apparent was that the current website was not ideal for international purposes.
To help with this Lumino once again turned to UKTI for support. “We’d been receiving some negative comments about our website from international customers so we’d planned a website overhaul, but were not sure how to make it truly international,” says Jago.
Mary Lewis, international trade adviser from UKTI, recommended the Export Communication Review (ECR). The ECR provides practical, impartial and straightforward advice to help companies improve their communications with overseas markets.
Each review is conducted by a communications expert and tailored to a company’s individual requirements. After meeting with Jago and his team, Stephen Bardle, export communications consultant, prepared a report listing clear recommendations to improve Lumino’s international website.
Some of these were very simple changes, such as moving away from a ‘.co.uk’ domain name, something the company hadn’t considered themselves.
“We hadn’t realised that ‘.co.uk’ domains do not get picked up well by global SEO”, said Jago.
Lumino decided upon the new ‘.lighting’ domain, enhancing international SEO while explaining Lumino’s business sector. Stephen also helped the company make the most of the Google Analytics service to track web-traffic.
Lumino also began to include information that demonstrated its international presence, including a webpage showing a map of distributor locations and up-to-date blogs detailing overseas trips. “Our new blog even shows our international charity cycle ride to Lumino in Switzerland!” says Jago.
As a result of the changes to the website, Lumino’s hit rate has increased almost four-fold. Says Jago: “Our customers have fed back to us that they are now finding the ease of access to areas like technical product information and data sheet downloads is greatly improved.
“New customers are also easily finding Lumino through search engines and the site is now attracting visitors from all over the world. The ECR enabled us to position ourselves as a global manufacturer in the eyes of our target markets. This has been key in our strategy for global expansion.”