15 Jan _

Preparing Your Business For Brexit – The Uncertain Future of UK eCommerce

For cross-border eCommerce success, the correct strategies must be in place in order to overcome or seize any opportunities that Brexit creates, to not only safeguard, but boost their online sales for the foreseeable future.

Written by
Sean Edwards
Content Editor

Preparing Your Business For Brexit – The Uncertain Future of UK eCommerce

 

With the Article 50 notice period looming large, the fate of Brexit remains shrouded in doubt despite the EU official’s insistence a deal between the two parties is ‘90%’ of the way there. Despite the ever-growing effects on the UK’s economy having being almost debated to death, what still remains a mystery is the impact on our eCommerce market.

Like many UK businesses, you might be asking yourself ‘how Brexit will affect eCommerce?’ Those who’re looking for advantages of Brexit or maybe the hurdles our European divorce might cause will find some answers in the following guide on How to prepare your business for Brexit, or in this current predicament, more likely how to prepare for a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit.

Make Overseas Customers Feel At Home Thanks To The Pound's Devaluation

Arguably the most noticeable (and obvious) impact eCommerce markets have faced after our subsequent exit from the EU is the rapid devaluation of the pound.

Following the announcement of the UK’s impending departure, the pound sterling plummeted in value in comparison to the Euro & US Dollar, slumping to a 30 year low.

This resulted in the cost of eCommerce shopping for UK customers purchasing from EU websites increased; sadly we’re now paying more for the same products than everybody else.

 

The cost of eCommerce shopping for UK customers purchasing from EU websites increased; sadly we’re now paying more for the same products than everybody else.

However, consumers from within the EU can enjoy a currency that stretches further than ever before.

Already, consumers are capitalising on our fallen sterling by ordering products via UK sites that sell at the same euro price, but with an increased margin.

Due to this gross rate of astute exploitation, almost a third of the UK’s online retailers have seen their international sales soar.

There is evident potential for UK online retailers to entice a plethora of EU customers. Retailers must ensure they offer any potential euro customers the option to select their own currency, rather than just our presently wounded GBP.

Use Market Research & Trends To Your Advantage

  • Selling to international markets

    More so than ever within the EU, is going to become far more complex following Brexit.

  • Safeguard your online European Presence

    Invest time (and money dependent on budgets) into diligently targeting the markets.

  • Tailor-fit Market Products

    Ecommerce marketers can’t just rely solely on perfecting currency rates to attract EU customers. Far too many like-minded businesses focus on selling identical products worldwide, rather than focusing on if they’re ‘product-market fit’.

  • What's Trending?

    Marketers need to consistently track which of their products are trending (and especially the ones that are not) trending in other rich-eCommerce European countries in order to ensure overseas customers keep returning to their online store.

  • Change The Focus

    It is essential that companies consider international markets at a country-specific level, particularly when undertaking market research on culture, laws, forms of payment, currency, and unique business practices in local markets.

In the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, each business will not only have to comply with UK regulations, but the regulations of every single EEA (European Economic Area) and EU country separately. There are currently 30 countries this applies to, compared to a single regulation at present.

Beware & Prepare for the 'No Deal'

Ecommerce Brexit No Deal - Meeting

The UK Government has recently released advice to businesses on what to expect in relation to the EU Ecommerce Directive if there is a ‘No Deal’ Brexit (no UK deal agreed with the EU at the end of Article 50 notice period – Match 29th, 2019).

The EU Ecommerce Directive was created to ‘remove barriers to selling online from country to country within the EU.’ Our UK Government’s guidance on the matter is essentially that they intend to retain most principles of the Ecommerce Directive in place, as well as intending for the UK Law stay’s closely in line with 2018’s new & improved GDPR.

From a legal perspective, Ecommerce transactions from the UK to countries within the European Union will become more convoluted.

The main notable exception to this is regarding ‘Country of Origin’, a principle the UK plans to abolish. This principle means that ecommerce companies, internet service providers, and online tool vendors currently within the EU must comply with the laws of their home nation (Country of Origin).

Essentially, this means that UK law applies to businesses in the UK selling to (e.g.) Spanish consumers, whilst Spanish Law applies to companies based in Spain, selling overseas to customers in the UK – (keep in mind, various exclusions and qualifications will apply).

Unfortunately for UK commerce retailers, this does mean that in the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, each business will not only have to comply with UK regulations, but the regulations of every single EEA (European Economic Area) and EU country separately. There are currently 30 countries this applies to, compared to a single regulation at present.

The government’s guidance on the matter, states:

“We therefore encourage UK and EEA information society services to check for any compliance issues resulting from the loss of the Directive’s Country of Origin principle. 
“In many instances, you may already comply with these requirements, and this could mean that (depending on the nature of your online services) there is little immediate substantial change in compliance requirements that would result from the UK leaving the EU.
“Despite this, we do advise that you should build on your existing processes for ensuring compliance with the legal requirements relating to online activities in each individual EEA country.
“You should also ensure that you have processes in place for ongoing compliance in the event that individual EEA states change their requirements governing online activities.”

Don't 'Wait & See' What The Future Brings

Amid previous statistics that suggest over two thirds (68%) of UK Retailers have yet to prepare for Brexit, perhaps as a direct result of just how unclear the impact on businesses it will have.

Retailers

47% of UK businesses who sell internationally reported they did not experience a post-referendum impact; a relatively high figure that would suggest that Brexit-preparation for businesses is simply a myth. It is an unnecessary risk to assume because of the UK’s newfound rise in overseas orders, that it’s ‘business as usual’. The current dependency on currency fluctuations will not suffice with regards to long-term success.

For cross-border eCommerce success, the correct strategies must be in place in order to overcome or seize any opportunities that Brexit eventually creates, to not only safeguard, but boost their online sales for the foreseeable future.

Don’t employ the UK Government’s ‘wait and see’ approach towards the repercussions of Brexit. Uncertainty will only breed mistrust amongst ecommerce consumers, and dwindling consumer confidence will likely result in lower sales for online retailers.

Sherwen Studios is able to assist with Analytics & Insights into hurdles negatively affecting your business.

We can optimise websites for an increased conversion rate, as well as analyse and implement Marketing Automation / Remarketing techniques in order to boost online sales for ecommerce retailers.

To find out how, call or email us below for an in-depth discussion regarding your specifications.

Contact Us