UK eCommerce is ill-equipped for Brexit

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

The United Kingdom is the e-commerce market leader in Europe. UK online shoppers spend more compared to other EU countries. According to Eurostat, 86% of internet users shopped online in 2017. Now that the e-commerce leader is preparing to leave the European Digital Single Market due to Brexit, it is bringing uncertainty for online sellers and buyers.

According to a new study commissioned by Greenlight Commerce, a digital agency, UK businesses are struggling to adapt their eCommerce platforms in preparation for Britain’s departure from the European Union.

The study involved 200 UK-based eCommerce decision-makers. It was revealed that 78% don’t believe their eCommerce platform is equipped to address any of the outcomes that might arise due to Brexit.

Also, 91% believed that a no-deal Brexit will have an impact on their eCommerce offerings.

Some of the impacts identified by the decision-makers include: confusions about regulations (48%), difficulty trading with EU customers (48%), an increase in delivery times (34%), and an overall decrease in transactions (27%).

In terms of what these decision-makers are doing to dodge the impending bullets and preparing their eCommerce platforms for Brexit: 47% said their eCommerce budgets have increased, while 78% have made changes to their eCommerce offerings.

What are the key impacts Brexit will have on eCommerce?

Those UK eCommerce companies that have a global focus stand to face the serious challenge of the depreciating pound, making all imports into the UK more expensive. This will impact their profit margins and even limit opportunities for cross-border growth.

In addition, EU consumers can lose faith in UK products as the EU’s pan-European certifications for online shops will no longer be valid.

Trade between the UK and the EU will also face disruptions due to products from both countries having to undergo customs procedures. This is likely to cause delays for consumers and eventually negatively impacting eCommerce.

Consumers will then need to pay customs duties on products, raising prices.

On a positive note…

UK e-commerce merchants may experience sales increase as a result of Brexit, as customers will be forced to look within its own borders for deals to avoid hidden import costs. Furthermore, if the value of the pound continues to drop, exports will likely increase, which can be a good thing for UK e-commerce.

What can be done in the meantime

Businesses would do well to ensure their eCommerce platform is optimised and fully-functional. Especially during times of change and uncertainty, having an agile eCommerce platform can help mitigate some of the pressures on an organisation.

Showing real-time stock availability and enabling updates to be made easily is a good start.  Many organisations understand this and are investing in eCommerce accordingly. eCommerce will not remedy all of the problems created by Brexit, but a platform that can change quickly to meet changing business needs will be greatly beneficial.

In Conclusion

Preparing in advance for such an event as well as staying informed will be key elements to ensure the viability of your business in this topsy-turvy world. Remember, nothing can be predicted with Brexit. The only thing you can do is prepare and do your best to stay on course through the choppy waters ahead.

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