How Can British E-commerce Sites Survive Post-Brexit
Brexit is one of the biggest political news in the past few years. Here are strategies that will help your company grow post-Brexit:
With such a massive development, it is easy to see how it impacts different areas of the British economy—particularly in the areas of manufacturing, trade, foreign investments, and immigration. UK-based companies also need adjustments in their marketing strategies to make profit amidst the political chaos.
For businesses that cater to the international audience, the deflation of the British Pound opens a short-term opportunity for stimulating sales. By capitalizing the advantageous exchange rate for foreign customers, you can quickly capture the "penny-pinchers" and establish your presence in foreign markets.
1. Make It Easier for International Shoppers to Buy From Your Site
Although international customers can easily snag better deals from UK-based e-commerce sites, they may still be put off by the high costs of overseas shipment. Given the circumstances, you need to think twice about retaining your pre-Brexit offers such as discounted shipping.Instead, you need to consider a fundamental change in your shipping process and resort to more economical alternatives.
Using a mail forwarding service such as MyUKMailbox.com, for example, allows customers to leverage a reliable and much cheaper shipping process. Parcel forwarding services work by delivering the product in a local company and “forward” them to the customer’s mail. Since any bought item will be stored in the forwarding company’s warehouse, customers can use the online interface to consolidate multiple items and ship them in a single package—saving them a ton of money than if they are to ship directly from the seller.
2. Reduce Dependency on Distributors with EU-wide Rights
Brexit hugely impacts suppliers with EU-wide distribution licenses when it comes to selling goods to UK-based stores. Take note that manufacturers based in the US or the rest of EU will need to deal with the changed trade restrictions when exporting to the UK. They may not even be allowed to supply UK-based businesses at all for a long time. Overall, it is a huge setback that may warrant an overhaul in your business model if you ever want to remain relevant.
As an e-commerce business that relies on the relationships you build with suppliers, you need to pay close attention on how your foreign suppliers handle Brexit. They may choose to keep selling to you for the higher price, or opt-out from the UK market altogether. Regardless, you need to reduce your dependency on these suppliers and develop plans in optimizing your supply chain.
Apparel online stores, for instance, need to consider sourcing from UK-based fashion manufacturers that offer better deals. Of course, the necessary course of action depends on the type of industry you are in. However, the keys you need to remember are to lower trade costs and keep negotiating in British Pounds as much as possible.
3. Rely on Mobile Technology
Despite Brexit, the UK market remains appreciative of mobile e-commerce technology. Entering 2016, 51% of all UK e-commerce transactions occurred on mobile devices, with 49% coming from smartphones and 18% from tablets. There is no evidence that the local market's preference when it comes to the mobile digital touch point will change anytime soon. In fact, a majority of UK shoppers—73% to be exact—is optimistic on mobile's footing as the premier e-commerce device of choice.
Taking Brexit into account, it is clear that you need to leverage everything you can to offer better user experience and close more sales. Although strategies like relying more on mobile technology have indirect effects on Brexit, they do offer your business a cushion as it adapts to the ongoing changes.
Remember that utilizing mobile platforms for e-commerce is not a new concept. There are plenty of mobile e-commerce apps such as Wish that retain their popularity in the UK market. As an e-commerce seller, all you need to do now is to study your options and sign up as a merchant in your preferred platform.
4. Tech Innovators Must Step Up
At the end of the day, UK's choice to leave EU has rippling effects in the world of digital commerce. Foreign shoppers will spend less on UK e-commerce stores; overseas supply chains suffer, and businesses will have to face staffing problems due to stricter immigration. Remember that by leaving the Digital Single Market; the UK will start managing e-commerce concepts such as VAT, digital borders, and distribution on its own.
The situation indeed breeds uncertainty, which calls upon digital innovators to make it easier for UK sellers and online buyers to do business. In the meantime, you must prioritize improving the online experience of your prospective buyers by investing on the winning side of post-Brexit ecommerce—including but not limited to mobile retail and social media integration.
Remember that businesses do not strive through favorable conditions. They strive by learning how to apprehend and adapt to every situation—be it advantageous or chaotic. Brexit is only one of the major hurdles that will test your strength. Just face every challenge with resolve and remember that there are always opportunities to make the most out of everything.