The European eCommerce ecosystem was turned on its head last year after the introduction of new GDPR, geoblocking and payment laws; changes which forced online brands to become resourceful and apply more creative approaches to their digital marketing strategies. Although the lead up was daunting, stressful and full of uncertainty (much like the imminent Brexit situation), brands determined to succeed in retaining any sort of profitability were forced to adapt. Us Britons know our stuff when it comes to eCommerce, we have one of the most developed eCommerce markets in the world and although we don’t yet know how leaving the EU will impact online trade, we can re-asses our current sales strategies in anticipation.
Broaden Target Audience
The first thing to consider is how you trade and where you trade to. Trade negotiations are definitely factors which could become new barriers for global eCommerce businesses. The UK will need to renegotiate 759 national treaties with 168 countries and though this initially sounds terrifying, it could present a greater opportunity for international business as friendlier trade deals could potentially be negotiated outside of the EU. If you don’t already, it may be worth targeting the commonwealth nations. Although shipping to Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa will inevitably present logistical and operational challenges, it is definitely worth expanding your reach and initiating marketing campaigns to target these areas and grow your presence there.
Increase Marketplace Presence
A weakening pound will also mean that British goods will become cheaper to certain markets, (especially European shoppers), so make sure to capitalise on this by improving your Eurocentric sales strategy. When the UK leaves the EU it will lose the ability to leverage Eurozone digital programmes and pan-European security certificates, which could result in a European audience distrusting your site, deeming it unsafe and subsequently failing to transact or convert. Don’t let this stop you from monetising from European trade. Look at other avenues such as European marketplaces to ensure that you are still trading in this market. Research which are the most popular for your target demographic in each country.
For the UK market, a weak pound means a nation of tightened purse strings. It is no secret that British consumers are concerned about price hikes on goods and services in the aftermath. But this doesn’t mean that the nation will stop shopping; it simply means that we will start shopping around more and that online merchants who offer competitive pricing will reign supreme. Departing from the EU’s customs union will inevitably impact our VAT rates and import duties and although the goal is to maintain rates which closely mirror those of the EU; as nothing is yet set in stone, UK consumers might find that buying British from local-based eCommerce businesses benefits them more than buying from international merchants. This is good news for British manufacturers, buying sustainable British brands might just be the way forward.
Whether you were a Brexiteer or a remainer, there is no turning back now, but what you can do is decide how to use the separation to your advantage.