Beating Brexit uncertainty with e-commerce

Stephanie Neusser
June 13, 2018

Are you worried how Brexit is going to impact your e-commerce investments and opportunities? You’re not alone. Being unprepared could definitely be a setback for your business, but there’s also a lot to be gained.

Brexit: Be prepared

The Brexit vote has caused a lot of uncertainty in the business world, and there are plenty of questions to be answered. However, it’s important to realise that the UK is still  the top choice for e-commerce fulfilment and remains the largest market for online shopping in Europe.

Here’s why:

  • The United Kingdom will remain an excellent choice as a gateway to Europe.
  • The UK is the third largest e-commerce market in the world, with online sales making up 30% of the economy. It is ahead of Germany and twice the size of France.
  • Online shoppers in the UK spend more per household than consumers in any other country.

With 47% of businesses who sell internationally reporting they have not experienced a Brexit-influenced impact you may feel inclined to brush these points under the rug and run your business as usual.

Not preparing for Brexit in advance, however, may be a recipe for pain. In order to survive in the world of e-commerce, you at least need to re-evaluate your current online strategy; are you prepared for any of these changes, regardless of whether they will or will not happen?

How British web stores can come out of Brexit on top

Offer currency selection for payment of goods. Now is the perfect time to expand your business overseas. Using your ERP to control price lists allows you to set up automatic currency conversion based on pre-determined settings. This makes it easy to offer customers separate price lists or specific conversion rates that can be calculated on one figure. Making it easy to buy in euros and dollars opens up your customer base and helps ensure you won’t be left out in the cold post Brexit.

Tap into European and American customer bases.

Subrahmaniam Krishnan-Harihara, Head of Research, at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce has an interesting take on Brexit:

“For many businesses, e-commerce offers a path ahead. Selling via the internet provides a scalable, cost-effective option for selling abroad. An e-commerce website is accessible 24/7 from anywhere in the world and businesses that want to start exporting can use their web sites as a virtual shop floor, quickly attracting new customers to their products and services. International expansion does mean setting up new payment systems or supply chains, and improving inventory management. We are pleased to note that Sana Commerce have expertise in the effective integration of ERP and e-commerce, and can offer Chamber members both strategic advice and technology tools to enable international transactions.”

Online sales offers a low-cost way to try a new market — especially compared to the traditional methods. You can set up websites without putting many people on the ground, making it relatively inexpensive to try out and much faster to deploy.

Take advantage of knowledge gained in the UK.

The UK is currently one of the biggest e-commerce hubs in Europe. Most trends in e-commerce hit the UK before Europe, and most British web stores are already in their second or third generation iteration. The Brexit offers the perfect opportunity to take advantage of advanced e-commerce knowledge and learnings to beat out the competition on the mainland.

Prepare for an increase in e-commerce activity.

If the value of the pound continues to decrease, you’ll see exports and therefore e-commerce business continue to increase. Preparing in advance for such a shift could help make you a frontrunner later on.

Invest in an integrated web store.

With the current rise in UK online sales, it’s never been a better time to invest in a web store. And choosing a web store that integrates with your Microsoft Dynamics or SAP ERP will give you many more advantages.

Tap into the potential of Brexit with focused marketing campaigns.

If you aren’t already benefiting from personalized marketing opportunities, talk with your e-commerce provider to see how they can help you with this. It’s not every day a country leaves the EU — use it to your advantage and create some buzz with a few Brexit marketing campaigns!

Use your ERP to localise your web store.

There are many ways to ensure your web store is fully localised for new audiences. Setting up different tax rates for different regions, for instance, is one very important way to localise. If you start now and make it part of integrating your web store with your ERP, then any changes that happen post Brexit can be easily adjusted with just one change in your ERP. That means no major hard code changes — just efficient, dynamic business.

“British products are very popular in the international market and sell well abroad, often at premium prices. At the chamber, our research shows us that, businesses in Greater Manchester are keen to tap into both established markets in Europe and emerging markets in Asia. Understandably, expanding into new markets can seem daunting and some businesses, especially SMEs, are often hesitant exporters – they want to access international markets but do not have all the information they need on logistics, currency conversions or taxation,” concludes Subrahmaniam.

An unexpected solution: Brexit, e-commerce and the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, some people think Brexit could be a positive thing for the country’s economy.

Teaming up with Dutch companies could very well be the ticket to benefiting from Brexit. Sana Commerce is one example of Netherlands based e-commerce software company poised to help British businesses get the most out of Brexit. To learn more about our solution and how we can help you thrive before, during and after the Brexit transition, get in touch.

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