Brexit and Online Retail… What Is the Likely Impact?

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What is certain in my mind is that nobody really knows what the impact of Brexit is going to be on any aspect of our lives. Whether we are talking about wider social and commercial trends or a direct impact on our online or in-store spending habits . But the newly coined term has also become synonymous with uncertainty, which means that it WILL have a significant impact at some point. So lets speculate a little, backed up with some slightly more enlightened opinion from our friends at IMRG…

What has been proven in the last 3 months or so since the vote is that the financial armageddon that was predicted by some “experts” was tantamount to scaremongering, and in all probability was politically motivated. Obviously the pound has adjusted significantly but that is beneficial for some, negative for others, and will likely balance out over time. What we are all interested in is the overall implications for economic growth, and therefore what we as consumers are going to have in our wallets to spend on goods and services, and what it is going to cost retailers to be able to provide them.

As the IMRG report points out, online sales revenues and cross-border orders have hit new highs since the vote, although average order values have fallen. But what we have now seen is that e-commerce trade levels have pretty much gone back to the levels that we would have expected if the Brexit vote had never happened. So as yet nothing has changed at all, but as we are still in the EU, anyone that is saying that Brexit is not going to have any effect is somewhat naive, being as Article 50 has not even been triggered.

So what effect will it have? My perception is that bureaucracy is likely to rise, which will have an impact on costs for retailers and may impact on the customer experience as moving goods across borders will become more complex. But at the same time I do get a strong sense of a resurgence in what it means to be British, namely a spirit that never accepts defeat and certainly will not permit ourselves to be made to feel inferior. Apart from our football team of course, but lets no go there!

Ultimately, the internet is a facilitator that means that Britons’ entrepreneurial spirit can be nurtured and supported, whatever impact tighter cross-border controls with Europe may have. The internet is one of the most democratic tools that we have at our disposal, and our ability to be creative will come to the fore as we seek different opportunities to bring our goods and services to market in Europe and beyond.

Of far more concern to me than Brexit is the impact of cyber criminals on our ability to trade safely online. But lets face it, breaking into and stealing a car was pretty easy ten years ago, yet it is now virtually impossible to steal a car that is less than five years old. So I firmly believe that Britain will be at the forefront of global efforts to make our online shopping experience not only much smoother and easier, but ultimately more secure.

To get a more in-depth opinion from IMRG, please click on the button below and to the left to download the report, or click on the button below and to the right to find out more about the e-commerce solutions that SPS offers.

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