Today’s Tamebay Round Table Brunch along with our expert host, Bobbie Ttooulis from GFS (pictured above), saw a robust discussion over many aspects of ecommerce. Everything from Brexit, WTO terms (World Trade Organization) and overseas shipping to software solutions, work flow both in the warehouse and listing, managing marketplace solutions, and where to sell overseas.
The retailers who attended all had turnover in the millions with monthly shipping volumes ranging from multiple thousands all the way up to a hundred thousand parcels a month.
We’ll be reporting on a number of interesting viewpoints which the conversation generated, but perhaps the most pressing is Brexit, what’s happening and how to prepare for the multiple outcomes that could unfold over the next weeks and months.
The one thing that the retailers unanimously agreed on is that the time for talking is over and a course of action is needed. Retailers were by no means in favour of Brexit, but they pretty much all accepted that if it’s going to happen then it needs to happen and give them certainty in the businesses.
Some retailers already have warehousing in Europe (Amazon FBA) but even here Brexit is fraught with problems as in the near future stock will need to be replenished. Issues raised include everything from customs documentation to how import duties and VAT will be collected and what processes will need to be in place.
Retailers agreed that messaging to customers promising that the price you see is the price you’ll pay is key. Also putting in plans to pre-pay VAT and Duty so that for the end customer the price they see at the point of purchase is the total price that they pay is a smart move and, at least for some marketplaces, a pre-requisite.
Ultimately the conclusion is that there are too many unknowns and different scenarios ranging from crashing out of the EU on the 29th of March in a hard Brexit, to a temporary several weeks or months delay, to a longer year or two delay. It’s also worth remembering that even with a deal on the 29th of March, this would be a temporary transition deal and we’ll be going through the whole process again two years down the road.
So, in order to prepare for Brexit the best advice that came out of today’s Tamebay Brunch was to get ready to trade on WTO terms. WTO terms are perhaps the worst possible outcome and a preference for a deal is unquestioned, but by preparing to trade with the EU under this regime you are automatically setting yourself up to trade anywhere in the world and preparing your business for the future both within and outside the EU.
If you’d like to find our more regarding preparing for Brexit and trading under WTO terms, GFS have a handy ebook that’s well worth a read. The ebook is based on your responses to the Tamebay international survey from last year.