Today in this guest post, Rory O’Connor, Founder and CEO of Scurri, discusses Brexit challenges but looks forward to a positive trading future for retailers.
Britain’s exit from the European Union has so far made trade more difficult and expensive – delays and red tape have assured that. While many factors have been at play since the exit on the 31st of January 2020, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, subsequent driver shortages and global supply chain issues, the impact of Brexit on trade does not appear to be going away. New border arrangements, such as border checks, have added costs to business and surpassed trade to a tangible degree. Just last week the Public Accounts Committee warned that the situation could get increasingly desperate, worsening even from the state of trade within the last two years.
How can tech help?
The tech is available to aid in combating issues regarding trade barriers and Cross Border challenges such as currencies, payment methods, duties and tax calculations, site translation, traffic generation and multi-carrier delivery management. Retailers that have responsive systems in place ahead of this will find themselves in the most flexible position when it comes to delivering cross border trade, however companies that have failed to implement this will find it challenging and lose out as a result – impacting their own business and overall trade. Retailers must have tried and tested logistics in place to combat any complications that may arise in order to operate a successful business but moreover to ensure they have satisfied their customers. Many delivery service providers have looked to alter and adapt their offerings – at Scurri we have tweaked our cloud-based software to ensure it could handle the complexities of post-Brexit logistics for all its retailer customers in Ireland, the UK and beyond.
More positive indications for 2022
Coming into 2022, we witnessed the introduction of the Omicron variant and for a moment it looked like the positive return to commerce may be reversed. While stores did not close officially over the past few months, many people were too scared to leave their houses and risk illness during the Christmas season and beyond. Online retailers, such as ASOS, took a hit at the seasonal period due to the new variant. However, it is safe to say that we have come out the other side, and results were not as predictable as one may have imagined.
Despite staffing shortages furtherexacerbating a delivery delay issue, online retailers saw an increase in online revenue spent in December 2021 compared to 2020. The results were positive, despite the processes being more difficult. It soon became apparent that Omicron was a sign of times shifting and a return to somewhat normality – this was the first positive indication that one variable in a large supply chain issue may finally be leaving the equation.
Retail trends ahead – not all doom and gloom
What else can we expect from retail this year? Shipping costs look to rise a staggering amount once again, with experts saying that the shipping crisis won’t come to an end until at least 2023. Shipping container costs are due to rise by 30% this year on average, which unfortunately leaves the retailer with little choice but to raise their prices in accordance with the increase in shipping prices. Retailers will need to find new, competitive means to impress buyers and add value to their products to offset these higher prices – not an easy feat. Additionally, retailers will be looking for new and creative ways to offset the reality that inventory may be unavailable at crucial moments. Competition has never been fiercer and solutions are available to deploy the best services possible, for businesses to remain viable.
2022 also looks to be an exciting year, in spite of these continuing challenges. In a world where space travel innovation remains a key focus, the rise in automation in the workplace continues at pace and where the biggest companies by value are technology businesses, much future retail-related M&A will surely be tech-driven. We now live in a fast-moving world of digital retailing. New ideas and approaches can quickly build traction in the market, creating an unexpected buzz and casting a spotlight on previously unknown companies and sectors. In looking at 2022, retailers are beginning to look outside the scope of traditional experiences and begin to offer consumers a futuristic model and shopping experience. It is early days, however this year we should switch from worrying about the state of retail and move into an exciting new era, with the technologies and solutions we have adapted as a result of the challenges to be used to move forward.