The last few days have been absolute chaos for business owners, as well as the general public. The historic vote for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union has completely split the country, with David Cameron resigning, Nicola Sturgeon looking for a way to gain Scottish Independence once again and Corbyn's lacklustre defence of the Remain campaign triggering a coup in the Labour Party.
Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson may have finally got their Independence Day, but where does that leave the thousands of business owners in the UK? B2B eCommerce can be a fragile thing at the best of times, but in the chaos of this vote, it's no surprise to see business owners panicking.
The State Of The UK After The Referendum
It isn't unfair to say that the UK is chaotic at the minute. Just a few days after the referendum, the pound has tumbled to its lowest rates in more than 20 year, risen again, tumbled again and is only now starting to settle. The markets and currency exchange rates are continuing to react erratically and the future is extremely uncertain.
Whether you voted Leave, Remain or didn't vote at all, you need to know that the market is a very different place from where it was just a few years ago. UK businesses are no longer as valuable to those in the European Union and, with the Pound fluctuating; they are unlikely to be as comfortable trading internationally as they were before.
The vote to Leave has left the UK with a range of new issues to deal with, which will definitely have an effect on your B2B eCommerce business.
- Uncertainty – Nobody knows what the immediate future is going to hold. Currently, nobody has any idea where the country will stand with regards to the EU. Despite immigration being one of the major reasons we left the EU, the free movement of workers is still going to be an issue of contention if we want access to the Free Market.
However, until official discussions take place and Article 50 is invoked, there is no doubt that we will be stuck in this current state of Limbo. It is likely that this state of affairs will continue until a new Conservative Prime Minister is announced in August.
- Increased Complexity For Travel – Since 1973, travelling between the United Kingdom and other European countries has been an extremely simple process. Business travel, as well as free worker movement and immigration, has been a major topic throughout the referendum. Despite that, we are still completely in the dark over how this decision will affect travel.
Unfortunately, it has been suggested that the increased complexity of travel will not only deter companies from trading internationally, but will make it increasingly difficult for workers to get to where they need to be.
- Tariffs And Taxes On Deals In The UK – The biggest luxury for the UK's integration in the EU was that the United Kingdom had access to the Free Market. It was easy to import and exportmaterials, products and more throughout the EU with limited taxation. However, with this access potentially being lost, it could look like B2B eCommerce companies across Europe will need to look for new trading partners, or be prepared to renegotiate their deals.
Although the long-term impacts have still yet to be discusses, it is extremely clear about how the markets feel regarding Brexit. For any B2B companies, you can expect to see increased trade barriers and greater costs to get your products imported or exported.
- Currency Has Becomes Volatile – With the value of the Pound rising and falling, it is practically impossible to understand how much value Sterling will have when the dust finally settles. What is certain, however, is that the Bank of England is going to find it extremely difficult to keep the UK economy stable. It is clear that, currently, markets are reacting extremely negatively.
The United Kingdom And eCommerce In Europe
The UK has always been at the forefront of eCommerce in Europe. Even back in 2013, our small island accounted for approximately 32% of all European eCommerce sales. We are also at the forefront of mobile commerce, with sales growing in that same year by 138% on the previous year. Today, Great Britain still remains the largest and most lucrative online retail nation in Europe; for example, mobile sales now amount of more than $28 billion.
As the 3rd strongest eCommerce market in the world, currently worth around $99 billion (and projected to reach £132 billion by 2018) it is clear that the UK will remain a powerhouse when it comes to national eCommerce, but what will the effect on international eCommerce be?
Brexit Will Affect Customer Behaviour
The uncertainty around the UK's exit will have an effect on customer trust, particularly on an international scale. With the Pound falling, international customers may use this opportunity to get great deals on materials and products before the UK is no longer bound by EU legislation regarding product quality.
B2B customers are on the lookout for the best deals, and although this period of uncertainty could provide immediate advantages, when Brexit actually occurs it is likely that many retailers will look elsewhere to avoid stringent import and export costs.
How Will Brexit Affect International Trade?
The long term effects of a post-EU Britain could cost much more than the amount of money the UK sent to Brussels. In the recent report ' Should We Stay or Should We Go?' it was claimed that this lowered trade could reduce the UK GDP by between 1.1% and 3.1% in a short period of time. However, in the long-term, it could see a loss of 9.5% GDP.
The costs for all kinds of international B2B and even B2C trade could increase as a result of:
- Exclusion from future steps the EU takes.
- Higher tariff barriers between the European Union and the UK.
- Higher non-tariff related barriers to trade between the UK and the EU – this could include new regulations and the outcome of border controls.
The European Union's Digital Single Market
Currently a hot topic amongst any and all eCommerce experts is the state of the European Commission's Digital Single Market Strategy. This was a proposed policy with the overall goal of enabling the EU's single market freedoms to make the transition to the digital world. When it comes to online retail, the EU hoped to tear down any existing barriers to ensure that citizens and businesses could all benefit from an increased range of goods and services, from all over Europe. Turning 28 national markets into a single digital one - friendly for both B2C and B2B eCommerce - had the potential to generate thousands of new jobs, and contribute an incredible €415 billion to the EU's economy.
The strategy was composed of three unique policies, involving:
- Great Online Access – By ensuring universal internet access across Europe, the strategy was meant to develop a seamless and accessible online marketplace for buying and selling.
- A Digital Environment – The strategy will work to match the pace of technological development (which has hampered many businesses in the past) and support consistent infrastructure development.
- Grow National Economies Through Digitalisation – The digital world, with online retail can provide incredible advantages to all kinds of businesses which, in turn, can help to drive the national economy.
Now that we have voted to leave the European Union, it is unclear (although unlikely) that the UK will be allowed to take part in the digital single market. This means that the strategy could make online retail easier than ever and Britain, the continent's leading eCommerce provider, could miss out.
The Importance Of A Bespoke B2B eCommerce Solution
Today, more than ever, you need to make sure that your company can provide a truly unique, trustworthy and reliable online platform. If you still hope to trade internationally, you need to make sure that your products are the very best they can be, your brand identity is trustworthy and your service is exemplary. With the likelihood of tariffs and trade restrictions, you need to overcome Brexit and give buyers and decision-makers a reason to continue shopping with you, rather than find a more local company to do business with.
Our team are proud to say that we have worked on some of the biggest and best B2B eCommerce websites in the world, and have helped our clients to grow from strength to strength. Whatever kind of B2B website you are looking for, you can be sure that our bespoke development platform, Razor, is the perfect solution for you.
The Benefits Of The Razor Platform For B2B eCommerce
The Razor eCommerce platform has been designed to create industry-leading websites, with a focus on bespoke design. Using this solution, we can give you the ability to control every aspect of your online presence from a single, useable interface. Just some of the great features that our eCommerce platform can provide include:
- Detailed Content Management – Thanks to Razor's user-friendly interface, you can quickly and easily manage all content on your website. That means all product information, including conversion rates, will be up to date – that's an essential part of trading overseas, whatever the results of the Article 50 discussions.
- Up To Date Order Details – With Razor, you can view detailed information regarding every order that is placed. You can even view this information on any mobile device you choose, for up-to-date details on the move.
- Simple Integration – We designed this platform to be able to integrate with a range of other platforms as quickly and easily as possible. This means that you can integrate your B2B eCommerce site into your warehouse software, as well as any 3rd party marketplaces including eBay, Amazon and more.
- PCI DSS Level 1 Compliancy – Thanks to Advansys' PCI DSS compliancy, you can be sure that your online presence is in safe hands. We have earned the highest security rating available, meaning that you are completely safe from cyber criminals, including customer data breaches and fraud.
- Bespoke Functionality – With Razor, you can take complete advantage of a system that has been designed for innovation. Not only can you set business rules to create special circumstances for your buyers, our team can develop unique modules to ensure that your online presence remains the perfect option for you.
If you hope to remain competitive for international B2B eCommerce, you need to make sure that you are giving your buyers a real reason to stick with you. Your online presence could be the key between your customers sticking with you through thick and thin and looking for a new provider.
Brexit Will Impact International B2B eCommerce; Your Online Presence Is More Important Than Ever
Leaving the EU could seriously impact your business, especially if your business trades with other companies in Europe. If you hope to offer your clients a real reason to stay with your B2B business, then you need to make sure that your online platform gives them a reason to stay.
Choose Advansys' unique Razor platform today, to protect your business and keep your buyers, as well as encourage more national sales, customer clicks and valuable conversions. For more information, don't hesitate to get in touch with our eCommerce experts today on 0845 838 2700.