eCommerce and Brexit – an island of opportunities

Do you own an eCommerce store and worry about what will happen with Brexit? It is probably the most discussed subject we’ve all observed from the sideline. We all have a different opinion on what should happen next, what should’ve happened and probably what shouldn’t have happened.

Are we in danger at being stuck at looking into the past and we forget to address the real issue? With any change, new threats and opportunities arise. I think the threats are well documented and we can easily think of many that would affect our businesses. So let’s focus on the opportunities. Whether you voted to stay in or out of the EU.

Online is Global and has no borders.

OK, yes, it is global and part of a much bigger ecosystem. But I want to focus on eCommerce in the UK and business owners. So let’s rephrase the question. Will Brexit have an effect on business owners that manage eCommerce websites in the Britain?

Business as usual

No – Google’s algorithm will not change on the 29th of March therefore, customers will continue to find your website… right? Google Ads will serve my business needs and I know my costs – this could be the case and even if there is a blip, we live in a global economy and people always have money and needs. Your website will be found regardless of a political decision.

Small adjustment – be prepared

Maybe – because what if the value of the GBP drops because of economic consequences? Again, this could be good for export and possibly bad for domestic customs. it all depends on what you sell, where you buy it from and what your relationship with the customer is. What is important is to do your research of the different scenario’s and to be prepared. Don’t e caught out and panic… instead, be one step ahead and advertise to new clients. Whether it is ‘in stock’, UK dispatch, lower prices or same quality service… rest assure your clients if they are unsure or nervous.

Worrying times ahead

Yes – it will have an effect as people will lose confidence, shipping could be affected and import will be more expensive if you are buying from Europe with the additional costs and tax added. If you are working with small margins and rely on a stable pound and European customers, you could find yourself in difficulties.

Top 11 tips to make your eCommerce store ‘Brexit proof’

No matter what your outlook is, Brexit will have an effect on your eCommerce store and sales. So here are my top eleven tips to turn a threat into an opportunity.

Stocking up on your products before Brexit
Stock up before Brexit?
  1. stock or no stock – know your costings as with every sale the profit was made when you bought the item. Think carefully how you can be one step ahead of whichever situation will pan out. Not every one of us is an economic but your suppliers will most likely have a few answers and are just as nervous. Agree on a price freeze or better payment terms to ride out the storm.
  2. prepare your customers and send out signals that business will not be affected but processes are improving. Possibly run a promotion just before and after. You could also ignore it and not highlight the issue, but that’s a bit like ignoring Valentine’s day. Jump on the bandwagon as your customers will have questions and concerns.
  3. create an FAQ on your website that explains what you do to minimise the effect and disruption Brexit might have. Emphasize on the delivery and tracking and clearly state a phone number or email for customers to contact you on. Apart from answering your client’s concerns and questions you can repeat the message throughout the website like offering tracked delivery, price locked and refund policies.
  4. advertising on Google is always an outstanding idea. If you want sales, you get your message across and customers will click to your website. Once landed, you have a few seconds to convert them to a potential client. Is your landing page up to date? Have you optimised it and done A and B testing? It is important to focus on the quality of the clicks and once the balance is right and you know your Return on Investment, the sky is the limit… advertising online
  5. make noise on social media to get your customers attention. During a time of increased activity of news and competition, it is a race for you and your business to get attention. Be clever, cleverer cleverest. Take a step back and focus on high return and low-cost messages. Social media is mostly free and your clients have had an engagement with you already and are your loyal followers, so make use of them.
  6. discover new markets in a period of unrest. Not just new territories but also new segments in your own market. Use online tools like Google Analytics and Search Console to discover what type of customers land on your site. Use Google trends to find out where people search for what. Part of our SEO service is finding out where your new markets are.
  7. the use of British humour helps in most uncomfortable situations. Check out all the placards at a demonstration which are turned in something funny or piss-taking. If Brexit is all a bit of a joke or you feel let down, the use of a well-crafted slogan, email or image can help your customers identify with you and support your business as a more loyal customer.
  8. Look local and rediscover what you have around you. Do you focus too much on global growth? Are you ignoring your locality? A good question to ask yourself as it is very easy to be happy with your business as you get orders from the other side of the world, but maybe your neighbours are doing this too as they find it impossible to connect with you. Have you done your homework on Google my Business, Bing Places, Waze Business and Apple maps? This is really the first step to connect yourself with ‘a local’ and your business.
  9. networking, the traditional way… are you guilty of being behind a screen only? There are so many possibilities to tap into new networks and speak to likeminded people. You get inspiration, knowledge, hear of other people’s mistakes and join forces establishing new partnerships. This has often been the case for me while attending eCommerce and WordPress conferences, training session organised by the British department for trade and local meetups. Also taking part in podcasts, online seminars can help to create a bigger network.
  10. be a genius because that is why you are in business! You can ignore all the 9 points above and skip straight to number 10. Brexit is old news and you have everything done to come out bigger and better. However, I do hope that reading this will have helped you to stand still and tick off everything you planned as being done.
  11. Retire and walk the Pacific Crest Trail to rediscover yourself.
Talking about Brexit and business - use the opportunity.
Get help and talk about the opportunities you can take.

Brexit is not the end but only the beginning

At the time of writing this, it is all still very uncertain whether Brexit will actually happen. But if it does with or without a deal, it will be a new beginning and with every new beginning are new opportunities. Yes, it might be bad too, but your competition will find it hard too… Are you going to take this opportunity to adjust or re-invent yourself as a business and take over your competitor’s clients? I think that would be a pretty good move because economies fall and indeed rise again. This assuming that Brexit will have a negative economic impact, which I have trust in the Bank of England who predict this.

Last thing I want to mention is that there is help at hand. As a business, we help many industries succeed online from beer brewers to beauticians and from car rentals to negotiation consultants. The winner is usually the one that shouts the loudest within their own market. Think of the big brands… exactly. I am not your marketing guru on becoming a global brand but I can help find a path in a noisy and crowded online market within a limited budget. Your quality of products and services helps in succeeding but getting your message out there loud and clear is most importantly.

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