If you trade exclusively within the UK, the cost of supplies and materials you import from the continent will matter most. Importing goods onto the British Isles will become more costly because of customs procedures, increased haulage costs: fuel, personnel etc.
If your customers are also in mainland Europe, the factors above also apply in the opposite direction and the cost of doing business ticks up. Bear in mind the Republic of Ireland remains an EU territory with the unique property of sharing a land border with the UK.
What if your customers are exclusively in Europe? Notwithstanding import/export costs, cross-border litigation and the jurisdiction of British courts will become more complicated.
GDPR rules post 31 January 2020 are largely the same. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR 2018) now has a UK equivalent and a counterpart: the Data Protection Act (DPA 2018). Two great resources on data and data privacy are listed below, from the ICO and DPO Centre.
Import duties and VAT on goods entering the UK face a raft of changes. All goods entering the UK for sale, are now vatable.
All imports are now subject to VAT. The £15 VAT exemption threshold (Low-Value Consignment Stock or LVCS) no longer applies. Imports costing less than £135 are now subject to sales (supply) VAT. Imports above £135 are subject to VAT and customs as they were before 1 January 2021.
Alvara.com is a great resource for more (link below).
New customs and compliance checks = delays.
Some goods must now pass inspection on both sides of the UK-EU border. Paperwork for goods crossing UK-EU borders will increase processing time and costs.
Such delays are acutely problematic for perishable goods, and increased import/export costs will reduce profit margins.
Freight forwarding companies reduce the complexities of shipping across territories. The customs regulations, requirements procedures governing import & export are their daily bread. Sage Advice has published an excellent article on this, link below.
The end of 'free movement of goods' means the start of more documentation and forms for customs declaration. This layer of red tape is another potential pitfall. The good news is there are some excellent guides on how this filing should be done. SendCloud has a customs form generator that can help.
Good software will save you time and money, reduce mistakes, and increase productivity. Committing to a CRM or bespoke software system is often an expensive proposition in the short term. However, the benefits are often sustained over the long-term and can be maintained by adapting to and scaling with your business.
Lynton Black Media is helping business transform and grow, with highly bespoke software and design consultancy.
If the new UK-EU trading relationship affects your business, we can help. From CRM & back-office to eCommerce and design. If you're growing your retail platform, we'd love to help.
eCommerce news, last updated 21 January 2021.