Brexit and how it affects our business and our non-UK customers
As the UK approaches Brexit on March 29th 2019 it is only natural that our EU customers should start to question how this transition to the UK leaving the EU will affect our trade, in particular to EU countries, but also to countries already closely tied in trade with the EU such as Switzerland and Norway and this will become especially important very soon if we end up leaving without any transitional arrangement.
Firstly We’d like to reassure all our non-UK customers whether currently within the EU or not that we very much value their custom and will be doing everything we can to ensure we make the experience of trading with The Soap Kitchen as easy and burden-free as possible whatever happens, but because, at this time of writing, we are unaware of how the UK will leave the EU, the precise plans we need to make are not yet clear.
The most important challenges for us are:-
- To maintain our direct eCommerce connection within the EU which includes us keeping our .eu domain to ensure our website remains highly visible to all our European customers and potential customers going forward.
- To minimise any negative effects of us leaving the customs union such as the imposition of local VAT and duty on the value of the shipments to our customers and any delays that might be experienced though there being required checks at customs borders.
So… what are we currently doing to prepare for these possible problems?
- To ensure that whatever happens with regard to the future ownership of .eu domains we retain ownership of our own, we have already established a company within the EU. Currently this company is not trading but is purely to ensure that ownership of our .eu domain and any other future domains we might purchase for EU countries can remain owned by ourselves within the EU, allowing uninterrupted search-ability of our website from EU countries.
- We have started planning the process of building a parallel website to be hosted purely for the benefit our EU customers. This website will use our .eu URL, price and sell in Euros and will be able to display specific offers and incentives based on geographic location so can be customised to adapt to new trading arrangements within the EU even down to specific countries should this be required.
It is clear that until the UK finally decides how it leaves the EU, no final plans can be implemented, so this remains a fluid situation. Our international shipping partners have a vested interest in maintaining and growing their business post-Brexit and are planning various strategies to help minimise the effect of taxes and tariffs on goods shipped from the UK to the EU in future. It is important to realise that we already trade with many non-EU countries where many and varied arrangements exist to facilitate trade, so this experience in shipping goods around the world to many countries will be extended to the EU once we are fully aware of our future trading relationship and our shipping partners will work with us to smooth future trading practices and ensure hassle-free transactions in future.
Written by Richard Phillips, director of The Soap Kitchen