The UK withdrew from the EU at midnight, on the 31st January 2020. The shipping issues that have arisen as the result of Brexit include hold ups in the supply chain, such as delays from the warehouse to retailer, and retailer to customer. Acquiring goods from companies outside of the EU has been disrupted, whilst it’s taken some time for retailers to adjust to the new rules and changes. Although it now feels as though the cost of living crisis has taken center stage, the ramifications of Brexit continue to impact delivery and ecommerce in the background. As prices increase we’re seeing a pressure on spending. With this, it’s vital that retailers get delivery right, despite economic challenges.
Stock acquisition has been particularly difficult for retailers, with the cost of using shipping containers increasing ten-fold in some cases. This has created huge problems for shipping carriers and shipping solution providers, who have had to adapt in order to overcome such issues. Stock has been held up outside the country, delayed in customs, or sent through multiple processes. This has left those online ‘shelves’ looking a little sparse, as customers are often struggling to find the items they want online. According to IMRG’s digital dashboard, the ABV has increased, as customers are buying the stock where and when they can get it, regardless of price and a global squeeze on spend.
Shipping Issues and Customs
The shipping issues that have arisen as the result of Brexit include hold ups in the supply chain, such as delays from the warehouse to retailer, and retailer to customer. Getting goods from companies outside of the EU has been disrupted, whilst it’s taken some time for retailers to adjust to the new rules and changes.
Post-Brexit, there have been many delays at customs, as retailers need to abide by stricter customs rules which means that some products are restricted or even banned. Because of this, there have been increased waiting times. Shipping solution providers need to work hard to ensure all their products have the correct customs declaration forms to allow goods across the border smoothly.
Brexit and Incoterms
Incoterms ‘provide a common language for retailers to use, which define trade when operating across customs borders. This helps bridge the gap between cross-border commerce. They are 11 rules which help define who is responsible for a shipment, throughout its international journey crossing customs borders.’ Read our blog on incoterms if you want to learn more.
The incoterms for goods have now changed, as shipping from the UK to Europe is now from outside the EU, into it, as opposed to just EU-to-EU shipping as it was before. Retailers need to understand how this may impact their codes, in order to decide who is responsible for the cost of shipping and insurance from the start of the journey to the end.
EU law protect shoppers in the EU’s right to return a product within the 14 day ‘cooling off period’. But it’s not mandatory to offer returns to products shipped outside of the EU. This may make it seem as though UK sellers are now outside of this law, but the official GOV website dictates that online retailers must ‘offer a refund to customers if they’ve told you within 14 days of receiving their goods that they want to cancel. They have another 14 days to return the goods once they’ve told you.’ *
To conclude, there are many ways that Brexit has, and will continue to, impact UK retailers, or those doing business with, or in, the UK. So long as retailers have considered mitigating the impacts on stock acquisition, filling out the correct customs forms, updating incoterms, and abiding by UK returns laws, then they’re given the best chance of thriving in a post-Brexit Britain.