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EDITORIAL Growth through international trading – despite Brexit

Destination Euro-land – even after Brexit (Image: Fotolia)
Destination Euro-land – even after Brexit (Image: Fotolia)

The UK has had its first quarter under Brexit and its true impact has yet to be fully seen – for better or worse – but that isn’t putting off retailers from looking for growth by going cross-border.

A study out this week finds that both UK and EU based etailers are all looking at the opportunities of cross border retail, with many already doing it and looking at how to make more of their international reach.

In fact, already 56% of retailers are selling internationally, with 22% selling across Europe as a whole, 20% selling across selected international borders and 14% selling globally.

The drive is that the consumer demand is there – with much of it coming from an unlikely source: baby boomers. A separate study by eShopWorld of 22,000 consumers from around the world, finds that those aged 57-75 have ramped up their international, cross-border shopping in the past year, giving Gen Z – which lead the cross-border shopping phenomenon – a run for their money.

What they want is very different: boomers want to be serviced in their own language and to pay by card, but on the whole are prepared to spend more than their younger counterparts – who, incidentally, prefer Buy now, pay later.

One company that is exploiting the international market is Glam Wax, a home fragrance firm, has invested in a new premises to handle more stock as it eyes overseas markets as the next logical step in its growth. Founder Christie Stapleton says “I have got some ambitious plans for the business this year which is looking to expand further into the UK market – with either a distributor or national retailer – as well as overseas. Since the move this has already begun to look promising.”

Glam Wax is running its international expansion from its base in Devon, but some retail executives are increasingly concerned that one of the issues that Brexit may foist upon them is that to properly exploit the European market, a local presence is needed.

The research into the cross-border opportunities, also uncovers the challenges, chief among which lie in shipping. More concerning, a separate study of C-level execs finds that 72% say the supply chain will experience the biggest changes from Britain leaving the European Union (EU).

half of the respondents expect Brexit to impact legislative changes; nearly one-third (29%) anticipate changes in documentation and administrative processes; 16% on sales revenue; 11% on market/sector competition; and 10% on hiring permanent staff. Only 5% saw an impact on engaging temporary staff and keeping sustainability, environmental and social value commitments.

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