Disclaimer: It remains the responsibility of your business to prepare itself for Brexit and to seek its own legal advice wherever in doubt. This article is intended as a general guide only. 

Last updated: 28th October 2020

Who Should Read This?

This article is for businesses who trade with the EU/EEA countries.

When Do We Leave The EU?

The UK leaves the EU on 31st January 2019 at 11pm. Nothing changes regarding your site configuration (e.g. VAT settings) until a trade deal has been concluded on or before 31st December 2020.

What Do I Need To Know In General?

The UK Government site has created an FAQ-style questionnaire which covers a wide-range of topics and gives advice. Visit the Gov.uk site

How Does This Affect CMS Sites? (Non-ecommerce)  

NB No software upgrade is required. 

In general, the main changes you will need to make will relate to the content you publish on the site that relates to services provided to the EU/EEA plus to review/amend your terms and conditions as may be required. Make changes to pages in Page Manager.

How Does This Affect Ecommerce Sites?  

NB No software upgrade is required.

Online retailers will need to make changes to, or review, the following areas effective on the date and time of our leaving:

  • VAT regions
    You will need to remove EU countries from your 'tax zone' in Delivery Manager > View Delivery Regions.
    You can Export your data to change it more quickly then re-import it with the changes.
    NB Test your changes once they've been made.

  • Delivery services and charges policies
    Check and implement changes in delivery & handling costs and timescales in Delivery Manager > View Delivery Services or Add Delivery Services

  • Delivery & Returns policies
    Changes in charges and timescales may need to be changed on pages on your site which explain delivery via Page Manager

  • Charging duty on overseas sales (DDP)
    There is no legal requirement to calculate and charge duties when buyers place orders, and you can continue to process under DDU/DAP (Delivered Duties Unpaid/Delivered At Place). If you wish to pay duties i.e. DDP then this is usually handled through settings with an integrated courier solution. We integrate with UPS, Easyship, Postmen, Parcel Monkey and ShippyPro and you can check the couriers / services each have available to get to the right solution for your business.

  • Explain you are Brexit-ready to reassure buyers
    Consider adding some information to your site to explain how you have prepared for Brexit and any impact this has on buyers so they are re-assured. For example, you could add a Brexit blog post in Blog Manager or create a page on Brexit-readiness in Page Manager. You could also add a message on the bottom of your orders to say you are Brexit-ready and give the web page for them to visit to read more. Change this in Page Manager > select page email_new_order.

  • Terms and conditions
    Changes in how you trade with EU/EEA countries may need to be changed on pages on your site which explain them via Page Manager

Removal Of 'Country Of Origin' Principle (CMS & Ecommerce Sites)

All businesses trading with the EU / EEA are advised to assess the impact of the removal of the 'country of origin' principle and adhering to regulations within each country with which you trade. This could apply to physical and digital products as well as business services. This might impact your terms and conditions which you can change in Page Manager.

Read more on the Gov.uk website.

Affect On Consumer Rights & Dispute Resolution

You will need to keep apprised on how Brexit will affect this dependent upon the final outcome. Read more on the Gov.uk website.

How Does This Affect GDPR?

It does not affect the need to be fully GDPR compliant and it is expected the UK will become a “favoured nation” via an “adequacy decision” on behalf of the EU, which should facilitate the free transfer of data without the need to implement additional safeguards.

NB If you are still struggling to understand or implement GDPR and require assistance, please contact your account manager or support team to schedule us to help you become compliant (charges apply, this usually takes 2-3 hours for us to complete).

7 Things You Can Do To Understand & Mitigate Brexit Affecting Your Sales?

Given the uncertainty and potential for short term disruption to EU sales during Brexit, our advice is to maximise what you can generate from your existing website and to reach out to new markets: 

  • Increase your conversion rate by following our 50+ actionable steps
  • Move to HTTPS so your website starts with https:// and displays the green padlock to reassure buyers
  • Ensure you have a fully responsive website to encourage more purchases from people visiting your site on mobile devices 
  • Check Google Analytics to see how many transactions you do with the EU and what your possible exposure might be
  • Target other international markets especially whenever a new trade deal has been signed
  • Increase your digital marketing efforts and take more share of your existing home market
  • Review your pricing and shipping to ensure you remain competitive within the EU marketplace