Spoiler alert, Britain opted out – you’ve probably heard. Wasting no time, we asked our resident ecommerce expert what impact it might have for online retailers and their EU customers.
VAT would be replaced by import duty, and it remains to be seen how that would pan out. EU customers have become accustomed to seeing one comprehensive price, so anyone trading with EU customers might need to seriously consider sending shipments Duty Paid (DDP).
On the plus side, it should be one rate of duty for the whole EU block, so it should be simple enough to overcome on-site. It would, however, require a shipping provider who offers a DDP service. Fortunately, most do.
Duty rates tend to vary by product, even down to the materials used in their construction. This could require product-level rates. A service such as dutycalculator.com takes the sting out of this task, but it can still be time-consuming and costs can escalate quickly if DDP is offered globally.
One practical consideration is that sending shipments for export requires additional data, such as country of manufacture, HS Code (the key to calculating the duty rate) and so on. Anyone shipping internationally should be used to this already, but it could be a leap for customers who only trade within the EU.
In short – nothing major, unless import duties and trade negotiations become punitive.
Are you an online retailer? What do you think the impact will be?