Since the EU referendum on the 23rd June, the business world has been left in a state of uncertainty as retailers, traders and organisations await to see what kind of impact Brexit will have on the UK economy. As companies have watched stock markets begin to rapidly fluctuate and sterling plummet to its lowest value against the dollar since the mid-1980s, they along with the media have for the most part been anticipating quite a negative outlook for the coming years ahead following the initial fallout. However in reality, what these short term economic impacts provide to businesses is actually the opportunity for potential growth.
This is because with the pound dropping in value as it has been since the referendum result, buyers abroad can now in effect buy the same quantity of goods from the UK for less, making British suppliers more appealing to foreign importers and consumers. Therefore because of this drop, any manufacturers or businesses exporting their goods abroad are actually able to sell their goods cheaper and still increase their profits. However if companies believe these benefits are limited to just those already selling their products abroad then they are mistaken.
Online trading is booming, with more and more consumers being drawn to the convenience of doing their shopping over the internet by the day. With this being the case, many businesses have moved at least a portion of their business online in recent years, selling through their own website as well as popular marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. In doing so, companies are opening themselves up to a global audience, creating more opportunities to sell their products and generate profitability. Although the benefits of online trading are clear, the investment into eCommerce websites, marketplace order management tools or indeed both may have previously been deemed too great for businesses to make that all important leap to selling their goods online.
Make The Most Of Brexit With Online Expansion
Into New Foreign Markets
However with the emergence of the weaker pound, companies have now been presented with a golden opportunity to finally start using web shops and marketplaces if they haven’t already so that they can capitalise on new markets abroad. If businesses can use these online channels to their sales advantage, they can benefit from competitive exports into new foreign markets that can more than cover any negative impact on their domestic sales caused by Brexit. Additionally by making the move online, companies can remove any uncertainty they have over the future by providing themselves with a stable platform from which they can grow the business.
That said, investing in websites and online order processing systems can still require an outlay for a lot of companies, therefore it is vitally importing when choosing a web developer and software partner for their order management that businesses choose the right solution. Therefore in order to keep processing streamlined, maximise profitability and generate a fast return on any initial investment, there are a number of key things businesses should consider when making their all-important move online.
The first thing businesses should obviously think about is multi-currency handling. Businesses looking to make the move online or expand into foreign markets following Brexit will need to firstly ensure their current systems are set up to effectively manage payments and everyday accounting in multiple different currencies. Exchange rates also need to be carefully updated to maximise and monitor profitability, with numerous multi-currency price lists likely needing to be kept regularly updated across each channel too. Therefore businesses should ensure that they have the tools to manage trading on these new markets in place by getting in the IT infrastructure that supports multi-currency trading from start to finish and also helps to automate price update management.
Implement The Facilities To Effectively Manage Larger Order Volumes
Secondly, moving into online trading will likely mean that they will suddenly have much larger order volumes that they need to process, especially if businesses decide to launch on multiple websites and marketplaces. With this being the case, staff time becomes much more valuable and therefore needs to be spent on accurately fulfilling orders rather than manual data input. To achieve this, companies should look at systems that bring their sales channels together, both online and offline, so that they don’t have to rely on staff logging into numerous website and marketplace back ends in order to update the same information multiple times.
Additionally businesses should also ensure that this multi-channel solution that they choose is integrated to their international couriers of choice so that further rekeying of data can be carefully avoided. By having a solution that provides the ability to effectively manage multi-channel trading with accurate, streamlined fulfilment of the orders coming from these channels too, businesses can make their venture into online sales a successful one.
Lastly but most importantly, businesses should carefully consider how their websites and marketplaces will integrate with their back end systems. Too often businesses get tied up with implementing what they consider “best of breed” systems for each aspect of their business, which results in companies working from multiple disconnected databases that don’t communicate and paying a fortune on annual license fees for software that they never own.
Cost savings are going to be the key to prosperity in a post-Brexit environment and therefore companies should look to simply have one system in place that enables them to manage all the business operations from their front end website to back end accounts. This not only enables them to keep costs down by avoiding the need to pay year-on-year for multiple software systems and support packages, but also ensures that companywide information is shared so that orders can be fulfilled faster, problems solved faster and better customer service provided.
So although most reports in the aftermath of the EU referendum may seem to be painting a pretty gloomy picture for the future, businesses can take great solace in the fact that, if their product market is flexible enough, Brexit actually presents numerous opportunities for company growth. By capitalising on the weakened pound through investing in online expansion into foreign markets and the systems needed to handle this new endeavour effectively, companies can find themselves fending off the Brexit blues and increasing their sales profitability.
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