Brexit is finally upon us and it has been a little chaotic. Like nearly everyone in Ireland we were cheering for No Brexit or if we had to have Brexit a comprehensive no red tape trade deal. Well that didn’t happen.
What we ended up with is the thinnest of trade deals that leaves nearly everyone confused.
Look I’m in the business of selling and shipping sex toys online. I should know what it will cost if I ship a €129.95 Doxy to a UK customer, but to be honest I really don’t.
Brexit is an absolute mess. We have thousands of euros worth of stock stuck in limbo between Europe and Ireland. Our business suppliers based in the UK like Amazon.co.uk are now a totally unknown entity so we’ve stopped ordering from them for now.
Worst of all the Customs Declarations and red tape involved in shipping UK orders has made us reconsider UK customers.
Can Ireland Snatch a Brexit Dividend?
But this is also a great time to reassess our suppliers. We have been pleasantly surprised with the suppliers available in Ireland. I know we preach the #BuyIrish mantra ourselves but in our experience for office supplies the UK websites have just historically been cheaper. But it is no longer the case.
Due to the little push Brexit has given us, we now get Shop Supplies from Barry Packaging in Cork, Shipping Supplies from Macfarlane in Wicklow, Office Supplies from Dunnes & OfficeSpot etc. This is great because it’s super quick and no hassle. Prices are no dearer and we are supporting Irish. Irish companies have flooded online and they are competing aggressively with the newly hamstrung UK suppliers. This is a winning formula once Irish websites stay price competitive while continuing to offer great local support and fast free shipping this Brexit will be (IMHO) a huge boon to small Irish businesses up and down the country that do this right. The returns issue alone now should be enough to make any Irish consumer think twice of purchasing from the UK.
In every game there are winners and losers. I believe Ireland can be a big winner in the Brexit game especially small business. For years the huge UK websites have gobbled up the bulk of Irish online retail and forced thousands of Irish businesses to the wall. But now if we compete on price aggressively we hold all the advantages in the Irish market. We have EU backed returns, easy shipping, no customs surprises in price, local friendly support, no customs declarations and guaranteed EU consumer protections.
It really should be a win win but a final word of warning for Irish business. Don’t take Irish customers for granted like a load of businesses in the past. Irish consumers deserve the best prices, service and products and there is no reason to not deliver. Take them for granted and you deserve to fail.
Shipping to English Customers Dilemma
First off for Northern Irish customers there is no change. For trade purposes it is as if the North never left the EU.
We tried at the start of January, shipping as normal to UK customers but the customs declaration is a serious hindrance as you can imagine for our products. Customers do not want to have printed on the front of the box what they are buying also the tax rules are complex. So we made the decision to pause all mainland UK orders until we can figure out exactly what to charge and how much if any costs the end UK customer will have. At the moment it really is a total blind sale so we’ll just pause it for now.