OrderWise marketing consultant Karl Blakesley
Uncertainty, it’s something we’ve all had to deal with since the fated day of the recent EU referendum. Retailers, organisations and traders alike have all had to wait to see what impact it will have directly on the UK economy.
We’ve seen sterling plummet and recover, markets fluctuate wildly and the media get caught up in a somewhat negative way. In reality though, we should be much more optimistic. This could well be a time to capitalise on potential growth with overseas trading.
As the pound has sadly started dropping in value 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. In effect, this drop has meant many manufacturers and businesses exporting goods abroad are now able to sell goods cheaper while continuing to increase profits.
It would be easy to fall into the trap of believing these benefits are limited to just those already selling their products abroad. Think again – online trading is booming and with more consumers being drawn to the ease of shopping over the internet it might be a perfect time to investigate this area of business.
Already, many businesses have moved at least part of their business online in the last few years, selling through their own website as well as ever-popular marketplaces like eBay and Amazon.
It’s a bolder time for business, companies are opening themselves up to a global audience, creating more opportunities to sell products and generate profitability.Even though the benefits of online trading are clear, investment into eCommerce websites and marketplace order management tools may have been deemed too great for businesses to make before Brexit was confirmed. But taking that all-important leap to selling their goods online is now crucial.
With the emergence of a weaker pound comes the fact that companies have now been presented with a golden opportunity to get on the eCommerce trend if they haven’t done so already.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.
Other benefits of moving business online means firms can eliminate uncertainty they may have been harbouring over the future by providing themselves with a stable platform from which they can grow.
Taking a step back, investing in websites and online order processing systems can still present a daunting outlay for a lot of companies. It is vitally importing when choosing a web developer and software partner for their order management that businesses make the right choice.
To keep the processing streamlined, maximise profitability and generate a fast return on any initial investment, there are key things businesses should consider when making their all-important move online.
Firstly, consider multi-currency handling. Businesses looking to make the move online or expand into foreign markets will need to ensure that current systems are set up to effectively manage payments and everyday accounting in multiple currencies. Exchange rates also need to be carefully updated to maximise profitability, with numerous multi-currency price lists likely needing to be kept regularly updated across each channel.Businesses should definitely ensure 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.
Secondly, moving online will probably mean much larger order volumes that need to be processed, 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 make sure this is secured, 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 websites and marketplaces in order to update the same information multiple times.Additionally, businesses should also ensure 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.
Businesses should also carefully consider how websites and marketplaces will integrate with their back end systems. Too often businesses get tied up with implementing what is considered “de rigueur” systems for each aspect of their business, which results in companies working from multiple disconnected databases that don’t communicate effectively. This also means 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 companies should look to simply have one system in place enabling 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, but also ensures company wide information is shared so that orders can be fulfilled faster, problems solved quicker and better customer service provided.
Even though a lot of reports in the aftermath of the EU referendum may seem to be painting a downtrodden and bleak picture for the future, businesses can take heart that Brexit actually presents numerous opportunities for company growth.
By seizing on the weakened pound through investing in online expansion effectively, companies can find themselves fending off the Brexit blues and increasing their sales profitability.