It's been just over a year since the UK's exit from the European Union. European e-tailers have faced new challenges and many questions about shipping after Brexit.
The UK market is the fastest-growing e-marketplace, so it's essential to understand the rules to keep sales and shipments moving smoothly to the UK. Keeping up with the new – and changing – rules for UK customs clearance isn't easy either. Seven Senders and MS Direct have the solution, called Beyond Borders, and together they have been helping online retailers manage the new rules for UK sales and e-commerce shipping.
Dr. Johannes Plehn, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Seven Senders, and Peter Egger, Head of Sales Commerce for MS Direct AG, lead the partnership solving these issues for e-retailers. As they share in this exclusive interview, to develop the right solution, their companies focused on understanding three major issues and managing them for EU retailers:
What are the implications of Brexit for European e-commerce?
According to Johannes Plehn, although discussion regarding Brexit had been happening for some time, January 2021 left businesses without specific direction on how delivery to or from the UK would work. Processes have become clear over the last year, and solutions have been developed, but it has not been simple.
"To address the complexities, you need solutions to classify parcels correctly. You need solutions to get the parcels to the UK or from the UK to the European markets," Plehn said.
Peter Egger of MS Direct said customer expectations also need to be met. "Customers in England still expect that their parcels will be delivered quickly and duty and VAT will be adjusted by the local carrier. This requires very accurate data and a good solution with a performing carrier."
What are the most important things to consider now when shipping to the UK?
Plehn said there are three main challenges. The first is shipping itself. "The market in the UK is very competitive, especially when it comes to the last mile. There are several good shipping companies that are familiar to customers and that are known for ensuring fast delivery and delivery with good service."
Declarations for UK customs clearance make up the next challenge. Egger explained how compliance with all requirements helps keep your goods moving.
"You need appropriate documentation because now that the UK has separated from the European Union, additional documentation is required that declares what the items are, what was imported, and when. This requires all retailers to have excellent data regarding tariff numbers, values, and countries of origin. Without that information, there can be delays and interruptions in the supply chain. You certainly need carriers who know precisely how the process works," Egger said.
"Thirdly, retailers need to have a good returns strategy so that the end customers in the UK can return the packages easily with a local carrier within the UK and get their money back quickly," Plehn said.
What is the advantage of the solution by Seven Senders and MS Direct?
"One advantage to working with a partner is that we know the market very well. We have established relationships with providers in the UK, and we know which carriers we need to use based on the particular package volume and needs of our customers. We can offer options concerning speed and price of service for the last mile. The other advantage is our declaration solution with our partner MS Direct."
"We have third country experience due to our experience working with Switzerland initially and now with the UK. We know how declarations processes work in detail," said Egger.
The partnership between Seven Senders and MS Direct, Beyond Borders, offers a lot of benefits to online retailers. As shipping volumes change, the service can be adjusted. Another major benefit is the returns solution that Plehn says works in combination with the declarations solution.
According to Egger, "Having local relationships and the required established partners in the UK offers another significant added value since we can offer the end customer in England the convenience of having the parcel cleared, VAT adjusted and delivered to their door by a local carrier. We also take care of the returns locally in England so that the parcels are returned cleanly to the EU. This provides a simple, seamless process for the customer, and discharge happens quickly after returns are made."
Plehn and Egger say the partnership works for EU online retailers because Seven Senders takes care of the logistics processes from goods dispatch to the UK customer's front door, and MS Direct is responsible for export and import issues, customs clearance, and returns management.
By bundling shipments, having legal representation in the UK, using direct injection strategies, tracking, labeling, and reliable data management, the Beyond Borders solution takes care of the details for retailers that need to ship to the UK.
Watch the video below and learn how we can help you continue to get your goods to your customers in the UK reliably and quickly. Or head on over to read another blog article with more useful tips on cross-border shipping post-Brexit.