On the 23rd June 2016, Britain voted to leave the European Union (EU).
Whether you agree with the decision or not, change is inevitable, albeit it’s unclear how things will change.
Whilst how and when the UK leaves is still undecided, what is certain is that it will impact both your business and your website.
Devaluation of the Pound
A devalued pound can potentially make goods and services more competitively priced outside of the UK, especially with digital or content-based goods that don’t require shipping fees, such as e-learning content and software.
Conversely, if e-commerce sites ship products from Europe to customer/manufacturer, this can have an adverse effect, resulting in increased purchase and shipping costs. In turn, this could potentially mean pricing on UK sites being less competitive.
Distance Selling Regulations/Consumer Contracts Regulations
On the 13th June 2014 Consumer Contracts Regulations replaced the previous Distance Selling Regulations under directive DIRECTIVE 2011/83/EU.
The legislation affected all 28 member states and aimed to update and improve on the previous Distance Selling Regulations in respect of contracts negotiated away from business premises.
Some of the updates included:
- Better refund rights
- Banning pre-ticked boxes on websites
- Eliminating hidden charges and costs on the internet
- Clearer information on who pays for returning goods
- Eliminating surcharges for the use of credit cards and hotlines
Whilst it’s unclear whether this will change for UK businesses, it’s not inconceivable that the UK could derive their own adapted version of the current EU regulations that are currently in place.
It’s likely that when we leave, UK businesses will see a large hike in the amount that is charged for shipping. In turn, this could result in a decrease of trade from consumers in the European Union, who were used to minimal shipping prices in the first instance.
Similarly, if e-commerce sites ship products from Europe to customer/manufacturer and then sell on, import prices of materials and products could increase. This, in turn, could reduce the number of sales we see on e-commerce websites.
Unless you’ve been living on a remote island for the last year, at the very least you’d have heard of GDPR, which came into effect on the 25th May 2018. If you’re not familiar with the General Data Protection Act This will bring you up to speed
Whilst the introduction of GDPR undoubtedly impacted businesses, and will continue to do so for some time, it’s entirely possible that the UK may, in time, adopt different legislation in this area, meaning it could be all change again!
Digital Single Market
The Digital Single Market is a strategy of the European Commission to ensure access to online activities for individuals and businesses under conditions of fair competition, consumer and data protection, removing geo-blocking and copyright issues.
It’s not clear to see how and when this might impact UK websites at this stage, however it’s possible there could be mid to long-term changes as a result of Brexit.
Some of the objectives of the Digital Single Market are:
- New rules to stop unjustified geo-blocking, which will be effective from the 3rd December 2018
- Revised consumer protection rules that will enter into force in 2020
- New VAT rules for online sales of goods and services that will enter into force in 2021
.eu domain names
Once, buying a .eu domain was a typical choice for website owners looking to adopt a broader European market, and with them being simple to register from within the UK it’s easy to see why.
Already, we’re starting to see notices like this from well known UK hosting companies, in this case Heart Internet.
If you use a .eu domain name, get in touch, we can help.