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Brexit: A challenge that is creating opportunities

By Britney Wells

March 5, 2021 / 0 min read - Last updated: October 20, 2022

The Brexit challenge

If you’re an ecommerce merchant shipping to the EU or UK, Brexit has probably seemed like a dark cloud over your business. Following Brexit, people in the UK that order products online now find themselves paying duty, VAT, and other fees from EU member countries, and vice versa. For example, a customer may order a £10 t-shirt from your website and the carrier could present them with an additional £12 charge upon delivery.

With the new VAT requirements in the UK and EU, coupled with the new customs clearance challenge between the EU and UK, who could blame you?

But as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining, and Zonos wants to bring to your attention:
The Brexit Opportunity

The Brexit opportunity

For merchants outside of the EU or UK

If you’re a merchant outside of the EU or UK, you’ve probably already had experience with the hassle of customs clearance if you export to these places; so how is Brexit an opportunity for you?

The playing field is leveled now. You can compete with EU and UK ecommerce merchants because now consumers have less reason to limit their shopping to EU or UK-based companies. There is already an expectation for duty and tax charges on shipments entering the UK and EU from the rest of the world.

The new duty and tax charges for shipments between the EU and UK are unexpected for consumers, and many UK and EU merchants are not prepared; therefore, many of these shipments are being delayed and returned due to customers experiencing unexpected fees. This is your opportunity to capitalize on this confusion and chaos by providing clarity for your customers in the EU and UK.

Here’s a bonus: You are not subject to the £4.50 Brexit surcharge that applies to shipments between the EU and UK. This is your chance to be competitive in the EU and UK ecommerce market.

For merchants in the EU or UK 

Yes, most merchants with orders going between the UK and EU are viewing Brexit and the restrictions that come with it as a hurdle, but it doesn’t have to be. You can use this as an opportunity to elevate your business as a top player in international ecommerce by providing a seamless shopping experience for your customers,  minimizing the confusion and hassle of the new clearance charges that your shipments may incur. Allowing your customers to see a total landed cost at checkout and the ability to prepay those fees means better transparency. This means you can instill trust in your business and avoid abandoned packages and order returns due to unexpected charges to customers who refuse to pay them.

Being prepared will give you a chance to build your company’s reputation, avoid confusion with your customers, and therefore have an advantage over your competitors by providing a frictionless customer experience. 

Your chance to shine

Picture this: An EU consumer who has been experiencing these “surprise” charges after ordering products from a UK-based merchant finds your Brexit-ready website. They order a product from you (UK → EU shipment) and are able to see all of the charges accurately calculated and ready to be paid at checkout. You’re now a top player in the post-Brexit global trade world!

Avoid media drama!

While the new clearance charges are out of your control, providing clarity for your consumers can help avoid your business’ name being involved with Brexit media drama as displayed in the real headlines below.

Notice from the images that “one-third of UK shoppers stop buying EU exports since Brexit.” Where is that one-third of shopping now?

Whether you’re a merchant outside or within the EU or UK, now is the time to seize the Brexit opportunity and be a safe haven for those displaced shoppers.

How can I get my business Brexit-ready?

The process of preparing your business as a top, post-Brexit ecommerce player may seem daunting with tax registration, duty and tax calculations, collection, and remittance; however, this process can be simple and seamless. Here’s how…

Why Zonos?

Non-resident VAT GST ICMS ecommerce tax management

Zonos Landed Cost will calculate import duty, taxes and carrier fees, with the ability to prepay them from within your platform or checkout, providing a seamless cross-border experience for your customers.

Any merchant currently using Zonos International Checkout or Landed Cost can sign up for our Landed Cost Guarantee. Zonos stays on top of the non-resident country taxation for Landed Cost Guarantee customers by tracking country thresholds and collecting taxes for you only when the threshold is met, so you never over-or-under collect on taxes.  We also register with each needed country, remit owed taxes, provide you with reporting and much more!

Contact Zonos support and cross-border experts to learn more about which services are best for you. For Brexit-related questions, email brexit@zonos.com

Zonos International Compliance


Britney Wells
Britney Wells

A love of bringing words together to create clear, simple messages about complex topics has driven me to pursue a career in professional writing. As the Content Manager at Zonos, I find excitement and purpose in decoding the complex details of cross-border ecommerce.

Cross Border, Duties and Taxes, Global Trade Compliance,