In the myriad of news about Brexit and what this means for the retail industry there’s only one way to describe the outlook of this major event: confusing.
There’s no template for how retailers and their suppliers should change in response to Brexit. Information about what it means is limited, and opinions are fast-changing and increasingly contradictory. But that doesn’t mean companies shouldn’t start the work required to come up with a plan.
We’re noticing that many retailers are falling into three serious traps when it comes to planning for Brexit:
They’re taking a wait-and-see mode until they feel confident that they have enough information to prepare their businesses for the post-Brexit environment.
They’re setting targets using historical data that may be irrelevant; and
They’re failing to take into account the Brexit spillover effects (for example, on currencies, regulations, and cost increases) that will impact different parts of their businesses.
There are various challenges to consider: higher prices from additional taxes and tariffs on goods, inefficiencies in supply chains heavily integrated with the EU, and even the emotional factors in terms of consumer confidence and business certainty.
In other words, Brexit will make retail operations more complex and potentially more expensive.
So what can retailers do in light of all the uncertainty? How agile are they to respond to the issues and the opportunities arising from this deal?
The empowerment of people in the supply chain to make smart data-driven decisions is key. To do this, organizations need to ensure the people involved have easy access to information and can efficiently communicate with each other.
The UK will exit the European Union on March 29, 2019. Only a minority of firms is well ahead in planning and preparing a strategy.
The time to act is now.