For most of us the referendum vote will be the biggest single thing to impact our personal and business lives in the coming years. It has been looming for a few years now and will continue to do so given the events of the last couple of weeks. Meanwhile, negative talk and scare mongering is creating increasing uncertainty for consumers, businesses, our government and the EU itself as no one knows what will actually happen…
Even when we know whether we will leave with or without a deal, we won’t know the real impact on the way we live, work or the way we do business for quite a while - so we have to plan but also be ready to be flexible.
Essentially we have to treat this as another business challenge - its name happens to be Brexit - and as such it will present new opportunities and some problems. The key to success will be to take advantage of the opportunities and minimise the risks just as we would with anything else.
At the Giftware Association, we believe there are 4 even more important words beginning with B that should influence how we approach this year - BOLD BRAVE BRILLIANT BRITISH - so lets look for the opportunities 2019 can bring us.
One of the biggest impacts has been the change in value of sterling against the dollar and the euro. For those importing, the decrease in value of the pound means they are able to buy less for their pounds, but of course the upside is for those exporting (at least in the shorterm), where this change in exchange rates, makes their products more attractive to foreign buyers. Many exhibitors at Spring Fair 2019 commented on how many foreign buyers were visiting looking to buy British goods because they are such good value… And as in 2018 this will apply to tourists this year too. Last year all things Royal encouraged even more visitors and in 2019 we will have another Royal baby, so we may see more Royal interest this year too.
For British manufacturers and retailers, the increase in focus on Buy British and Buy Local products presents an additional sales opportunity with foreign visitors and patriotic Brits. If post Brexit we find products from Europe have import levies applied to them the upside will be that it will make British Made products relatively more affordable. There’s a lot to be optimistic about, so lets remain positive. Hold your nerve and obsess about your customer so they enjoy shopping with you and keep coming back to spend their money with you.