How This Year Will Be Different
This year will certainly not see the scenes of previous years of packed shops and high streets. Instead, 2020’s trend of people looking towards e-commerce looks likely to continue. The annual study from Deloitte Insights predicts that online sales are likely to grow 14-18%, with nearly two-thirds of customers planning to shop at online retailers. But with the UK currently in lockdown, and other countries still enforcing restrictions, you can expect these projections to be exceeded comfortably.
It is expected that Brits will spend £6 billion over the sales period this year, an increase on last years’ £5.6 billion. Similar growth is expected all over the world, as this year has seen more and more consumers partake in online shopping. We have already seen this in action on Alibaba’s Singles’ Day, as it has been reported that over $75 billion worth of sales took place this week – an increase of 26% from last year.
How You Can Prepare
Due to the exceptional demand that is to be expected, all vendors should ensure that their websites are capable of handling the increased amount of traffic. This means checking your servers are capable, but also making sure that your software is able to present any deals or bundles you may be offering.
It is also important that you do the same for the mobile versions of your sites. Mobile phones have established themselves as the primary device for consumers to access the products on offer over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. In 2019 over two-thirds of consumers made their purchases using their mobiles.
On top of this, it would obviously be wise to ensure that your inventory is prepared for the increase of demand. You should ensure that all your most popular products are well stocked and that your delivery methods are established well in advance.
This approach has already been taken by industry leaders as 93% of retailers have already taken steps to improve their digital shopping capacity, and 50% have enhanced their website or e-commerce proposition.
Don’t Forget Tax
Bearing in mind that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are global events, you may receive orders from a variety of destinations. For example, in the US nearly all states can now tax foreign sellers. A lot of these states operate on a tax threshold of $100,000 or 200 products, whichever comes first. Thus, keeping a record of how much your selling and where is paramount in this period.
If you are a UK-based business and you are going to be exporting goods into the EU, HMRC says that UK VAT should be charged up until the value of your sales exceed the distant selling threshold in that particular country for this calendar year.
Furthermore, the guidance from HMRC states that all distance sales that were made to a non-taxable person should be reported on an Intrastat Supplementary Declaration form if your company trades above the UK Intrastat threshold.
Cross-border sellers should make sure to bear this information in mind, as sales are expected to rise exponentially over the coming weeks.
Conclusion – Check Your Software And Your Sales Thresholds
This sales weekend is likely to be the biggest ever, especially with companies starting their sales earlier this year, so don’t be surprised if the sales exceed the current projections. Business owners would do well to ensure that all versions of their sites are at full capacity, and that all information on any third-party selling platforms is up to date.
Here at J & P Accountants, we understand that the prospect of trying to comply with all those tax regulations can be daunting. But that’s where we come in.
If you are a business who participates in cross border e-commerce, we would be more than happy to help you register for VAT, file your VAT returns, and help you comply with VAT in case your account faces any issues. At J&P, helping your business is our passion, and we understand that companies across the UK are at risk now more than ever. We are here to support you through the Coronavirus crisis and the busy festive period, so please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0161 637 1080 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org