Polish companies, particularly small and medium-sized e-commerce businesses, were offered valuable insights and guidance on navigating the UK e-commerce landscape during a webinar hosted by the BPCC on 6 March 2024. The event addressed the challenges and opportunities presented by Brexit for Polish businesses exporting to the UK.

While the UK remains a lucrative market, with online sales reaching £135 billion (689 billion złotys) in 2023, accounting for 27% of total retail spend, Brexit has created additional complexities for cross-border B2C trade. The introduction of the UK government’s Border Target Operating Model means phytosanitary and veterinary border checks will start at the end of next month. However, this situation creates new opportunities for Polish exporters as many EU businesses are withdrawing from the UK market due to these Brexit-related barriers. Polish firms have a unique opportunity to fill the gap and find new customers, but they need to cover come three areas of difficulty – logistics, taxation and duties, and finally marketing – knowing how to reach into the mindset of the British consumer.

Expert-led sessions:

The webinar featured presentations from industry experts who addressed key concerns for Polish businesses:

  • Logistics: Marcel Piątkowski, Monika Plewka and Michał Kędzierewicz of ACP Global Forwarding and Artur Kaczor of DPD shed light on the most effective logistics solutions for e-commerce in the post-Brexit environment, considering sales via a UK fulfilment centre and goods dispatched from Poland directly to the UK consumer. They considered the pros and cons of working with an e-commerce platform, and the new duties falling on exporters since the UK left the single European market and Customs Union.
  • Taxation: Agnieszka Kisielewska from law firm MDDP and Izabela Suchomska from its UK partner, Nyman Libson Paul provided insights on navigating VAT and customs duties for B2C transactions with UK consumers, discussing practicalities such as registering with HMRC and obtaining country-of-origin certificates.
  • Marketing: Elżbieta Pełka, owner of Pełka i Partnerzy, offered valuable advice on the British online retail market from a marketing perspective, presenting the latest e-commerce trends in the UK. She drew attention to the relative wealth and sophistication of UK online shoppers, the importance of user-generated content in marketing, and the role of the smartphone as a tool for making online purchases.

There was time for Q&A with participants and presenters, looking at issues such as cabotage within the UK, Polish VAT invoices, packaging and returns.

This webinar provided Polish businesses with a comprehensive and fact-based overview of the current landscape, together with valuable tips and strategies to navigate the lucrative UK e-commerce market effectively in the post-Brexit era. The recording of the event is available for viewing (click here to watch on YouTube).