Could Scottish Independence Affect eCommerce retailers?

It has been almost impossible to miss the barrage of news on Scottish independence. Although much like Billy Connolly, Sir Alex Ferguson, Annie Lennox, Andy Murray and Shrek many of us cannot vote because we don’t live in Scotland (or in Shrek’s case fictitious), but we should care as the decision will still have implications on your business.

So… Could Scottish Independence Affect eCommerce retailers? Here’s a very brief look how:

Shipping Costs

Some carriers and Royal Mail will have to look at whether they will charge more to deliver to Scotland. At the moment they charge the same or just add a surcharge for the Highlands. If there was to be a yes vote it would be interesting to see whether this would change. Would there be a separate rate for England and Wales and then another for Scotland. How many eCommerce businesses will just absorb these costs and how many will just pass them straight on to the customer? If you are based in England will your Scottish clients be prepared to pay more for delivery?

Delivery Times

This is an interesting one. Some people believe that if Scotland did become independent sending cross border would take 3-5 working days rather than 1-2. Others suggest that increased competition would mean that it would stay relatively the same. This could have big implications. Many eCommerce businesses are trying to reduce delivery times to hours rather than days and a vote for independence may make this more complicated.

Currency

A debate in its own right and could probably be argued for all of time. However, if Scotland did end up having a separate currency this would be massive headache for almost all eCommerce businesses. Going through all of your sales channels and making sure that all your back end systems can cope with this could be a time consuming money pit.

Movement of Goods

In the long run there could be the potential for goods to be protected and may be duty to pay certain products to import. Unlikely to happen but possible.

Overheads

The theory is that if Scotland did become independent Scotland will benefit from a greater share of Oil and Gas revenues currently distributed between the whole UK. If Scotland go it alone will they charge more for exporting this energy and overheads increase as a result.

At the moment there are lots of if’s and buts, however its worth considering that if there is a “Yes” vote then considering the above and being well prepared could put you ahead of the competition.