How Brexit (and personalization) can actually help UK retailers

By Simon Farthing

August 3, 2016

To say that it’s been a big summer in UK politics this year would be an understatement. I recently visited Monetate HQ just outside Philadelphia this week, and it’s amazing to me how many colleagues, taxi drivers, bartenders, and baristas asked me about Brexit. The UK’s decision to leave the European Union is a truly global event. Like everything in politics (and in life), there are clear winners and losers. While we’re waiting for the dust to settle, I’d like to share some urgent and immediate Brexit-related opportunities for retailers who do business in the UK.

The big currency story

The fall of the British pound against the dollar means that the same cup of coffee I’m drinking here in the Philadelphia airport cost me about 15% more than it did a year ago. The fall in the value of the pound works both ways. If you’re a UK retailer that ships overseas, your international customers may find their money now goes a lot further. So what can you do about it?

First, understand the opportunity. A quick review of recent transactions will reveal your key overseas markets. Once you understand your audience, then prioritize your messaging based on the biggest opportunities and the biggest swings in currency. Since the referendum result on June 23, the British pound is down 11% vs. the U.S. dollar; 9.5% vs. the euro; 11% vs. the Australian dollar; 6% vs. the Canadian dollar; 10% vs. the Chinese yuan; 7% vs. the Russian ruble.

Brexit currency fluctuations

Perhaps you could create custom geographic targets, and promote the currency cost-savings to shoppers from those countries in which the pound’s fall in value results in less expensive goods. This is a great use-case for geography-based targeting, since you wouldn’t want to promote the more favorable exchange rate to shoppers who won’t benefit from this difference.

Personalize your currency promotions

Tailor your messaging to new and returning customers. For seasoned international shoppers who have purchased from your site before, promote the potential exchange rate benefit. The message for them might be, “don’t miss out on this great exchange rate.”

For new visitors, the exchange rate is a key message, but don’t forget to remind them about your other key decision influencers (i.e. your shipping and returns policy) to give those customers confidence.

Test your hunches

Testing is a great way to figure out which incentives maximize the potential currency opportunity. No one knows what will happen next in the political world, let alone how long the pound will track at its current value. Now’s the time to test incentives, particularly to drive up average order values for international customers looking to fill their shopping carts while currency rates are favorable.

Conclusion

When you combine the business benefits of global events with an agile, location-aware personalization strategy, you’re matching your unique strengths to an opening in the marketplace. Don’t miss this opportunity to give your customers a personalized, relevant, and rewarding experience that drives extra value for your business.

Simon Farthing is a senior strategist with experience constructing digital and data driven success for a range of major brands. He's the Director of Strategy & Insight EMEA for Monetate. He provides expert advice to leading ecommerce brands and helps them drive growth and learn more about their customers.

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