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Brits will abandon shopping carts if tax and shipping fees too high

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  • Two-thirds of British shoppers admitted they would abandon their online shopping baskets if they felt the tax and shipping fees were too high, and half of consumers revealed they would not be willing to spend anything on additional custom charges
  • Cash-conscious Brits have revealed they are unwilling to open their wallets when it comes to customs and shipping fees
  • Even guaranteeing festive deliveries isn’t enough to influence shoppers, as only 1 in 5 would be willing to pay almost any customs excess to ensure their delivery arrived in time 

New research from Avalara, Inc. finds that British consumers are not only unwilling to spend on customs fees and shipping costs, but are willing to abandon goods at the border to avoid additional charges at all costs.

Over a quarter (28%) of UK shoppers are worried Brexit customs issues will delay gifts at the border, but few are willing to throw money at the problem. Only 1 in 5 consumers would be willing to pay almost any customs excess to ensure their gift arrived in time for Christmas – showing that tax issues can be a significant sticking point in the customer experience.

Consumers are prepared to go even further to avoid dealing with the administrative headache of customs charges, as over a third (38%) of Brits admitted to having abandoned a delivery after finding out there was a customs fee to pay. Ultimately, retailers are left picking up the burden of these abandoned goods, having to deal with the returns process and recovery of items.

More hours spent on administrative tasks during the holiday period is something retailers cannot afford to give. Four in five (79%) are anticipating their biggest holiday season on record this year. Though welcome news as the industry continues to recover, an increase in orders is also adding an administrative burden. Some 44% recognized that increased shopping over the holiday period leads to increased time spent processing tax and compliance obligations.

Alex Baulf, Senior Director, Global Indirect Tax at Avalara, said: The fact the consumers are willing to clear their baskets, abandon goods at the border, and won’t consider paying customs excesses shows the retailers must get this part of the customer experience right – or risk losing sale after sale. Businesses can’t afford to get this wrong, and must get their omnichannel tax strategies in place as soon as possible to avoid crucial Christmas sales falling through the gaps because of surprise fees and charges.”

As shopping across multiple channels expands, consumer expectations evolve, and new indirect tax regulations are passed, a retailer’s ability to maintain international tax compliance becomes more complicated. To help retailers and tax teams navigate these pressures, Avalara has created a Holiday Readiness Guide, designed to help businesses get their omnichannel indirect tax strategies in place so they can take advantage of the holiday shopping season boom.

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