Sobuzzy’s Kel Wouters shares her take-aways and inspiration from this year’s Global E-commerce Summit.
November 19, 2016
Behind the scenes with Britt Hysen, the host of Global E-commerce Conference 2016
December 13, 2016

Here’s what GES2016 speakers have to say.

On Thursday, U.K. constituents decided to vote “Leave”. Now, the U.K., EU, and other global stake holders are left to grapple with the consequences — including the economic uncertainty bound to follow.
So what’s the real fall-out for e-commerce from the U.K. severing ties with the EU? Already on Friday, markets were plunging sharply around the world, suggesting serious economic risks on the horizon. But e-commerce professionals have differing views on just what Brexit will mean. Here’s a running roundup from this year’s Global E-commerce Summit speakers.

Jonathan Chippindale, Chief Executive at Holition, “The impact of this decision will be negligible.”
The decision taken by the British people Thursday was an amazing display of democracy in action, and an electorate making really important decisions affecting the course of the UK.

Personally, along with almost everyone I know, work with or have dealings with here in London, the result is a very difficult one to take – we are all firm believers in the European project and were very proud to stand up as being British first, but also as being European as well. Sadly, large swathes of the country outside of London felt differently and now we have to look to the future. From my point of view, London will no doubt remain very pre-European and I believe that the impact of this decision will be negligible, especially spread out over the considerable period of time all this will take to implement. We will remain an important partner with Europe and with the rest of the world, and in the end business will ensure that we are not allowed to drift too far apart.

But it is not the result that I had hoped for, and I find it idiosyncratic that in a world that is being drawn ever closer by digital and technology, Britain has decided to go in a fundamentally different direction.

Franck Boniface, Secrétaire Général – Executive Vice President, “let’s try to avoid the panic mode.”
It is true that it is scary as we enter an unknown zone.

In a short term, Vestiaire Collective will definitely have to mitigate the impact of the decrease of the £. As a matter of fact, the supply coming from the € zone will obviously look more expensive for our UK buyers. To reduce this unfavorable effect, we have the chance to supply a large part of our products from UK and will subsequently merchandise as much as we can our UK supply to our UK buyers to work-around the currency effect.

For the rest of the expected impacts, let’s try to avoid the panic mode and as our UK friends say “ Let’s wait and see” how this exit turns in the 12 coming months.

I feel a bit lonely in my position right now! But I am confident in the EU’s ability to leverage the current challenge and make EU even better and stronger, refining the overall position of this organisation. I also believe that the long and fruitful relation we built with our « Brit » friends will keep going on thanks to EU & UK pragmatism!

Carlo Terreni, General Director, NetComm Suisse Association, “This vote sends a signal to the remaining EU administrators”.
As a passionate Italian, I must say that I am saddened by the Brit’s vote to leave and see it as potentially detrimental for e-commerce cross-border regulations, especially in light of separatist movements in France already “making noises” to try to do the same.

However, beyond that initial emotional response, the impact of Brexit may in fact have positive residual effects on the Swiss business environment.

New fiscal reforms here now actively promote innovation by digital and e-commerce corporations in Switzerland. This added with the political stability of the country makes it a more attractive environment for international businesses looking to penetrate the EU market.

Additionally, the exit vote sends a signal to the remaining EU administrators to step up to the plate and perhaps be more proactive in their efforts to address existing infrastructure issues and make the Digital Single Market a reality.

Marlene ten Ham, Secretary General of Ecommerce Europe, “Brexit should not slow down the completion of the European (Digital) Single Market.”
Even though Ecommerce Europe does not have a UK National e-Commerce Association as a Member, we do recognize the United Kingdom as an important player in the context of online trade in general, and in the Digital Single Market in particular. We hope that in the negotiations that follow in the wake of this referendum between the European Union and the United Kingdom e-commerce will remain an important point of concern for both parties. Brexit should not slow down the completion of the European (Digital) Single Market if we still want to compete in a global context.

Jorij Abraham, Director Research & Advise at Ecommerce Foundation, “While Europe is fragmenting and looking inside the world is moving forward.”
In my personal opinion I think it is a shame. Not only for the British but also for European as a whole. Markets are becoming global very, very fast at the moment. The consumer is discovering that he can buy products for half the price (or less) directly in China. Technology wise we are already dependent on the USA as innovator and Asia and producer. While Europe is fragmenting and looking inside the world is moving forward. When people look back in 2100 they will see that it has been the century where China has become the leading global power, followed by the USA while Europe validates the reputation of being the ‘old world’.

Cheng OUYANG, Executive Senior Advisor, Alibaba Research Institute, “its exit reduces its importance.”
The UK’s exit from EU, may reduce its weight on ecommerce landscape of global ecommerce companies. UK would have less influence on EU’s market and policy development. As well, its exit would reduce its importance and function as a logistic hub for ecommerce companies. However, due to devaluation of UK’s currency, in the short term, it may be expected that UK’s export to China via e-commerce and tourists from China be increased.

Thomas Kroman, Chief Marketing Officer, WearYouWant, “This could certainly impact cross border trade.”
I’m worried that the Brexit will set a precedent and that an ill-conceived exceptionalism will spread and spearhead a weaker and more fragmented European market. This could certainly impact cross border trade immensely which for many e-commerce companies is business essential. Let’s hope this will stay contained to only one member nation.

Origami hopes, “trade arrangements between the UK and the EU will remain largely unaffected.”
Our business is largely based in Japan and therefore the effect has been limited. However we do have many important business relationship with companies based in the UK and the EU. While we respect the democratic process that has taken place in the UK, we hope very much that many of the important trade arrangements between the UK and the EU will remain largely unaffected.