Online retail after Brexit: turning uncertainty into smiles

When the United Kingdom left the European Union four years after the Brexit vote, it was uncharted territory for the many businesses who had previously depended on moving their goods quickly and effortlessly between the UK and Europe. That was certainly true for online retailer BigGreenSmile. But thanks to the customs and technical support that they received from the team at DHL eCommerce, they and their customers have been able to keep smiling.

Amazing customer service
BigGreenSmile is a speciality retailer of natural and organic beauty, personal care and household products. It operates websites in the UK, Benelux, France and Germany and has a single logistics hub serving all of its websites based in Malle, Belgium.

Ben Wigley, the co-founder and CEO, says: “Our aim is to provide an unparalleled choice of natural beauty and household products at great value and backed up by great levels of service with a smile. But with Brexit looming, we were concerned that we wouldn’t be able to achieve our normal amazing service if our 125,000+ customers in the UK were hit by delays due to the increased bureaucracy and hoops that we’d have to jump through. We knew that we needed specialist help to get things across the border with as little friction as possible.”

There’s been good communication from the start, and DHL has been focused on the goal of delivering a really quality solution.
Ben Wigley - Co-Founder & CEO BigGreenSmile

Expertise to rely on
It was also vital that even with the additional bureaucracy of Brexit, the company kept a very tight rein on costs so that they could remain competitive, and that they avoided mistakes and delays caused by human error. In short, BigGreenSmile needed expertise it could trust.

“To prepare, we worked with DHL’s customs and IT teams throughout 2020 on an API which allows us to input all of our data,” says Ben. “Essentially, we tell DHL’s computer systems what parcels we are sending and what the shipments contain and then they collect them from us in Belgium, ship them together through customs in the Netherlands and the UK then deliver the parcels to our customers throughout the country. The customs team have been extremely helpful, even when there were problems in the beginning, and have worked to make things as frictionless as possible. Similarly the technical team has been great, there’s been good communication from the start, and across the board DHL has been focused on the goal of delivering a really quality solution.”

Goodbye to uncertainty
With the technical team at BigGreenSmile working closely in partnership with the team at DHL the retailer is now able to ship goods to its customers in the UK, delivering to their door within three days of them placing an order. Ben says: “It’s helped to alleviate a lot of the uncertainty that we had before the new regime came in. Now we can continue to grow our UK customer base, maintain good customer service levels, and because we are able to ship seamlessly into the UK we offer a great platform for European brands to sell into the UK market.” For the online retailer and its customers, that’s certainly something to smile about.

Do you need customs or technical expertise in order to move goods between the EU and UK? Feel free to contact us.