What will Brexit mean for your website?

It’s been a crazy few weeks in the world of politics and after the EU referendum result to leave the EU. So much information on how business relationships will continue to work with the EU still needs to be decided, and by the sounds of things it will take many years to sort out. With this result at the forefront of so many of our UK business client’s minds, we thought it would be appropriate to consider the impact Brexit could have on your business website.

EU cookie law and Brexit

A number of years ago the EU brought in legislation to ensure all European websites made their visitors aware that they were being tracked with cookies. This EU cookie law has been for the most part ignored by many websites due to several factors. Firstly the requirement to display a banner across your website stating you were capturing cookie data was clunky and frankly became annoying to many visitors. The rules were also unclear on how this banner should be
displayed so many just put it on the first page of their website. Secondly, many new versions of web browsers updated their settings so that users could disable cookies or inform them via the browser if a site was requesting to add a cookie to their computer. This has negated the need for an obtrusive cookie banner on the website, leading to many websites removing their banner and just sticking to a clear cookie policy page linked to within the footer of their website.

Leaving the EU could see this law disappear within the UK but we are unlikely to see much real change to the websites we visit, since many have already decided to ditch the banner. Hopefully now we’re leaving the EU the law will take a common sense approach to cookies. It should simply state that all websites should detail the cookies and on a separate cookie page – something websites already do – and leave the user to decide within their browser whether to store cookie data.

What will Brexit mean for website hosting in the UK?

There is an EU law that states if a website is storing EU visitor data on a server, then that server should reside within the EU and not outside of it. This law was brought in to reassure EU web citizens that their data would still be protected by EU law, after a spate of privacy issues surrounding the US and web giants such as Microsoft and Google. When the UK does ‘Brexit’ there will have to be some decision to either allow the UK to continue to be an allowed partner to hold EU citizen data, or else we will have to think about buying server space in the EU for this purpose. If you are using a Microsoft or Google service currently to store data, at least their servers are already in EU countries like Germany and Ireland.

Brexit and ecommerce

Whilst there is no doubt that sterling has been hit over recent weeks, we’re yet to see the long-term impact Brexit has on currency conversions. This could mean even smaller margins online are diminished unless retailers succumb to price rises. Recently electronic firms have hinted that if the pound stays at this low against the dollar, they will be force to raise prices by the end of July. This is a sad fact which will harm many ecommerce and high street retailers bringing in imports. Hopefully the UK government will help ease this impact either via a VAT rate change or other easing on company taxes to keep prices relatively the same as they are now.

Keep calm and carry on

As the old saying goes, keep calm and carry on. The shock is over but now reality is setting in for businesses with close ties to Europe, whether it be online or offline. The sooner we get answers to these questions about our online activity – and how Brexit impacts it – the better. For the meantime, we’ll carry on as usual but always be on the look out for news on how you may be affected. If you have any questions relating to your business and are concerned about how it will affect your online store or website data stored, please get in touch with us today.

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