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Online shoppers aren’t loving the EU’s new VAT rules

An exhaustive survey reveals how Europe’s new e-commerce VAT rules are affecting people’s online shopping experience.   

The IPC has just released its cross-border e-commerce shopper survey for 2021. The survey includes answers from over 30 000 respondents in 40 markets. 

One of the survey’s sections dealt with the recent VAT changes implemented in the EU. Under the new rules, low-value goods imported into the EU are now subject to VAT and customs charges. 

The survey asked online shoppers how the rule change had affected them. 39% of European respondents said the new rules had affected them. 24% said they had been affected multiple times when shopping online. The main reported impacts are additional customs charges and additional expenses. 

Improving the e-commerce customer experience

If there’s one thing reports such as the IPC survey demonstrate, it’s that shoppers don’t like surprises. At least, they don’t like negative surprises. E-commerce is all about efficiency and speed and ease of access. In that context, unforeseen delays and extra charges can irritate consumers. 

But while we can’t wish away the new VAT charge on low-value goods, there are also effective new ways to actually optimise your drop shipping strategy in the long run. 

Because the EU VAT e-commerce package also includes a number of mechanisms that make VAT compliance and shipping more efficient, if you use them correctly. 

Notably, when you manage imports using the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS), items will be expedited through customs. That means your customers face fewer delays.

Secondly, when you use the IOSS for drop shipping, VAT is already included in the purchase price. So no more annoying surcharges from the courier. 

As a bonus, the IOSS makes it much easier to manage VAT compliance on sales throughout the EU. For e-commerce importers, it’s the VIP ticket to the EU.  

Want to learn more about drop shipping to the EU without the nasty surprises? Be sure to check out our library of articles about the Import One Stop Shop. Or give us a shout for customised advice that carefully considers your company’s entire value chain. 

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