On September 6, 2022, Britain’s Tory party announced that Liz Truss would be stepping into Boris Johnson’s shoes as the new Prime Minister. Ever since, the general public has been adjusted to life under a new leader, the fourth to take power in just ten years.
With soaring energy bills, rampant inflation, and a recession on the horizon, Truss certainly has her work cut out for her. And on September 9th, journalists at the retail industry publication Charged spoke to several ecommerce experts about the new Prime Minister. What were their hopes for the future, they asked, and what did they want to see Truss bring to the table?
“I would like to see the introduction of a Retail Minister, instead of retail ‘sitting’ as a smaller responsibility of the Small Business/Consumer/Market Minister,” Brad Houlsworth, who represents the online shopping platform Remarkable Commerce, told Charged. “I feel this appointment would allow for faster movements on ecommerce-related matters.”
Later, Houlsworth also urged Truss to freeze interest rates, giving businesses the opportunity to survive the tough times ahead, and scrap the proposed online sales tax.
Elsewhere, Grasshopper Digital’s Mark Thorpe told Charged that cryptocurrency would change the face of ecommerce as we know it — and the British government needs to be prepared. But he doesn’t think that any of the current plans to tackle the financial crisis are enough.
“Lowering VAT by 5% won’t encourage consumers to spend,” Thorpe said. “It’s like placing a soggy plaster on a huge wound that requires 100 stitches. Fuel prices are still sky high which means logistics costs are only going to go up.”
Lastly, Charged spoke to Danny Hudson from the ecommerce delivery platform FarEye. For him, the rising cost of energy and fuel is the biggest challenge on the horizon, and he hopes to see Truss step up with some solutions. He said, “The UK’s retail sector, its supply chain logistics industry and delivery fleets, are facing catastrophic consequences this winter.”
However, it’s not all bad news, and Hudson does see some light on the horizon, adding, “new and upcoming technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, should be used to improve competitive advantage and find efficiencies by analysing previous performance.”
So will Houlsworth, Thorpe, and Hudson see their ‘wishlists’ realised by Truss and her fellow politicians? For all those in the retail sector, we must hope for brighter times ahead.