Yes well you probably read this article heading and said to yourself Of course everyone knows they should stay abreast of industry developments what is the news there? And indeed it is true that this piece of advice seems only too obvious and possibly not worth repeating…except that keeping yourself up to date is sometimes not just a good way to remain ahead of the curve so you can think in a visionary way it can be a great marketing tool as well. Here is a good example of how the necessary work of understanding the changes that your business faces as a business can also position you as an information giver for your customers as well.
UK Reduces VAT Rate for 2009
In November 2008 the UK government announced a temporary reduction in the VAT lowering it from 17.5% to 15% as of 1 December 2008. That meant that for any sales of standard-rated goods or services that take place on or after 1 December 2008 retailers would charge VAT at the new rate of 15%. There were no changes to sales that are zero-rated or reduced-rated for VAT. Similarly there were also no changes to the VAT exemptions. The 15% rate was to remain until 31st December 2009 and from 1 January 2010 it would revert to 17.5%.
Well that was good news for the UK consumer for that period but of course as the date to revert back to the old VAT rate of 17.5% approached two things happened.
There was a flurry of sales that could be related to taking final advantage of the lower VAT. More on that in the next section.
There was an even bigger flurry of information seeking related to the impending change.
Are you beginning to see the opportunity that was available?
The Internet research group HitWise identified a significant surge in shopping related to the change. Hitwise said There was a big spike in traffic between the weeks ending December 27th and January 2nd this year.UK Internet visits to retail websites increased by 13% last year the increase over the same period was just 2%. The biggest increase was in the House and Garden sector where retailers experienced a 67% increase in traffic last week. Other sectors selling big ticket items also experienced above average increases with the Sport & Fitness Computers and Appliances & Electronics categories all performing well.
The other surge occurred in terms of information seeking about the impending change. Nearly 47% of people searching for information about the VAT increase last week were directed to government sites 13.3% to news and media websites and 12.9% to business and finance sites. Only 4.2% of searchers ended up at a retail website. This was a missed opportunity.
Just think about the extra traffic you might have attracted if your website had posted useful information about the VAT increase for people to find. You would have provided a service as well as distinguishing your website as a place where customers can obtain information that helps them make good buying decisions.
The VAT opportunity has passed. There is likely to be another opportunity just around the corner. Think about how you can help your customer negotiate the web as you absorb information on your own behalf. SABUNG AYAM