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Sage advice for tough brexit ecommerce decisions

Caught between the unique demands of the UK market and the impact of Brexit on European ecommerce, Sage Appliances turned to DHL for a solution that embraced the best of both worlds.

A successor of the legendary Snack'n Sandwich Maker: Sage's BBQ & Press™ Grill for precision grilling with independent temperature control for each plate.

A smart business move

When this Australian company was founded in 1935, selling oversees was likely a distant pipe dream – if even an aspiration at all. But over the years, as their products (like the legendary Snack'n Sandwich Maker)gained popularity and recognition abroad, expanding further afield not only became feasible, but a smart business move.

Now, Breville is an iconic Australian brand delivering kitchen products to over 50 countries around the world. In Europe, the company sells its small kitchen appliances under the brand name SageTM – and like Breville, Sage Appliances has become synonymous with thoughtful design and brilliant innovation.

In addition to knowing their way around the kitchen, Sage knows a thing or two about running an online business. In Europe, for example, long before the current boom in ecommerce, the company optimized its omni-channel distribution strategy by centralizing its European B2B and B2C fulfilment in Prague. A fulfillment center there has been at the heart of European operations ever since. There was, however, one exception: the UK market, which represented a crucial part of the business.

The Brexit ecommerce conundrum

The UK market presents a unique ecommerce challenge, even for businesses based in a Commonwealth cousin like Australia. For a while, Sage served its UK customers from a local B2C distribution center run by a third-party logistics provider. While the setup worked well, the company wanted to consolidate all fulfillment operations in Prague and take advantage of the well-oiled machine that served the rest of Western Europe. 

Then came Brexit.

In the UK, customers generally expect door delivery within 48 hours, but new regulations arising from Brexit in January 2021 was going to have an impact on ecommerce. Shipping goods from Prague was going to take longer and costs were expected to rise – both of which could hurt business in this competitive market.

In short, ecommerce after Brexit wasn’t going to be the same, and Sage was rightly concerned that this would negatively impact the customer experience in the UK. 
But they were in luck. The solution they already had in place in Prague is designed to be easily replicable elsewhere, despite the Brexit ecommerce impact.

The EFN is sharing the power of a super-charged supply chain, to give every online retailer a chance to shine.

The Sage solution

Enter EFN – our European Fulfillment Network that provides small and medium-sized ecommerce businesses the scale and speed necessary to compete in the global marketplace, including the UK after Brexit.

Sage needed to balance the specific needs of the UK market with the importance of maintaining smooth and uniform operations in Prague. The DHL EFN is structured modularly, meaning the company retains the flexibility to work with the UK carriers it knows and trusts. In some cases, the UK distribution center allows customers to benefit from next-day delivery, a key selling point that helps ensure customers click the buy button after filling up their online shopping carts.

Once Sage learned they could replicate their success in Prague, mitigate the Brexit ecommerce impact and even lower costs, using our European Fulfillment Network was an easy business decision. The company was even able to avoid an increase in last-mile delivery costs that would have resulted from shipping on international rates from its Prague distribution center.

DHL’s European Fulfillment Network

30 ecommerce sites for next-day delivery in key markets

Implementation within 3 months

Quickly scalable for rapid market expansion

No need to spoil the soup

Sage’s award-winning kitchen appliances are known for their reliability. But as every experienced chef knows, even with the best tools, sometimes recipes need to be adjusted on the fly. Sage still had the equipment, know-how, and high demand for their products after Brexit. It was ecommerce after Brexit that had changed. Once they tweaked the ingredients, so to speak, they ensured dinner made it to the table and those hungry mouths were fed.

The successful transfer of Sage’s UK B2C ecommerce operations after Brexit has enabled the company to hedge risks and continue to offer the high levels of service and satisfaction its customers expect. With our European Fulfillment Network, customers like Sage have a reliable tool to put together the perfect ecommerce recipe.

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Supply Chain Insights is a monthly email from DHL which aims to deliver quality articles, focused on industry best practice and innovative thinking in the supply chain.

The E-fulfillment Playbook

It’s no secret that the ecommerce market is growing fast... DHL Supply Chain has created a Playbook to guide small and medium size businesses that need to scale their operations quickly to meet ecommerce growth.

Published: September 2021

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