Retailers are adapting to social distancing by changing store layouts and simplifying customer flows in order to minimise COVID-19 risk to customers and staff. Offering VAT refunds for tourists, which requires checking customer eligibility, answering questions, printing and signing tax refund forms, can add to the pressures of reduced store capacity by unnecessarily tying up staff resources at the till.
However, there is the welcoming opportunity of 27 million additional EU shoppers per year accounting for over £5 billion of retail spending, who would become eligible for tax-free shopping from next year after the Brexit transition has ended.
So how do you attract more international customers without putting extra strain on already limited store capacity? London based Airvat, in collaboration with HMRC, has developed the technology that can help retailers offer digital tax-free shopping to their customers and eliminate hold-ups at the check-out.
The solution is simple, requiring no integration or extra admin by retailers. The merchant simply displays Airvat’s sticker on the till to notify potential customers of the digital VAT refund service. The customer then downloads Airvat’s app on their phone to manage the process.
Airvat’s technology has automated customer eligibility checks, tax form generation, and refund payments. This has greatly improved the tourist shopping experience and halved the admin fees. Larger retailers can also take advantage of the open API for closer partnership and integration opportunities.
This digital solution has already been adopted by a number of retailers, including London’s Design Museum. The museum typically welcomes around a million annual visitors and recognises the importance of attracting international shoppers. Its retail units sell the most innovative and beautifully crafted products from around the world but previously offered only a manual VAT refund service. The introduction of the new digital tax-free shopping service has been an exciting development removing any admin burden from staff.
Learn more how you can offer digital tax free shopping in your store.