The VAT content rush is on

Update your prices before the VAT riseWhile the 2010 Christmas rush is well and truly behind us, if you run a website selling products or services that attract VAT; a new rush is on…the VAT content rush.

The UK VAT rise from the current rate of 17.5% means that changes to prices is a major task that needs to be finished in advance of 4 January 2011, the date when the new 20% rate comes into effect.

It’s a fairly busy time of year as it is with the January sales (many of which are said to have begun online from midnight on Christmas day), New Year campaigns, and new seasonal product lines. Your staffing plans will now need to factor in making price changes.

Here are a few tips to help you along with any changes you still have to make – or check – before the VAT rise kicks in:


Go over your prices to make sure you have applied the correct increase. If you use automated tools, manually check a random sample of prices. Don’t forget to amend any prices that are quoted in a foreign currency.

Consistency checking

Make sure your pricing is consistent for each product wherever it is mentioned on the pages of your website (as well as offline).

More consistency checking

Don’t forget to visit any third-party websites/web pages you use so that you can check whether the prices quoted tally with the ones you have on your own website.

Shop facility testing

Ask some trusted contacts to ‘buy’ some products on your website. This type of test activity should reveal any glitches that may have crept in as a result of the price changes.

Keeping customers informed

Consider adding a line or two of text on your product or service pages, to let your customers know the new VAT rate.

Not everyone will remember that VAT will be rising; and a polite notice on your site could help to head off any irate customer calls.

Customer loyalty offers

Consider what if any offers you are able to make to loyal customers to soften the blow of the increase.

Feedback/contact forms

If you don’t already have one of these, now would be a good time to introduce one – with links clearly visible on your product or service pages.

Online users are often more than happy to report any issues they unearth while they are browsing, so why miss out on the chance to receive valuable feedback?

Wishing you all a very happy New Year.

Join me again next year (ok, next week) for more weekly content tips.

Post written by DEBBIE THOMAS on 27 December 2010.