VAT free shopping facilities set to attract more sales for UK retailers from affluent overseas visitors
Tax Free Worldwide, a specialist in VAT refund services for shoppers and retailers has announced a significant extension to its refund network across China, Russia and Ukraine. Partnerships have been agreed with Transforex in China, SMP Bank and Financial Standard Bank in Russia and City Commerce Bank in Ukraine. The Tax Free Worldwide (TFW) system allows eligible visitors to the UK to claim back the VAT on any purchases made easily and quickly when they return home. This is more convenient for the customer and enables retailers to attract more sales, taking advantage of the growing numbers of visitors from China (up 13%) and Russia (up 6%)*
Transforex is the largest currency exchange company in China with 35 branches across the country in most major cities, giving TFW the most comprehensive tax refund network for shoppers from China. Raoul Defant, Group Marketing Manager at TFW said; “Transforex is able to provide the widest coverage for our customers in China. They have proven reliability and a reputation for providing good service.”
Mr Defant continued; “Shoppers from China are now the fastest increasing group of overseas visitors to the UK with the amount being spent by Chinese visitors last year up by over 30%. Retailers that are able to provide tax free shopping for eligible customers are able to take advantage of this trend and generate extra sales.”
Between them SMP Bank, Financial Standard Bank and City Commerce Bank have over 120 outlets across Russia and Ukraine, providing a wide network of refund points.
Integrating with the retailer’s POS system, the TFW system calculates the VAT and refund due, the administration fee, and the product/SKU details. The system is able to recognise the nationality of the shopper from the credit card, and apply the appropriate rules accordingly. It processes the transaction quickly and reduces paperwork, which can be produced with the retailer’s logo, so boosting brand awareness. When the shopper returns home they can choose to take the refund either as cash, or as a credit transaction on their credit card.
*Source: VisitBritain Monthly Inbound Update: March 2013 – rolling 12 month percentage growth from April 2011 – March 2012 to April 2012 – March 2013.