Avalara’s 5-point plan to be Tax Compliance Ready in 2022

According to a survey from Barclaycard, in 2021, a surge in online shopping saw consumer spending in 2021 surpass 2019 levels by 5.9%, despite the Covid-19 limitations in place.

In a recent interview with CNBC, Avalara’s CEO, Scott McFarlane, stressed how protracted the holiday retail process has become – no longer limited to a short, sharp period of time. This is evidenced through the volume of retailers reporting the 2021 holiday season to have been their biggest on record.

While the frenzied efforts of fulfilling pre-Christmas orders may now be over for another year and retailers are revelling in the much-needed spike in sales, the retail landscape continues to evolve.

Analysts are predicting a hike in prices over the course of 2022 – adding further pressure to retailers seeking to build a loyal customer base. Consumers will want to spend their hard-earned cash with retailers who provide consistent great value and great service.

If you're keen to keep your business growing, it’s not too late to get ahead.  Here, we share with you our five-point plan to keep you compliant in 2022.

  1. Get to know your customers: Take the time this month to analyse your customer and sales data from the holiday period. Where are they? What do they want? What are they asking for? How are they purchasing your goods or services? Understanding who your customers are will help you to enhance core business activities such as marketing, sales and compliance. 
  2. Audit the checkout experience: Online buyers have grown accustomed to viewing tax and shipping in the shopping cart. Consumers want speedy, accurate, and consistent sales tax calculations across all channels. What’s the online experience like for your customers? Did you receive any on areas such as couriers passing on additional custom taxes to your buyers? The chances are your checkout might need a bit of a refresh. 
  3. Understand your sales markets' tax compliance requirements: With the expansion of omnichannel and cross-border sales due to the acceleration of ecommerce, retailers are likely to be subject to new tax obligations. If you plan to ramp up your online sales or break into new channels for the first time this year, seek support to help you effectively plan for additional tax obligations to reduce risk of audit and inaccurate tax costs at checkout. Our Avalara tax experts can help
  4. Invest in technology and infrastructure: Omnichannel commerce during the holidays and beyond weighs heavily on the systems and infrastructure retailers have in place. Retailers that want to offer an omnichannel shopping experience will need next-generation technologies to successfully offer a blend of online and in-person experiences. If you haven’t already, it might be time to detail the investment you’re likely to need to help make sure you remain compliant – and competitive. 
  5. Get automated: Automation isn’t just about remaining tax compliant, it’s also about taking the burden off the customer so their experience with you is a positive one. As you’re building out your business case for investment in your technology infrastructure, look at how you can deliver a seamless experience which results in consistent tax determination across multiple systems.

Although compliance may not have been at the top of your new year’s resolution list, getting this right now will win customers’ hearts and minds by providing them with a seamless retail experience –keeping them coming back time and time again.

Whether you need to provide buyers with a smooth checkout experience or need a tax compliance management solution, Avalara can help. Visit our Retail Industry Solutions webpage to find out more.

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