It has been really interesting to follow the impact of the Referendum over the last three months. Whilst ‘Project Fear’ hasn’t had the impact that the Remain Campaign were looking for, we have seen retailers holding off making decisions until they were aware of the outcome.

The past two weeks, after voting to leave the EU, have shown an unprecedented side of Britain the world has probably never witnessed before. However, now that the UK nation has decided, the immediate impact on UK business will not yet be physical or real. The financial uncertainty that’s been unleashed on the markets is going to have an impact. But rate cuts and other measures are already being put in place, which would suggest the immediate downturn will be short-lived.

With a leadership election on the way and at least two years of negotiation ahead in terms of extricating ourselves from the EU, we cannot see UK business, and especially start-ups, being massively impacted in the short to medium term.

Once the terms of the UK’s departure are agreed, then those businesses that rely on Europe will need to take into account tariff and amendments to existing legislation and regulations that they have to follow. But those changes are going to take years to feed through.

More interestingly for retailers in the UK will be the impact this decision has on the EU Data Protection Changes. The changes have the potential to massively impact how retailers use the customer data they’ve gathered for marketing and customer service. However, they do not become enforceable until mid-2018 and, in light of the country’s recent decision, may become a non-issue. If that’s the case, then retailers in the UK will have a distinct advantage over their competition on the continent with regards to getting the most value out of the customer data.

Most importantly, this could well be a great opportunity, especially for start-ups. Whether you were for or against Brexit, such a huge change brings massive opportunities with it. The next decade is going to see the retail landscape within Britain and the EU change considerably, and there will be opportunities for entrepreneurs, start-ups and established businesses to really shine. Step after step, this historical time will tell if Brexit was a good idea or not.

Brexit