You may have noticed that all the news on this site is about Europe, a European country or about a region on the continent. That’s because we have noticed that there’s some lack of knowledge about the European ecommerce industry. And that’s something we understand, because Europe just is a mix of countries, cultures, laws and regulations.
It is impossible to summarize the European ecommerce industry in one sentence. It’s comparing apples and oranges. In countries like the United Kingdom, France and Germany online retail is well established, while in Eastern Europe for example, ecommerce is just getting started. And where the ecommerce market in the United Kingdom has already matured and it’s getting pretty clear which online retailers are here to stay, in a country like Poland it’s still not written in stone which ecommerce companies will lead the pack.
Europe has 45 countries, 28 of which are united in the European Union. All together these countries represent the world’s biggest ecommerce market. But once again, don’t think you can compare Europe with let’s say the United States of America. Online retailers have to handle customers differently per country.
All these countries, from Luxembourg to Finland and from Portugal to Serbia, have different languages, laws, cultures, customer behaviors, currencies and payment preferences. And compare that with the ecommerce industry in the US, where online retailers can just create one single website for all US consumers. No need to display different currencies or to include some exotic payment options.
A study in 2013 by consulting firm Accenture shows that only about 9% of all European ecommerce sales take place across national borders. And frankly, we’re not that surprised. Most customers aren’t eager to buy across the border, because they often don’t know if they could get a payment or return problem fixed. Partly because it’s hard to communicate with an only German speaking customer service if you’re a Frenchman, but also because there are different laws and regulations per country. The European Commission is working hard to blur the boundaries, but it’s still an utopia.
And that’s where we come in. We’ll try to keep all of you up-to-date with all the important European ecommerce news. Because Europe is a very vivid, varied and interesting region when it comes to ecommerce.