E-commerce in the EU - so what's the issue?
Welcome to the E-commerce discussion group of DigitalAgenda12.
The workshops at DA12 for Ecommerce are focused on Trust and Payments, including the hot topic of mobile payments.
I have fleshed out some of the discussion points below, but let me know in answer to this introductory Ecommerce blog post what is important to you, what I have missed, your proposed solutions, and we can focus subsequent discussions going forward on these topics.
- over 40% of Europeans buy online, but this is highly polarised with lower internet-penetration countries seeing proportionately much lower e-commerce activity
- only 6% of E-commerce is intra-EU state - this cannot be good for competition, and therefore consumers
- according to the EC, 2/3 of consumers won't buy from foreign language sites, and 1/3 of E-commerce sites aren't prepared to have more than one language.
- internet penetration varies across the region - this is perhaps the easiest fix
- Tax, postage rates (and postage service norms) are not harmonised and create confusion for sellers.
We will see an acceleration of debate on this topic following the recent green paper "Towards an integrated European market for card, internet, and mobile payments" and the upcoming May 4th Brussels conference on the topic (http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/payments/cim/index_en.htm)
I already see commercial solutions (Wirecard AG, Skrill Ltd) that ease payments across the region and suit local payment methods, and together with steady debit/credit card usage growth I wonder if this is not a problem that will solve itself.
Mobile payments bring e-commerce into physical shopping. Today there are many non interoperable trials across Europe and elsewhere, but with several competing interest groups (telcos, banks and card networks, technology and internet companies, and retailers) no standards have yet emerged. I've written a short intro here http://oakhallventures.com/mobile-money/.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
E-commerce and the broader issue of the "Digital Single Market" is important because exclusion from this growing market disadvantages sections of society and limits competition.
E-commerce companies, technology providers, bricks and mortar retailers, industry analysts, and consumers are encouraged to make their opinions known on this discussion site.