The Main Challenges Facing European E-commerce Businesses
The EU’s e-commerce industry has been experiencing a lot of positive growth over the past few years. A new report from industry association E-commerce Europe found that there was a 15% growth in 2016 and the industry is predicted to be worth €602 billion by the end of 2017. That would represent a further 14% year-over-year growth.
Increasing e-commerce sales in emerging Eastern European markets such as Ukraine and Romania, young Europeans shopping online and the EU’s Digital Single Market strategy have all helped achieve this and create such projections. E-commerce companies in Europe should still be prepared for a number of challenges which face the industry.
Slow and late deliveries are one of the main problems for e-commerce businesses the world over. Customers who experience these are less likely to use the same e-commerce business again, as well as provide negative feedback which can impact upon a company’s reputation. Despite the close transport links between many European countries, due to weather conditions, politics and using unreliable delivery firms, slow deliveries can occur.
To protect your e-commerce firm, using parcel tracking services can tackle the issue. With global parcel tracking, this can highlight to your e-commerce company where deliveries are often slowed down to help you find solutions. Package tracking also provides full transparency and visibility for your customers.
Technical failures are another risk for Europe’s e-commerce market. Cyber-attacks and hackings have been on the rise, with a government study finding that 46% of British businesses experienced at least one cyber security breach or attack over the last year. For businesses in all sectors this is a serious problem, even more so for e-commerce companies as the majority of their activities are based online.
With customer data, payment information and the loss of earnings if an e-commerce site goes down, it poses a serious threat. Therefore, all e-commerce businesses should best protect against such technical attacks by taking some of the following action:
- Use a secure e-commerce platform
- Ensure there is a secure connection for online checkout
- Motivate customers to use complex passwords
- Layer e-commerce security with firewalls, contact forms and login boxes
- Store sensitive and payment information in offline servers
- Hire an expert to oversee online security for your site
The main political event that has affected cross-border e-commerce within Europe has been the Brexit vote. If protectionist trade policies are introduced once the UK has left the EU then this could impact upon the ease and costs of trade with other EU nations. More expensive trading costs and new regulations will cause a big challenge and additional work for individual e-commerce companies. However, a lot rests on the outcome of ongoing Brexit negotiations.
Another concern is that the existing EU policies are not up to scratch to deal with the expected growth of European e-commerce. The European single market involves over 500 million potential consumers to trade, but there will need to be new regulations developed and enforced to make this as smooth as possible. Should the single market expand in the future, this will introduce further issues that will need to be dealt with, both on a business and consumer level.
These challenges could be faced by all European e-commerce businesses in the near future. So, while there is plenty of scope for expansion and growth, it is worth remaining cautious, using parcel tracking services where appropriate and preparing to tackle such potential problems should they arise.