Sales of electronic commerce in Europe would grow by 25% if existing regulations were unified

40% of buyers in the European Union use the Internet to purchase goods and services, according to the European Commission

25% of European retail is convinced that it could increase its total business figure by 25% with an adequate e-commerce strategy that can be expanded to other European countries. More than half think that the increase could be at least 10%. For this, and according to the great majority, it would be necessary to simplify the different local laws and regulations, according to a new Accenture study carried out for the European Retail Round Table (ERT). It must be remembered that about half of buyers in the European Union use the Internet to purchase goods and services.

The increasing use of digital channels by European consumers is driving traders to offer cross-border online transactions, thus increasing their sales expectations. According to the Accenture study, for 76% of the merchants surveyed, multichannel customers spend more than another one-channel customer.

The main challenges that must be faced to generate greater online electronic commerce in Europe are:

  • For 47%, the diversity of laws regarding the return of products
  • For 44%, the difficulties to efficiently manage the returns of products in cross-border sales
  • For 42%, the cost of compliance with the different national laws that regulate transactions with consumers, such as the requirements for the sale or transfer of data.
  • For another 42%, differences in labor laws and the cost of compliance with the different national tax regulations.
  • For 34%, the different levels of VAT between the markets and compliance with the requirement according to which the tax can only be presented through locally registered companies.

38% also cited the differences in packaging and labeling regulations. Retailers who have a common inventory for their store and their operations on the Internet must place the same label on all the inventory and in multiple languages, regardless of the specific destination of the goods.

According to Juan Manuel Rebollo, Accenture’s Retail Partner for Europe, Latin America and Africa, “The opportunity to increase online sales in Europe is enormous: retailers must create innovative and low-cost models of operations that combine agility and flexibility of the Internet’s own companies with the power of the brand and the convenience of the physical stores We are seeing how defensive positions are abandoned to protect market share and other more offensive are being carried out to face the cross-border challenge in Europe”. In this sense, Rebollo adds, “European consumers increasingly acquire autonomy using smartphones and social networks. Some retailers are investing in technology to optimize and manage cross-border differences in Europe. This investment is essential to overcome the operational, regulatory and legal difficulties that may arise. ”

The new report by Accenture, entitled “European Cross-border E-commerce: The Challenge of Achieving Profitable Growth”, offers more information on the associated opportunities and challenges. not only with cross-border e-commerce in Europe but also in the operations carried out in their domestic markets. It includes the responses and reflections of a total of 146 retailers with annual sales of more than 100 million euros and belonging to six sectors: food, household products, consumer electronics, clothing, cosmetics and leisure products in seven countries of the European Union: Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom.