Round Table Amsterdam: E-commerce in Europe – challenges and opportunities

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Europe is mature, yet very fragmented e-commerce market that harbors as many opportunities as challenges for online retailers. That was the overall essence of
the Round Table in Amsterdam on October 22nd, 2013, organised by Ecommerce Europe and E-Commercefacts.com. Those present included representatives of various (online) retailers and brands such as Replacedirect.nl, Nike, ACE Jewelers and the Etam Group. The event is part of a major series of Round Tables in different cities in Europe.

According to Wijnand Jongen, managing director of Thuiswinkel.org, member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Ecommerce Europe Executive Committee, challenges include a lack of trust and privacy concerns.

Jacco Oosterhof, Managing Director of Wijnvoordeel International, an online wine seller active in 4 countries, added logistics to the list of delicate issues: “The best marketing in the world won’t help you if the carrier leaves the package out in the rain or the bottles are broken. This will leave your customer with a very bad impression of your company.”

On a positive note, Wijnand Jongen said that cross- border E-Commerce in Europe is set to continue its growth. Countries such as Denmark, where 25 percent of all online transactions are international, allow for a positive outlook for the rest of Europe, where cross-border sales presently account for only 9 percent.

Jongen also shared some insights and facts gathered during a study trip with a group of e-commerce leaders to Silicon Valley, which was undertaken in order to catch a glimpse of what the future of retail might hold. Although he realizes that the information gap is shrinking, the implementation gap still appears to be high: “European leader such as Otto are very conservative companies. They are not ready yet to fail faster everyday to learn and improve like the US- giants are doing it.”

The next Round Table will take place in Warsaw on November 14th , 2013

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