The European parcel delivery market is far from integrated, and service providers, online merchants, and regulators will need to work together to deliver better service to the European consumer. Ecommerce Europe brought over 350 stakeholders of the European parcel delivery market together in Barcelona to discuss the way forward for integrated and connected European parcel delivery.
Slow, costly, and unreliable parcel delivery in other European countries is one of the biggest barriers preventing online merchants to sell in another country. Many merchants find it difficult to collect reliable and transparent information about the quality of service in a foreign country, if they are even able to find information on the services offered at all. On the other hand, consumers expect on demand delivery that fits the rapid speed of the placement of the order in e-commerce. In three theme sessions chaired by Dave Keating, journalist and former editor at European Voice, the participants of the Ecommerce Europe Annual Conference discussed how to overcome cross-border logistics as a barrier to e-commerce growth.
Differing rules real barrier for small and big merchants
In the theme session ‘Working together towards a fair market’ Oliver Bernasson from Pecheur.com stated that different rules on customs, cross-border shipping, VAT etc. in the different countries are not only an obstacle for SMEs but also for big firms. He stressed that at the end of the day, “the consumer pays the bill”. Stéphane Tomczak, Chair of the Ecommerce Europe e-Logistics Committee agrees on the obstacles in e-Logistics but also sees many opportunities for the future: “It is our job as Ecommerce Europe to remain connected with all the EU stakeholders and to continue the dialogue with the European Commission to work together on policy which can lift the barriers.”
Online platform essential for transparency in the market
One of the initiatives Ecommerce Europe is already developing to bring more transparency in the market is an online platform on which merchants and delivery service providers can easily connect for cross-border deliveries. Also, the platform will include clear information on the different rules and regulations related to delivery in each member state. The first panel discussion, comprised of logistics stakeholders in the entire e-commerce ecosystem, made clear that the platform initiative is strongly desired by all parties involved. The need for transparent and freely accessible information was stressed repeatedly. The panellists explained that access to information can create more competition on the delivery market. In the current market the medium sized and small merchants often find it difficult to negotiate with delivery providers.
How to be part of the revolution
In the afternoon the panel discussions focused on connected and cross-border delivery. For easy cross-border parcel delivery, Professor Walther Ploos van Amstel said that collaboration and integration on all levels is necessary and that processes have to be sustainable to make sure they are future proof. The providers who were in the panel made clear that global competition causes service providers to innovate faster than ever. Next to this, operators need to work together on a global scale rather than on a European scale. Cross-border delivery witnesses a revolution which askes for a different view on policy making. Disruptive parties like Ebay, Uber and others systematically push law makers to take a new view on what is needed for the European market. Ecommerce Europe and its members consistently work to drive the revolution further!
For an overview of Ecommerce Europe’s suggestions for better parcel delivery in Europe and beyond, please download the Ecommerce Europe e-Logistics Position Paper here.