A lack of consumer trust in online transactions obstructs the growth of the European e-commerce market. Ecommerce Europe takes up its role in stimulating trust in the market by committing its members to a widely available non-profit European Trustmark for online commerce transactions, but the association calls upon European law makers for a more balanced approach in consumer- and contractual policies as well.
The e-commerce sector is booming: Nearly all growth in retail comes from online. However, the full potential of the European e-commerce market has not yet been reached. Today 65% of European internet users shop online, but only 16% of SMEs sell online – and less than half of those sell online across borders (7.5%). Also, only 16% of consumers shop online from another EU country. The legal framework is one of the most difficult barriers to overcome for 46% of the companies that sell cross-border. Dealing with 28 different sets of rules for consumer and contract law turns out to be burdensome for online merchants. Moreover, the differences in regulation and levels of protection undermine consumer confidence in cross-border transactions.
More protection and transparency for consumer
“In the rapidly expanding e-commerce market, it is more important than ever that online traders are transparent about their obligations towards the consumer,” explains Marlene ten Ham, Secretary General of Ecommerce Europe. “The Ecommerce Europe Trustmark and its dedicated website give consumers peace of mind by allowing them to read in full what their rights are, and what commitments the online trader has made. This is essential for boosting trust in cross-border e-commerce.” By clicking on the Trustmark label, the consumer is directed to the Code of Conduct which, among other requirements, obliges the trader to use fair and transparent contract terms and to be transparent about the offer and prices before the consumer enters the order process.
Ecommerce Europe Trustmark
The Ecommerce Europe Trustmark is widely available to companies involved in online and cross-border selling of products and/or services. It is the only European Trustmark that is supported by non-profit associations cooperating closely with consumer groups all over Europe, that provides for dedicated European consumer complaints handling, and that is available at no cost for Ecommerce Europe member companies. Since its launch in September 2015, the Trustmark has been rolled out in 11 countries of the European Union, with plans to extend it to many more countries this year. Please go to http://www.ecommercetrustmark.eu/ for more information.
More balanced approach in consumer- and contractual policies
Ecommerce Europe wants to ensure that the upcoming rules for consumer policies will be fit for the future challenges of this dynamic sector. In its recently updated Consumer Policies Position Paper, Ecommerce Europe provides policy recommendations for a more balanced approach towards consumer and contractual law. The paper stresses in particular the need to have the same set of rules for both online and offline (i.e. distance and stationary) sales, which is not the case in current policy proposals, such as the European Commission proposal for a Directive on contracts for tangible goods. To download the full position paper, please click here.
 European Commission’s Digital Scoreboard 2016
 Ecommerce Europe’s Survey Barriers to Growth (2015)
 COM/2015/0635 final – 2015/0288 (COD) – Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of The Council on certain aspects concerning contracts for the online and other distance sales of goods