EC aims to improve Europe-wide delivery systems, hopes to give online retailers a boost

The European Commission (EC) has announced new plans to promote cross border e-commerce within the EU. The EC Green Paper focuses on integrated Europe-wide delivery systems, which, according to the EC, are an obstacle to SMEs, retailers and consumers in trade beyond national boundaries.

According to the EC, 57 percent of e-retailers consider cross border delivery to be an obstacle to trading, while 47 percent of consumers worry about delivery when buying online from abroad. The process will begin with an assessment of the current situation to find out where and how improvements can be made.

E-commerce is an area of particular interest to the Commission and is widely viewed as a potential motor for growth within the Union. “A flexible and well-performing EU-wide delivery system focusing on the expectations of consumers and specific needs of e-commerce will contribute directly to the enormous potential of e-commerce for boosting growth and creating jobs,” said European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier.

The EC’s aims, which appear from the statements to be SME and consumer focused, will include improving convenience, keeping costs affordable and fostering cooperation between delivery service providers and retailers. Ultimately the EC hopes it will all lead to “the creation of an EU-wide integrated parcel delivery market.”

In a recent attempt to find Romanian companies offering to sell and deliver their products abroad, we found that most Romanian online shops do not have an English version, and do not offer the option to deliver abroad. The largest local online retailer eMag does not have an English version either.

In some cases, online shops in Romania deliver abroad but only to countries where Romanians tend to go to work, such as Italy and Spain. For example, – which also has a partial English version, will deliver Romanian traditional products in several countries – starting with Italy and Spain, then France, Germany,Portugal, UK (except food), Greece, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden. The delivery is made via Atlassib, a transport company.

While for general consumer products Romanian online shops do not seem to target international audiences, a couple of online flower shops based in Romania do deliver throughout the world and have English – language versions. – a company based in Cluj Napoca and, based in Brasov, both deliver anywhere in the world.

Looking outside Romania at other EU countries, delivery by SMEs of products bought online appears pretty variable. The Museo del Jamon in Madrid, which sells high quality cured hams, chorizo and other Spanish delicacies delivers only in Spain. Like many of the Romanian firms, there is only the local language option. Wine producer Domaine Martin, in the Cote du Rhone region of France, sells wine by the bottle or in bulk online, but only delivers in France. There are however, two language options – French and English.

The UK is something of a mixed bag, some SMEs, such as manufacturer and retailer of high quality bikes Ribble Cycles, offer worldwide delivery. Bailey Guitars, which produces a range of handmade guitars also delivers worldwide. At the other end of the spectrum, The Woolclip, which sells wool and woolen clothes in the picturesque Lake District does not offer online sales at all. In County Clare, Western Ireland, for many years the Celtic T Shirt shop has been making unique clothes screen printed with designs taken from Celtic art, such as those found in the 8th century illuminated manuscript The Book of Kells. Although only a small shop in an obscure village – called Lahinch – The Celtic T Shirt shop offers online shopping and again, worldwide delivery.

Do you sell online? Do you run an SME with online sales and delivery in Romania or beyond? Would you like to expand the range of your deliveries? If so, write to Romania Insider and tell us your story.

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