Why we’re reluctant to become e-retailers

With many small businesses and freelancers reluctant to become e-retailers, we look at why we’re still scared of online shopping.

A new study has revealed that while we might be a nation of shopkeepers, we’re not keen on becoming a nation of online shopkeepers.

The European Commission report found that just over half (52%) of all UK-based retailers are happy selling their goods online. When you compare this to Greek businesses – where 8 in 10 are happy being e-retailers – it paints a worrying picture.

E-commerce is the fastest growing retail market in Europe and North America, according to Retail Research, so avoiding it means UK companies might be missing out on vital business.

Online sales in Western Europe and Poland grew from £174.76 billion in 2015 to £201.90bn in 2016.

The 3 main reasons behind our reluctance to become e-retailers are…

1. Fraud
UK companies are worried about doing business with other businesses and whether they are legitimate enterprises. Online fraud can be hard to spot, especially if you’re not familiar with the local market, or a country’s customs.

The key is to do research before committing to anything. If you feel that it’s not 100% above board, don’t go ahead.

The European Commission has equipped both customers and companies with the ability to get their money back if something does goes wrong, even when buying from another country.

2. Payment
Again, this comes down to a matter of trust. Many UK companies fear they will not get paid when selling cross-border to consumers in other EU countries. Using services like PayPal can help as they will hold your money until the deal is done.

It’s also worth brushing up on your consumer rights. Only 44% of UK retailers were aware of their basic consumer rights. These include the rights to return a product bought at distance within 14 days without giving any reason, to a replacement and/or the repair of faulty product, and to neither pay nor return unsolicited products.

3. Different rules
Finally, a big issue for UK retailers was the varying rules when selling abroad. These included different tax rules, national contract laws, differences in national consumer protection rules, and potentially higher costs for solving disputes cross-border.

This can be difficult, so make sure you do your research, or bring in a specialist in European trade law to give you a few pointers.

The European Commission has made a proposal to modernise rules for digital contract and to harmonise contract rules for online sales of goods.

Once you become a bit more familiar with the laws and aware of potential scams, it becomes a lot easier to start trading online.


Posted by The Secret Businessman