16 December 2013

Achieving a truly European eCommerce market: an inspiring roundtable with representatives from the entire eCommerce value chain

On 10 December 2013, Hill+Knowlton Strategies Brussels organised a roundtable on policy developments related to eCommerce with a truly European perspective. The agenda was defined by the European Commission’s action plan, and complemented by the recently published outcomes of the European Parliament Working Group in this area. The discussion brought together 40 representatives from the eCommerce value chain including regulators, e-retailers, payment service providers and financial institutions, mobile operators as well as postal and express operators.
Achieving a truly European eCommerce market: an inspiring roundtable with representatives from the entire eCommerce value chain
In addition to the policy developments and identified barriers to a seamless cross-border eCommerce offering, the latest Eurobarometer figures were presented and discussed. Evolutions in the following domains were part of the discussion: confidence in buying on-line, presence of physical shops (brick and mortar) compared to the on-line selling place, delivery issues, and payment methods.

Keynote speeches were given by European Commission officials. The European agenda on reaping the benefits of digital contains a vast program to reach a truly internal eCommerce market across 28 member states without unnecessary restrictions.

Discussion focused on improvements in consumer protection (such as transparency on pricing and delivery issues, extension of withdrawal period to 14 days) through the implementation of the Consumer Rights Directive as of 13 December this year. It was revealed that a Commission roadmap for eRetailers and delivery operators has been adopted and is expected to be published on 16 December. Discussion with participants centred on non-legislative actions, the concept of the universal service in cross-border delivery, interoperability among delivery operators, and trustmarks.

Furthermore, the Commission provided insight on payment issues linked to eCommerce and explained its proposal for an upgraded Payment Services Directive, currently under discussion in the European Parliament. Issues linked to customer identification, better consumer protection and third party service providers were discussed as well as the importance of the new SEPA governance.

One thing was clear from the discussion among eRetailers, platforms, payment providers and delivery operators: the policy options chosen so far seem to be the right ones but all actors have to work together to make them happen.

Our H+K Strategies team is closely following the above policy developments in the eCommerce arena and can provide guidance, policy insights and public affairs and communications assistance.

Please feel free to reach out to our team in Brussels through Joost Vantomme.

Related contacts :

Joost Vantomme
Senior Advisor Public Affairs

email: joost.vantomme@hkstrategies.com