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Do business in the Nordics, prepare for the Digital Single Market, and monetise the elderly


In the wake of the UK General Election result, the issue of a European exit referendum is back on the agenda.
Europe is on the agenda here at eDelivery, too. One of the reasons is that, although it generated a good many fewer headlines, last week also saw the publication of the EU Commission’s Digital Single Market report.

With a clear mission to “tear down regulatory walls and finally move from 28 national markets to a single one” the Digital Single Market takes on board digital commercial services, online shopping, VAT rates, and cross-border delivery.

One part of Europe that is already seemingly quite comfortable with cross-border delivery is the Nordic region. And for the avoidance of any doubt or confusion, the Nordic region comprises Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. It’s not the same thing as Scandinavia, which is made up of Denmark, Norway and Sweden only.

Across the Nordics, 40% of online shoppers buy from businesses based in other countries – the UK being one of the main beneficiaries of that trade.

We have a breakdown of a report from PostNord – one of the main providers of postal, delivery and logistics services in the Nordic region – which looks at ecommerce and delivery in the first quarter of 2015. This is a region that has good ecommerce adoption rates, and you can see many parallels and similarities with the UK.

That can even be seen with the increasing demand among online Nordic shoppers for more choice when it comes to delivery – speed of delivery is becoming relatively less important.

We also have a viewpoint article from Annemarie Gardshol, Head of E-commerce at PostNord, which takes us through some of the main points of the report, ‘E-Commerce in the Nordic Region’.

Elsewhere in eDelivery, we take a look at something that has the potential to become one of those next-big-thing moments in the industry. Trials are taking place in Germany and the US to determine the suitability of car boots as parcel drop locations, easing the burden on the last mile and reducing failed delivery rates. Who’s involved in those trials? I’m glad you asked. Audi, Volvo, DHL and Amazon. We all know what happened when Amazon started its drone trials, so don’t be surprised if the humble car boot becomes the next-big-thing.

Curing the afflictions of the last mile will require a multi-headed approach, of course. There’s probably room for your car boot. But might there also be room for something that goes a few steps further and addresses a problem facing society in general, while at the same time helping with the issue of deliveries?

One man thinks so, and we’ve been talking to him. Hugo Pickford-Wardle is the chief innovation officer of a design and innovation consultancy called Matter. Among other things, Matter helped created the iPad app used by The Times newspaper. Hugo thinks there’s an untapped resource down almost every street – the elderly, many of whom struggle with loneliness, isolation and a desire to do something that feels useful. Oh, and of course, they’d get paid for their services.

Could an enterprising carrier join forces with a charity working with the elderly to trial that kind of service, and kill two birds with one stone? In a world where you can go online and rent someone else’s home rather than a hotel, or park on someone else’s driveway rather than a car park, surely all that’s missing is the will to do good things.

Finally, if you haven’t already, why not subscribe to eDelivery and get our weekly newsletter summarising the main stories we’ve covered – you’ll find details on that here.

You can also join our LinkedIn group for analysis and networking as it happens, or if you want your updates in real-time find us on Twitter @edeliverynet.

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