Katy Phillips, E-commerce Editor, idealo UK
With increasing numbers of retailers looking to widen their customer base abroad, we looked at online shops in Germany, Spain, France, Italy and Poland to discover the key trust-building measures in each country.
Customer Reviews: Although leaving a product or shop review is de rigueur for online shoppers in the UK, this isn’t yet the case across Europe. While the majority of online shops in Polish (80%) and half of the German shops in our study displayed customer opinions on the homepage, only around 30-40% of French, Italian and Spanish retailers did so.
Trust Seals: Perhaps taking the place of customer reviews across Europe are trust seals. Particularly popular with Polish (86%) and German (78%) retailers, seals such as Trusted Shops and EHI Euro Label are present across much of mainland Europe.
Data Security: French retailers in our study placed a heavy focus on SSL encryption. 70% of the French shops advertise their SSL security on their homepage, although this can also be seen via the green padlock symbol in the browser window.
Test Certificates: Although there are various well-known test certificate providers across Europe, such as Stiftung Warentest and TÜV, these are not broadly represented by the shops in the study. Poland shows the most interest, with 42% of retailers displaying a test certificate on the homepage, but amongst the other countries’ retailers they are not nearly so prolific.
E-commerce Awards: Again it is Poland which leads the way here. Some 68% of shops in the study displayed an award certificate, along with 40% of German retailers. France, Spain and Italy appear to have considerably fewer awards, with fewer than 10% of shops displaying an award on their homepage.
As the study reveals, the variety of trust-building measures varies greatly from one European country to the next. While Poland and Germany are clearly the frontrunners in terms of the breadth of trust seals and test certificates, a retailer looking to succeed in the French ecommerce market should be aware that consumers are used to a high level of reassurance surrounding data security. The bottom line is that there is no one-size-fits-all trust solution to European ecommerce success and being aware of the most important trust-building factors in the market in which you are trading is imperative.
JAMES LOVELL, EUROPEAN RETAIL SOLUTIONS EXECUTIVE, IBM COMMERCE
Since IBM published its Digital Benchmark Report for the Christmas trading period we have now had time to further digest and analyse the findings in more detail. What is apparent from the findings is that the UK market is really leading in terms of the adoption of the mobile channel, leaving other countries lagging behind. So, what conclusions could be drawn from this?
In this instance let us take a look at France, one of Europe’s main retail economies. Interestingly, mobile commerce adoption is some way behind that of Europe with mobile sales accounting for only 12.9% of digital sales and traffic, accounting for 30.5% of all digital traffic. However, we can see from our findings that France is actually the fastest growing country for mobile adoption during the trading period, where mobile sales grew by 47.8% and traffic by 56.7% when compared to the same period in 2013.
What can we draw from this? In the first instance, consumers are now more prepared to use mobile devices as part of their shopping journey. More significantly though, we have seen huge investment coming from retailers, not just in France but also across Europe, looking to optimise the mobile customer experience and make it an inherent part of their overall brand proposition. However, French retailers still have a way to go, as bounce rates in the mobile channel are over 40%, indicating the need for improved customer experience in order to make the mobile channel more user friendly. This will also help improve conversion rates, which are still below 1%.
The other area of note was the low average order value coming from mobile devices in France, the lowest of the 5 main territories analysed in detail. Average order value in France was €43.31 compared to its neighbour Germany, where it was €73.71. It is possible that French consumers are more prepared to make lower value, impulse purchases through the mobile channel, but still prefer traditional digital or physical channels for more considered, higher value purchases.
In summary, whilst looking specifically at France, it is clear that mobile has now become mainstream, and it’s becoming imperative that retailers across Europe embrace this channel as part of their overall customer proposition to ensure that today’s empowered consumers are able to interact with them whenever and however they want.
CHLOE RIGBY, EDITOR, INTERNETRETAILING.NET
The US, China and India are among the key target markets for British ecommerce businesses looking to expand their online horizons, a new study has found.
World Business Research, working on behalf of business process outsourcing provider arvato, surveyed 78 ecommerce executives in the UK’s beauty, fashion, fast-moving consumer goods and luxury sectors and found that 37% of British firms were looking to grow their ecommerce offerings in the US.
Some 33% are targeting China, and 30% India, while 24% are concentrating on Europe for expansion. A third of the companies researched already sold on the continent.
UK firms in fashion and beauty ecommerce are set to be the most active in the US, China and India with 42% and 40% respectively planning for expansion in these markets. However, more than one in three companies across both sectors have undefined timescales for growth, with 15% looking to implement their strategies over the next one to two years.
In comparison, 24% of businesses in luxury and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) plan to develop an offering in the US, China and India, with 7% looking to expand over the next couple of years.
Tony Matthews, Head of Ecommerce at arvato UK, said: “International markets have a lot to offer British firms in ecommerce thanks to increasing activity on digital channels and a growing volume of digital savvy, middle-class consumers with high purchasing power.”
KATIE TARRANT, PROJECT EXECUTIVE, CHINA IPR HELPDESK
The internet has become a popular and easy channel for product distribution around the world. It has created a marketplace of more than half a billion users in China, more than a third of the world’s total online population, and is still expanding. Apart from being a forum for legitimate vendors and original products, the internet is also used by illegal and unscrupulous businesses as a platform for the distribution of counterfeit goods which infringe intellectual property rights (IPR). Platforms are being used for illegal activity, including: trade mark violation, sale of counterfeit products and copyright infringement. Online brand impersonators and counterfeiters create brand confusion by interfering with a company’s digital promotions, intercepting web traffic and threatening ecommerce revenues.
There are many issues that are specific to the Chinese internet retail environment that international businesses should be aware of. Companies producing intermediate or consumer goods for the Chinese market should safeguard their business via a three-step strategy: (1) registering rights, (2) monitoring ecommerce sites, and, if necessary, (3) requesting take-downs of counterfeit or infringing goods.
Registering your IP is a very important first step, even before considering internationalising to prevent infringement in the early stages, but also because IP can take around 6 months to a year to process in China. Registering is done through China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO).
Monitoring ecommerce sites will turn into a regular business practice soon. There is much discussion as to whether these sites should be responsible for policing brand infringement. It is a good idea to proactively monitor the internet yourself. A good place to start is on Alibaba and Taobao who have 700 million users worldwide.
Requesting take-downs of counterfeit or infringing goods is only possible if the company’s IP has been registered. In the event that a company spots its IP being infringed, a written take-down letter can be sent to the Internet Service Provider for review. On sites such as Taobao, this can be done through the website or AliProtect, given the company can provide proof of IP ownership.