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US e-retailers get tips for succeeding in EU markets
Jun '12


US e-retailers should take note of several points before entering the European market space, speakers at a global e-commercesummit held in Barcelona, Spain, said.
The points discussed at the summit included knowledge of country-specific consumer laws, understanding of payment systems and customs of the new country, among others.
According to French e-commerce association (Fevad) Director, Marc Lolivier, language is the key for any foreign e-retailer to succeed in the French market, as French audience is reluctant to struggle with any other language while shopping.
It is very unlikely that a badly translated French language website would succeed amongst French consumers, he added. 
Carine Moitier, Co-Founder of custom-shirt e-retailer Bivolino.com, said it is often observed that French and Dutch businesses believe that they can succeed in Belgium merely by launching a .be web shop, while not completely focusing their sites on the country’s Flemish, French and international communities.
Ms. Moitier advised that if one is not confident of being able to deliver in the correct native language, it would be prudent to not take any chances.
She also stressed on the need for adapting the online payment systems as per customer preferences. For example, Belgium customers mostly prefer Bancontact system, under which the shoppers can pay for online purchases by debiting their bank accounts.
Germans are usually conservative and hence, e-retailers planning to cater to them must first try to win their trust, suggested Henning Heesen, Country Manager of Salesupply Germany, a global outsourcing company offering online business support services.
He advised the retailers to provide a German look and feel to their online shop, offer preferred payment systems, unambiguous terms and conditions and German-language customer service.
Further cautioning about the rigorous consumer privacy laws and labelling regulations for products like textiles in Germany, Mr. Heesen said the retailers should thoroughly study the German market before deciding on entering the same.
Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands also have equally stringent consumer right laws and there are heavy fines for infringement of these laws, other speakers noted.
Though it may be difficult for the foreign firms to understand and abide by rules of European countries, they can obtain free guidance from ombudsman, experts said. 
They further advised the retailers to not to display any trust mark logo, unless they have officially appliefor the same. They stressed on effective customer services, as in times of quick social media, a bad impression takes no time to spread.
Regarding online payment in the Netherlands, experts said, only 10-12 percent of online customers in Netherlands prefer paying through credit or debit cards, while 60 percent prefer banking system iDeal, which allows them to pay through their own bank.

Fibre2fashion Newsdesk - India

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