Enterprise Europe Network

E-commerce: how to crack online sales in Europe

e_commerce market in the European Union

For retail companies, digital transformation is a do or die. Digitalisation is an opportunity that should not be missed by any business that wants to become more competitive and grow in Europe and beyond, in particular Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

Most companies can now open a virtual outlet in any country in a few minutes and start earning revenue within the hour. E-commerce also offers new and exciting opportunities for traditionally brick and mortar retailers.

However, as technologies and practices develop and differ from one market to another, small businesses face a myriad of dilemmas:

  • How do you respond to new shopper expectations?
  • How do you bridge digital and physical shopping experiences – and why is it important anyway?
  • How can you transform the retail experience to get ahead of competitors?
  • How do you cater for shoppers in different markets?

How to make e-commerce work for your business

To thrive in a highly competitive environment, companies need to build a customer relationship around a customer-centric offering. But, above of all, they need to make sure they can rely on expert advice. That's why, within the Enterprise Europe Network, our group of retail experts has set out to help businesses take the right steps towards digital transformation.

We started by looking at the customer’s experience country by country. As we gathered valuable insights and knowledge, we decided to put together an e-commerce guide designed to help make the first successful steps in e-commerce. It offers an overview of the latest practices and technologies in Europe and practical tips for businesses.

What's in our guide on e-commerce

The guide gives practical insights on:

  • the e-commerce market in the European Union
  • how to start selling online
  • options of e-commerce solutions with concrete examples
  • country factsheets with market characteristics and tips for implementation

Like the proverbial journey of a thousand miles, our guide started with small steps. It has now grown into a fully-fledged toolkit carrying Enterprise Europe Network’s vision for the retail sector.

As market transitions are getting faster and customer demands are evolving more quickly, we're conscious that timely innovation in digitisation is necessary. The time to act is now.

About the author

Lino Mintoff is an Enterprise Europe Network adviser, Head of Projects and Internationalisation at the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry. Working with a team of experts across Europe, Lino contributes to the Network’s efforts to support the development of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) creating business opportunities in the retail sector. In 2016 and 2017, they organised over 2500 meetings for SMEs during brokerage events and company missions. So if you're looking for some support to grow your business, they can help. Get in touch with your local Network contact point!

Updated on 28 February 2018