E-commerce: eleven challenges for the European market

E-commerce: eleven challenges for the European market

The international health crisis has demonstrated the ability of consumers to turn to online shopping. But according to the European E-Commerce Federation (Ecommerce Europe), also shows the industry’s technical and regulatory limitations. At the beginning of this year 2021, it listed 11 issues that the European online market will have to resolve in the coming months.

1. Seamless shopping

And the first point is not surprising, as it is about “seamless shopping”. Ending the distinction between physical and online commerce. Ecommerce Europe hopes to treat both channels equally by moving towards common rules. This will make it easier for players to develop both their physical and online presence. This will provide a seamless experience for customers while easing the burden on sellers. Some entities in European countries (including France) should be interested in the desire for consistency. Where the taxation of e-commerce warehouses is considered unfair.

2. Encouraging innovation

Ecommerce Europe also calls on the EU to support the innovation of European market players. While supporting their competitiveness inside and outside the EU.

3. Levelling the playing field

This demand for innovation is linked to the next point. Which aims to level the playing field between European and non-European players. The latter offers European customers many products that do not comply with local requirements. This creates untenable competition at a time when cross-border sales are exploding.

4. Sustainable development

Sustainability is not forgotten, with Ecommerce Europe arguing that the fourth challenge is to put sustainability at the heart of the European strategy. Building on the requirements already applied to online retailing. “To support SMEs in the EU and to strengthen the single market in the form of an omnichannel commerce environment, we advocate a revision of the current requirements in the spirit of further harmonization and simplification of the rules.

5. Data security

In terms of data security, the confederation believes that discussions are not progressing fast enough. It points out that, although retailers have made commitments in this area. Many points have not been properly studied, “creating more confusion than essential legal clarity”. In particular, the need to align the rules on personal data protection with the regulation on data protection is mentioned. Harmonization must also be achieved with regard to European digital taxes, which were theoretically debated at the end of June 2021.

6. Delivery regulation

Another harmonization demanded is that of the regulation of deliveries, and in particular the payment of VAT on these orders. The “VAT Ecommerce Package” voted by Brussels will require portals to guarantee payment of taxes as of July. This will limit fraud from non-European portals.

As this rule has only recently come into force, it is not yet well understood by consumers. And it is noticeable that the after-sales service has increased with regard to questions related to this subject.

7. Payment solutions

Ecommerce Europe also calls on Brussels to support the emergence of pan-European payment solutions, while encouraging the interoperability of secure devices in the common market.

8. AI

The EU is also called upon to support initiatives in terms of artificial intelligence and data sharing. In order to ensure technological independence from other large markets.

9. Simplification of administrative obligations

Ecommerce Europe also hopes to obtain a simplification of administrative obligations for European SMEs in the sector. In particular, in a troubled period when many small physical businesses have quickly had to turn to online sales. At the same time, they are confronted with complex and varying legislation in different European markets.

10. Financial support

The confederation, which stresses that SMEs are at the center of its current strategy, also calls for these companies to be financially supported in this digital transition.

11. Investing in logistics infrastructure

The eleventh and final point raised by Ecommerce Europe also concerns this transition. It wants the EU to invest in logistics and digital infrastructures. Both sustainable and affordable to support this omnichannel growth of small players. The latter also want appropriate training schemes to rapidly develop their know-how in this area.


The challenges facing the European online market this month are significant. But with the right help, they can be tackled with confidence.

Powerlab is a pioneer in European e-commerce. We know these challenges well and can help you to tackle them better.

So don’t be shy and contact us. We would be delighted to talk to you. You can also leave us a comment and we will respond quickly.

Do you like the articles on European e-commerce? Or do you just want to know more? Take a look at these articles, you might like them.

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