The European Commission is co-financing a new free tool for European ecommerce companies, retailers and couriers. An investment of €300,000 has been made to develop an online platform known as Deliver in Europe. It was launched this week at the Deliver One conference in Luxembourg. “Phase One during September will involve e-logistics companies signing up to the platform database, and Phase Two, starting in a few weeks time, will be when the search engine is made available to everyone,” said founder and organiser of Deliver One, Stéphane Tomczak, revealing the initiative on 8th September at the Luxembourg conference.
He is hoping that the estimated 500,000 e-retailers across Europe will benefit from having access to information about delivery companies operating where they want to delivery. This transparency should also encourage better pricing from the logistics providers. The aim is for 3,000 to 4,000 carriers, postal services and supply chain IT companies to sign up to the directory “which will allow e-retailers to find the most suitable solution for their needs” said Tomczak.
One of the highest priorities of the Juncker Commission is to turn the EU into a digital single market, so there’s currently a big focus on improving transparency in cross-border parcel delivery. The European Commission recognises that e-delivery plays a vital role in the supply chain in an age where digital shoppers are demanding goods from further afield yet expect super-fast, affordable delivery.
Irmfried Schwimann, the European Commission Deputy Director General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (pictured left) gave a speech at Deliver One explaining how the Deliver in Europe platform is part of a wider body of EC funded research and investment into boosting cross border online shopping.
“Our finding is that today only 15% of consumers do buy across borders in Europe so the pot is untapped,” she said. “If it’s not working consumers and retailers are missing out. We want consumers to benefit from the wider choice that cross border online shopping allows, and we want companies reach a wider base. We have calculated that European consumers could save €11.7 billion per year if they shopped across borders [by finding goods at better prices].”
She said retailers looking to send parcels across borders are being held back by the high price of delivery services currently on offer across Europe, and that this was “top of the list” of problems faced by businesses looking to send to new country customers. Other problems include dealing with business regulations of different member states, tax, administration, and language issues. Her vision and the vision of the Deliver in Europe platform is to bring transparency, open up the market and give smaller logistics providers and express carriers a profile alongside the postal giants such as Royal Mail and La Poste.
“There should be more competition in the market so customers can get better prices,” said Schwimann. “This EC-funded platform will really help retailers selling online to find out more about delivery choices.”
What is the Deliver in Europe platform?
The platform will facilitate cross-border development of e-retailers. It’s a free tool which allows members to present and compare all the different solutions available – around 250,000 pieces of information on 1,000 suppliers in 28 countries. The information platform will also give SMEs effective tools to improve their bargaining power.
The platform aims to be a game changer giving SME e-retailers a level-playing field to compete more effectively in the market. The project will be conducted over 12 months in a with the Digital Transportation and Logistics Forum. Additional services and tools will be added over time.
Benefits of using the Deliver in Europe platform
The platform has been developed to make it easy for e-retailers to find the most suited e-logistics operators for their needs – whether delivery, fulfilment or supply chain technology. It will be free for logistics and courier companies across Europe to register and list themselves on the database, and free for all retail companies, or any size, to access.
“This is a database that is not restricted to EU countries,” said Stéphane Tomczak, “but is available to companies in the UK, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Turkey to be listed on and to access alongside EU countries. We’ve already found that many UK logistics and IT companies are interested in being listed here, and of course it is in the interests of all European consumers and businesses to have access to UK goods and services, delivered in the most efficient ways.”
The Deliver in Europe platform could prove to be a valuable information hub and a powerful toolbox for e-retailers wishing to fulfil shipments across Europe. If successful, it would make a lot of sense for the platform to remain live after the year-long project. Online retailers can benefit from being able to browse for the right delivery partner.
By it’s very nature e-delivery is an international business sector. Here in the UK, European-owned companies, such as DPD, DHL and Hermes, compete for business alongside UK couriers, and of course the US has long had a presence in the global market with UPS. E-delivery innovators here want a slice of the action across Europe and beyond too, as do the British retailers reaching out to new customers around the world. It makes sense for leaders within this fast-moving sector to work together to evolve easier cross-border delivery networks. In the wake of the vote to leave the EU, it’s encouraging that EU sponsored events like Deliver One are welcoming non-EU countries to forge forward in the European ecommerce space. There may be tariffs and paperwork to come, but the e-delivery sector is very much open for cross border business.
It’s clear that both EU and non-EU ecommerce companies are looking for innovative carrier and logistics partners and new ways of working. Events like Deliver One, and projects like Deliver in Europe, will help all parties connect, share knowledge and strike deals and partnerships that will speed up delivery to ever-eager consumers across the world.
- Deutsche Post DHL Group for media use only