site.btaOnline Traders in Balkans Still Need More Push Forward - Poll
Just 34% of online retailers in the Balkans have their own website to sell their goods through, 22% do not sell online yet but plan to start, and 21% do not plan to do so, a survey on e-trade, the challenges and expectations of owners of e-stores from the region conducted by the eCommerce Academy and MediaPost HitMail in 2022 shows. Also, 10 % of respondents rely entirely on shopping platforms such as eMag, Amazon, Skroutz, eBay for their business, and 13 % sell through both their own website and shopping platforms. Over 850 companies in the region took part in the survey.
The Academy is organizing a Balkan eCommerce Summit which will be held on April 4 and 5 at the Sofia Tech Park and will gather leading representatives of the field in the region. It will focus on presenting the latest trends and innovations in the field of e-commerce, promote the development of e-commerce in the Balkan region and create opportunities for growth and expansion of the business of online retailers.
All in all, most of the participants in the survey still miss plenty of opportunities for their own e-commerce business, Nikola Ilchev of the eCommerce Academy said in an interview for BTA. Apart from companies not being able to hit the right product to sell, there is still a lack of time, expertise and knowledge to sell more. Surprisingly, half of the companies don't have their own stores, sell through marketplaces or other means. But the good news is that among the survey respondents, more and more are seriously considering setting up their own in 2023, and that will open up new opportunities through providers of just such services - setting up online stores and websites, Ilchev said.
The survey showed that retailers who have decided to sell in neighboring countries face a number of other challenges, such as translation and localization of their website, tax and legal aspects of their business, customer service by country, delivery and marketing cases. The Balkan eCommerce Summit aims to be a platform for knowledge sharing, exchange of experience, ideas and best practices to support online businesses in those areas where Balkan merchants need support, Ilchev pointed out, as respondents cited lack of experience and budget constraints. Cross-border online sales are in the plans of almost 30% of the respondents. Only 16% currently sell in other countries. The majority, or 54%, are not making sales in other countries, nor do they plan to in the short term, the survey showed.
Cross-border trade has become increasingly topical in the last 5-6 years and with the appearance of many foreign e-traders on the Bulgarian market it became clear that a forum had to be organized to gather in one place information, specialists, service providers and traders, one that would help them sell more effectively on all Balkan markets, Ilchev said, speaking of the forthcoming event. The ambition is to make Sofia the capital of e-trade on the Balkans on April 4 and 5.
Balkan eCommerce Summit will focus on three main topics - new trends in the field such as Live Shopping, global marketplace platforms such as eBay, marketing strategies for cross-border trade, tools to improve sales, cross-border logistics solutions, as well as key trends for each Balkan market. The forum will be attended by key representatives of industry organizations or market leaders who will share the latest information from the world of online trade, Ilchev said. There will also be a large-scale expo area with more than 30 exhibitors, where companies specializing in logistics, payment tools, communication and sales optimization software, digital agencies, store creation platforms, marketplace platforms will be presented, Ilchev said.
Speakers at the forum will include representatives of eBay, Httpool (official sales partner of Facebook/Meta in the Balkans), Mediapost HitMail, euShipments, Croatian and Macedonian Association of Online Merchants, international marketing experts from CEE Digital Alliance.
The Bulgarian Startup Association (BESCO), the Bulgarian Industrial Association, the Bulgarian-Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the e-commerce associations of North Macedonia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are among the partner organizations of the forum.