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Uncertainty prevents some shoppers buying from overseas outlets

10 December 2015 - 09:53 by Simon Crisp

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People in the UK who are happy to carry out safe shopping online with domestic retailers are less keen to do business with sites based elsewhere in the EU, with a number of obstacles to improved cross-border commerce identified in a new report from ANEC.

The good news is that, even with a degree of uncertainty surrounding the process of purchasing items online which are being shipped from overseas, plenty of people are choosing to do so and hundreds of millions of pounds are being pumped into this market by British consumers each year.

63 per cent of respondents to the study who have made a cross-border purchase in the past said that they did so because they were looking for an item which could not be found on a UK-based site.

The majority of those questioned also said that they were often confused about the country in which a site is based, leading many to make purchases with overseas retailers, without even realising that they had done so until afterwards.

70 per cent said that the presence of the logo from TrustMark would make them more comfortable with carrying out safe shopping online with a retailer, irrespective of its location. However, there are so many different forms of security accreditation in operation across Europe that this can cause confusion and yet more uncertainty.

76 per cent said that concerns about the returns process would make them think twice about indulging in cross-border e-commerce. And others pointed out that things like slow and expensive delivery options made overseas shopping less than ideal.

In spite of this, cross-border retail is set to become increasingly important to the EU’s economy in the coming years and the UK, in particular, is a beneficiary of this activity since domestic retailers are doing well overseas.