Defining cross-border differences

Author: Robin Bevan

Categories: Online Shopping
Tags: Javelin Group
Robin Bevan: "The model is likely to remain a little bit different across countries for quite some time.  So first of all, why is the UK so high?  Well, we think there are probably four main reasons behind that.  So one is a relatively affluent population with a lot of people with broadband access online.  So that’s not unique to the United Kingdom.  So you know, for example, Germany’s very high in that regard.  But another aspect is the centralisation of retail.  And that’s quite a big defining difference between countries.  So in the UK, we have a tradition of sort of what we would call command and control retail companies, so centrally organised, multiple businesses.  In countries where, for example, franchising is a big part of the retail mix or buying groups, and this is true in a lot of European countries, the ability to, if you like, distribute an e-commerce model through those organisations, is much harder to achieve and there’s lots of very real obstacles to achieving that.

But there are other differences too.  So another one is the density of population.  So in the UK, grocery e-commerce has been really the driving force behind the development of multichannel shopping in the UK, because of the density of population here.  We’re sort of uniquely positioned for grocery online to work effectively, because ultimately it all comes back to the practical things like how many drops you can achieve from one van.  In a country like France for example, same population but two and half times the landmass, you simply don’t have those same densities of population, so consequently the multichannel model that works in France is likely to remain slightly different to the model here.  So in France for example, there’s been a very fast development of sort of pickup points for e-commerce, so sort of slightly centralised points where a consumer would still do a bit of the job, go and get parcels or a delivery that are being provided by one of the retailers.  So not quite the warehouse to door type delivery model which is becoming typical in the UK."

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