July 20, 2011
I have a great interest in history. I always have.
I grew up in the North of England very close to Hadrian’s Wall. In fact, the remains of the Vallum (the defensive ditch dug behind the wall to keep out marauding Pictish warbands) ran through the playing fields of my high school. I grew up wondering what far-flung Legionaries had stood on that wall on cold northern nights. Imperial citizens from Rome itself. Germanic mercenaries from the Rhine. Gaulish Auxiliaries from France. A constant reminder of the diversity of people, cultures, and beliefs that made up the Roman Empire.
So history has wound on, through war and peace, trade and intrigue, to bring us to 21st century Europe. We have a European Union. A single currency. We even have a flag. So Europe is well, Europe, right?
If history has taught us one thing, it is that a massive diversity of language, currency, habits, attitudes, and beliefs thrives in Europe, and this directly affects the way in which Europeans (or rather British, German, French, Italian people, etc. — because we are all different) use the Internet to shop. What they buy online, how they pay for it, how it’s delivered, and what their service expectations are, are to some extent shaped by the eCommerce offerings of retailers within their respective countries, but in a large part are led by national culture and behavioral norms.
In European Online Retail: Adopt A Local Approach, I take a broad look at the major differences in eCommerce across Europe. I look at some of the major players and examine the influence they are having on their chosen markets, as well as consider shoppers’ preferences around payment and deliveries. I will be following this up over the coming months by looking in more depth at some of the major European online retail markets, starting with the UK later this year.
It is impossible to do justice to such a complex subject in one short doc, so think of this as a taster into why Europe is such a fascinatingly different place. And if you want to know more, you can go all the way back and start here . . .