Irish people are now able to shop online without unjustified geo-blocking wherever they are in the EU. The new rules came into force on 3rd December this week.
Geo-blocking is the practice of using territorial licensing restrictions in online and offline transactions of physical goods and the provision of electronic services. It stops customers in one country from accessing websites in other countries.
Currently some traders still make it difficult for customers from another EU Member State to buy online or to benefit from equally advantageous prices in comparison with local clients.
This news comes as figures reveal the importance for retailers of all sizes to have an online presence. According to figures announced by the IE Domain Registry research shows that while Irish businesses aren’t selling online, Irish consumers are certainly buying: two-thirds purchase consumer items online at least monthly. The survey also showed that 65% would buy more from their local shops if they offered a ‘click-and-collect’ service.
We are living in a digital age and it is so important with the amount of competition in the market now that retailers ensure they have an effective online offering. The figures show that Irish consumers are spending a lot of money online and with the festive season now in full swing it is vital that retailers ensure they are fully prepared. The survey showed that 68% of consumers believe their local high street is not equipped for the digital age.
Companies can apply for the Enterprise Ireland Online Retail Scheme which is now open for applications. The €1.25m fund is aimed at helping online retailers develop their online presence.
At the European Parliament recently we met to take stock of the progress made in breaking down the barriers to e-commerce in the EU and discuss next opportunities and challenges. Europeans can now shop online without unjustified geo-blocking wherever they are in the EU. Citizens will be able to compare parcel delivery costs more easily and benefit from more affordable prices for cross-border parcel delivery
Other proposals are being currently discussed in the European Parliament or negotiated between the institutions, such as contract rules for sale of goods and supply of digital content and the new deal for consumers. The aim is to agree on these new rules before the end of the current European Parliament legislature so that consumers and businesses take all the advantages of online commerce.
The Online Retail Scheme is open to applications from retail SMEs with 20 – 249 employees (FTEs) based across the island of Ireland, and who have a retail outlet. Further information on the Scheme and details on how to apply are available at www.enterprise-ireland.com/