The future of E-commerce in Serbia

14. June 2019.

We already wrote in our previous blogs about the specific e-commerce challenges in Serbia everyone are facing the moment they were involved in the process. It didn’t go far from its modest beginnings, but it did appeal to a couple of pioneers and enthusiasts, along with a few members of the IT community, entrepreneurs and individuals that see themselves in the field of e-commerce.

shopping cart on keyboard buttonE-commerce simply flourishes everywhere in the world, with giant turnovers and tumbling happening on the market, making a shift from traditional trading. More people, as potential entrepreneurs or those already in business, are thinking about how to become part of that development trend, now in their own country.

Launching of e-commerce business means and requires a lot of skills and knowledge – from IT, through the economy, marketing to the legislative process.

For all entrepreneurs, individuals or companies entering this area for the first time, it can be more than they can chew and a challenge they cannot properly respond.

Questions arising here are – who will to educate them, where to find information, how to protect their own trade interests and how to solve emerging problems?

E-commerce association Serbia

This week, a website E-Commerce Association Serbia launched, a domestic project supported by significant e-commerce names and parts of the IT community. Association gathers membership of all relevant factors in electronic trade, interested to:

  • Learn more about e-commerce
  • Representing community’s interests
  • Promotion and investing in their visibility
  • Networking
  • Following all relevant regulation

online shopping and delivery conceptThe intent behind and common purpose of this association is a promotion of safe Internet trade, regulation process curation and the development of e-commerce with educating all members, from traders representatives to consumers.

According to their statement, "E-Commerce Association Serbia - ECS gathered the best experts from the e-commerce industry, to implement all Associations goals through its Board".

This means thoroughly informing the community on the existing state of Serbian market – what are we facing, who is on which development level, who is ready to learn, develop and raise standards for e-commerce business in Serbia, to become an equal a part of this global business model.

How is this possible?

One of the ideas is that a certain number of already known and recognized experts from areas of e-commerce engage in education and offer some incentives to e-commerce beginners, whether they are individuals or small companies. In a kind of a mentoring process, they will help future traders with their own experience, advice and suggest improvements, in order to simplify the procedures and escape unnecessary beginners’ problems.

teamworkIt does not sound bad, neither too much optimistic, having in mind all drawbacks of low developed markets like Serbian, from misunderstanding with other participants in the process to persistence and sustainability of this endeavor.

The regulatory framework in which e-commerce is to operate is not established in full. We are still waiting on the adoption of Draft Law on Trade and the Draft Law on Amendments and Additions on the Law on Electronic trade. These laws are important for the process because they would be recognizing important e-commerce terms like dropshipping, e-shops and expressing prices in other currencies.

Starting off any e-commerce based business, without regulation of these important items is almost impossible, and most entrepreneurs were too much scared of getting into these waters so far.

Getting the right legal and other advice was too difficult and consumed a lot of time and money. However, no one could guarantee the outcome, right because of the flawed legal regulations system, slow public sector and lack in coordination from all e-commerce ecosystem actors.

The solution is in raising standards

All of the factors, starting from traders which sell goods, countries that guarantee purchasing safety and guarantees the consumers right, couriers service doing their part responsibly, must make a step further to increasing e-commerce standards. Why? Because this is their business model of choosing, in which they invested certain resources and with a huge potential growth and profit opportunities. It’s what all relevant reports on e-commerce are pointing out, starting from the USA to the EU market.

Bigger security for consumers, safe payments (including completely electronic payments), return policy, professional courier service - all is basic prepositions for growth and development of e-commerce in Serbia. The main thing which attracts all participants in this process is interest, a big amount of money still waiting on Serbian consumers' credit cards. Will someone take a step in the right direction in attracting still suspicious Serbian consumer, and provide a safe and timely service, depends on the people participating in the process.

And will they embrace the opportunity to unite and lift the standards of e-commerce in Serbia, remains to be seen in the following period.