This week saw the European Commission launch its ‘roadmap’ for e-commerce deliveries, which it hopes will improve availability, quality and affordability of parcel delivery services across the EU, for consumers, retailers and carriers. But while the EC says it intends to set ‘tasks’ for various industry stakeholders in order to improve the cross-border delivery market, parcel and carrier manager Global Freight Solutions (GFS) believes that the rest of the continent can learn a lot from the UK’s e-commerce sector.

“Britain is regarded as being a relatively mature e-commerce market, advanced in terms of the technical aspects of how we shop and how we choose to receive those purchases,” said business development director Stephen Ferguson.

While the main focus of the roadmap is making buying things from overseas retailers easier, Ferguson believes it is more complicated for consumers than the EC may think.

“There are things, such as differences in currency, delivery culture and language, which were not mentioned by the Commission and might be regarded as unique complications when it comes to buying from retailers overseas,” he said. “They can make people wonder why they need to buy overseas when things seem to work so well at home.”

This year has seen many UK-based parcel companies launch various international services, including City Link and UK Mail. Ferguson thinks the roadmap will make retailers demand more from carriers offering cross-border delivery.

“Fundamentally, though, we know how the themes emphasised by roadmap are the very same as those which have been successfully tackled within the UK by working with retailers to provide choice at the online checkout and great standards of customer service,” he said.