The end of unjustified geo-blocking will encourage eCommerce across EU borders, along with more transparent parcel delivery prices, stronger consumer protection and simplified VAT rules.
European citizens can now enjoy the freedom of shopping for goods and services online across the EU, putting to an end unjustified discrimination based on location. This is according to digital commerce consultancy Tryzens, which also argues that the new regulation will allow European online retailers to grow and innovate.
Andy Burton, CEO, Tryzens, stated: “According to EU research, only 15% of Europeans buy products from online shops based in another EU country. One of the reasons is precisely because of ‘geo-blocking’ practices. This new regulation will lift such restrictions and unlock eCommerce for the benefit of both consumers and retailers.
“Under the terms of the new regulation, online retailers will be obliged to give people access to goods and services on the same terms across the whole EU, wherever they may be shopping from,” he continued.
Ending unjustified geo-blocking is part of the EU’s efforts to encourage commerce across borders, along with more transparent parcel delivery prices, stronger consumer protection and simplified VAT rules.
The EU has defined geo-blocking as any restriction imposed by online stores based on nationality, place of residence, establishment or place of connection.
Burton continued: “Customer discrimination goes beyond that. It is also possible that your means of payment, e.g. credit cards, won’t be accepted at the checkout of a different EU country. It can even go as far as preventing a customer from being able to register on the website.”
There may of course be justified reasons for merchants not to sell abroad, such as higher international shipping costs or the need to register at the foreign tax authority.
Yet discrimination between EU consumers based on the wish to segment markets along national borders to increase profits to the detriment of foreign customers is unjustified geo-blocking, according to the new Directive.
“The geo-blocking move will force online businesses to sell products to EU buyers regardless of their country of residence. Today international eCommerce is the biggest growth opportunity for retailers. While there are eCommerce tools that make localisation and selling internationally hassle-free, an automated cross-border sales solution will allow retailers to grow and test international markets,” continued Burton.
“The new rules should put an end to customers being blocked from accessing goods and services online based on their IP address, postal address or country. We’re excited as this will present retailers and brand owners with a huge boost in cross-border eCommerce.” he concluded.