If you trade or move goods in, around, or out of Europe, you need to pay attention to new VAT regulations which came into law this week.
As of July 1st, the European Union has removed the VAT de minimis threshold of €22 for all imports. This means that going forward, every EU e-commerce transaction will be subject to EU VAT and a Customs Declaration.
The change is in response to the rapid growth of cross-border e-commerce in recent years which meant previous EU VAT policies had become outdated and unfair to European merchants who had to pay VAT for all transactions, while merchants outside of the EU member states did not. Now all businesses – whether in the EU or not – will have to pay the same rates.
If your e-commerce business sells to customers in the EU, complying with the new regulations is essential to avoid delays and fines, and keep your customer promises. So, where should you start? As international shipping experts, we have been preparing for the changes for some time and can help your business navigate the new rules. Click here for everything you should know to avoid disruptions to your cross-border trading.
Facebook has published a new report on the evolution of e-commerce and how consumer habits have changed as a result of the pandemic.
The social media giant comments: "The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how, where and when people shop. Across the world, 81% of consumers say they’ve changed a shopping habit since the start of the pandemic, and 92% say they will continue this new behavior in the long term.” 1
Other subjects examined in the report include consumers’ data-privacy concerns when shopping online – noting that 86% of them want more transparency over how their information is used – and the growing importance of mobile commerce, with 66% of global online shoppers saying their mobile device is quickly becoming their most important shipping tool. 2
You can read the full report here.
In what is arguably unsurprising news, a recent global survey found that 42% of people feel their mental health has declined since the pandemic begun3. As a result, they are seeking more positivity and playfulness in their consumer choices.
Dr. Miguel Sicart, play scholar and author of Play Matters, says brands can use play to build emotional connections with their customers. “When we are playing, we invest ourselves emotionally in what we’re doing,” he says4. “Branding doesn’t necessarily always resonate with our emotions, but connecting to users through playfulness allows them to open up because they’re having fun and can express themselves.”
As an example, laughter has been shown to be an effective form of marketing, with 53% of Americans saying they’re more likely to remember an advert if it was funny5.
Discover other tips for improving your customer experience with our dedicated guides.
Have you ever got home from a big grocery shop only to discover you’ve forgotten one or two essential items? Well now, German start-up Flink6 will be able to help. The on-demand “instant” grocery service promises to deliver customers’ items within 10 minutes of processing their online orders. The company can offer such a fast service as it stocks a smaller range than bigger grocery stores. Currently operating in Germany, France and the Netherlands, Flink aims to expand further across Europe in the near future.
Door-to-door, on-demand services have flourished during the pandemic, as consumers seek convenient ways to receive their shopping without leaving the house. The global subscription e-commerce market, for example, is anticipated to reach US$478.2 billion by 20257.
Dutch fintech start-up Mollie8 is planning to expand further and scale its team on the back of a successful 2020. The payment processor prides itself on being “a pioneer in the payment industry.”9 It helps European webstores offer their customers all the leading payment methods – from Apple Pay to Klarna to vouchers – via a single integration. Merchants can drop Mollie’s service(s) into their webshops with one of its free plugins, or build something more personalized with one of its packages. Merchants are only charged a fee for Mollie’s services on successful transactions.
Last year, the payment facilitator processed more than 10 billion euros in transactions and it’s already on track to handle double that figure in 2021. It currently serves more than 110,000 active merchants across Europe10.
Did you know the payment services you offer your customers at checkout can boost your conversion rate? Find out which ones your e-commerce business should be offering with our exclusive guide to the new ways to pay.