eBay’s Public Policy Lab launches a new report looking at how the online platform model of commerce supports the internationalization and growth of small businesses in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
Traditionally, commerce over distance has come with significant costs. This impeded the ability of most micro and small firms to participate directly in international markets, and even to serve customers throughout large national markets. We have seen this manifested in the European context in limited participation by micro, small and medium sized enterprises in cross-border commerce within the Single Market. It has also disadvantaged enterprises, especially small ones, situated further from central economic hubs, creating challenges for broad-based and balanced economic development.
The research discussed in the report provides robust and concrete data sets demonstrating the real world behaviour of platform-enabled enterprises, and points to tangible opportunities within the reach of those looking to harness the economic and social benefits of an inclusive European marketplace. However, ensuring widespread access to these opportunities requires political willpower and action to reduce the costs for small, remote retailers in relation to parcel delivery and VAT, protect the right of small firms in particular to use the online commerce platform model, and guarantee the ability of platform providers to innovate and serve large, diverse customer bases.