CNP Expo: Not as Simple as it Seems

May 19, 2015

CNP Expo: Not as Simple as it Seems In cross-border e-commerce, most think Europe is a safe place to start. A Tuesday afternoon panel demonstrated why that is not necessarily the case. ModusLink’s Global Managing Director of Payment and Financial Management Services Andre Malinowski began by pointing out that a country hoping to move into Europe must support at least five different languages. He suggested that companies looking to expand to Europe “should have a plan or strong partner to see if you should test the waters with one country or start across multiple countries.”

Ralf Gladis, co-founder and managing director of Computop, agreed, saying, “There is no ‘Europe’—there are a lot of countries in Europe, each with its own local laws and payment habits.”

Moderator Peter Caparso, chief commercial officer of BlueSnap, noted that many merchants think it will be simple because most European countries use PayPal and credit cards, as we do in the U.S. “But if you just take PayPal and credit card, you are leaving money on the table, because there are other alternatives in the EU that are used locally, and if you don’t accept those, people will buy elsewhere.”

PAY.ON’s Vice President of Sales and Business Development Adam Bowman reminded merchants who are seeking out fast-growing markets in Europe that “it’s more important to ask, what are the open markets where I can get in and compete and win, provided I do everything right? Some countries are more difficult to get into than others, regardless of how their economy is doing.” Gladis agreed and commented that even when it comes to a country like Greece, “e-commerce might do quite well despite the depressed economy, because people facing lower wages and pension want to compare prices.”