Digital Transformation in Europe – 10 weeks travelling the land of amazing differences and similarities

June 1, 2016

During the last couple of months, I have had the privilege to travel a large part of Europe in in a very short space of time…..

Retail - Omnichannel, Multichannel and Ecommerce expert

In 10 weeks I have: completed 21 flights, visited 13 cities and helped over 24 countries on their Digital transformation journey!

I have been delivering a two-day Digital transformation workshop for a global consumer brand, where I have taken the leaders through a journey from “digital novice” to the start of their journey as “digital savvy” business leaders.  This is only the beginning for them, but it is a big step forward for them and their company.

Digital Maturity

Digital and Ecommerce maturity is significantly variable across Europe and this was clearly seen during my 10 weeks.  This is not unexpected, as we have differing cultures, technology and finances.  What is surprising, is that some of the less digitally mature markets had some of the most digitally aware teams – and these teams were leading some of the best practice for a global organisation.

The two main themes I noticed were:

Marketplaces (i.e Amazon, Allegro etc) – The penetration of marketplaces across Europe is varied, from the western countries, such as Germany and the UK, with a high penetration, to the Nordic countries with low penetration.  This has a significant effect on the ecommerce and digital world.  The presence of a strong marketplace, drives price and convenience.  This then forces the existing Bricks and Mortar retailers, and exiting pureplays into an ever increasing price vs convenience battle – a process which helps the customer win, and often the old style retailers will be killed off

Crossborder shopping and supply – The European market is not (in the main) constrained by borders.  There are different languages and customs, but the digital world is crossing borders and shoppers are shopping cross border with ease.  Ecommerce websites allow customers in any country to buy from any other with ease and often with speedy delivery – this means you are competing across Europe, not just with your own country.  For retailers, this also effects the supply chains, where supplies can be bought across border enabling better deals and pricing.

A few more of the main reasons for the differing states of digital transformation within European countries:

Cultural Maturity

There are so many rich cultures across Europe, and these all shone through over my 10 weeks, from the interaction of the teams, to the customs for lunch, to the charity events at lunchtime, through to the local foods.  All of these experiences made me realise that there is a lot to gain form meeting people in Europe and learning from their culture and lifestyle.

That’s it from my quick summary of my 10 week European tour.  It was a pleasure to meet so many people form so many countries and I found it a valuable experience for my own Digital journey.

How are you progressing on your Digital Journey?

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