The EU4Digital Facility showcased the eCommerce pilot for the cross-border automated exchange of eCommerce data between Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Germany during a virtual event held on 9 June.
The virtual showcase, held back to back with the 10th eTrade Network Workshop, gathered more than 40 participants from Eastern partner countries as well as the European Union. Among the participants were: EU Delegation representatives, members of the eCommerce working group, EU4Digital eCommerce experts, and various participants from the Eastern partner ministries, public organisations, as well as private companies, including national postal operators, ministries responsible for digital agenda, international standardisation bodies, and others.
EU4Digital Facility Deputy Team Leader Ruta Salvyte-Tamosiuniene introduced the event, which offered a practical look at the eCommerce pilot. The aim of this event was to visualise step by step how the automated and electronic exchange of eCommerce data takes place between retailers, marketplaces, delivery operators and customs, via the piloted solution – the virtual warehouse. EU4Digital senior experts Walter Trezek and Volodymyr Kovalenko presented the process between the pilot countries.
The eCommerce pilot was launched in May-June 2021, when SMEs from the pilot countries placed their goods for sale in Germany and after purchase automatically exchanged product data with delivery operators and customs.
The showcase highlighted the technical aspects of the process, such as the pilot concept, requirements for eCommerce data to enable electronic exchange with the EU, as well as the key benefits of the piloted virtual warehouse that enables such electronic exchange with the EU and the UPU network of 192 countries.
Also, pilot participants reflected on their experience, and highlighted the importance of the initiative for the development of cross-border eCommerce in smaller markets like Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia:
- Aykhan Gadashov, the representative of the national marketplace of Azerbaijan Azexport, highlighted that the pilot demonstrated how the speed of eCommerce transactions may be increased via automatic and electronic exchange of product data.
- Sopio Tvalavadze from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development thanked EU4Digital for the support in raising awareness and giving practical experience in cross-border eCommerce.
- Two sellers from Georgia – RKO and Funduki highlighted that for SMEs from smaller countries like Georgia the pilot provided a seamless way to tap into the EU market. The piloted solution allowed with only few clicks to list their goods on eBay in Germany. Now the sellers look forward to listing on other marketplaces in the future to diversify product portfolio for buyers in the EU.
- Karapet Elchibekyan from the national postal operator in Armenia highlighted how automated and electronic exchange of product data can speed up logistics to meet expectations of buyers for fast delivery.
The pilot participants shared their positive feedback and looked forward to the further implementation and scale up of the piloted solution. The pilot activity will be followed by recommendations from the EU4Digital Facility focused on two main priorities: 1) rollout and scale – i.e. how countries can migrate from the test environment to full use of the eCommerce virtual warehouse; and 2) learn and reuse – i.e. how other Eastern partner countries could benefit from this pilot and adopt the same solution.