Whilst our consumer buying habits may be destroying high street shopping our love affair with e-commerce shows no sign of fading. But with online risks increasing, organisations need to consider adopting recognised legal compliance frameworks in order to mitigate their liability and get commercial advantage.
The Telegraph reports that Britain is the biggest online shopping nation in the developed world, with almost two-thirds of adults using the Internet to buy goods or services. This is twice the average of the OECD’s 34 member states, which include the US, Germany, Australia and France.
We spent £68.2 billion on the Internet in 2011, an increase of almost £10 billion on 2010, according to IMRG, a body which represents the UK’s online retailers. This is equivalent to £2,180 for every adult in the country.
The IMRG’s Mr Mulcahy said: “The UK is the most sophisticated and most competitive market in the world. We have good infrastructure in place. UK retailers account for a third of the cross-border trade in Europe.”
But what the figures don't reveal is the percentage of total sales earned by UK based e-commerce companies alone. And with recent public criticism of companies such as Google, Amazon and Starbucks avoiding their fair payment of UK corporate tax it begs the question how much of today's spend is helping the country climb out of its economic quagmire?
Yet, the good news is that online consumer spending is also up in many other countries, including Denmark, Norway, Korea and the Netherlands. A great opportunity then for UK companies to sell into these markets! And giving your customers trust and confidence in your website and other online activities surely gives you commercial advantage over those competitors who don't quite get it.
Managing legal risk
Online business is global business. Local laws and regulations may affect businesses anywhere in the world where they have an online presence. This means making sure our laws and regulations are enabling for e-commerce companies. Small and medium sized organization (SMEs) are facing many compliance issues around their ability to do business electronically: Health and Safety rules; Environmental regulations; Quality performance (SHEQ); ICT Security and Data Protection and other standards at local, national and international levels.
In fact there is no area of business where compliance is not an issue.
Growing competition from other digital nations requires us to keep innovating, not just in developing our products and services but also in how we deliver them to the market place. SMEs particularly need knowledge, experience and methods to support them in better managing their everyday management operations and maintenance.
Can we provide a clear, scalable and adaptable structure to establish communities founded on a collaborative model, bringing specialist knowledge and expertise together to define and manage legal risk, as well as get commercial advantage? A model based on the concept of a collaborative working environment and community building, which treats the collective wisdom and exchange of experience between public and private bodies, consultants and their SME customers, associations and their members, as societal asset or “common good”?
Yes we can! And the creation of such communities can accelerate and increase the development of innovative solutions to solve the sectoral problems through the collective experience and talent of the consultant and specialist community.
Commercial advantage achieved by adopting a dynamic legal framework that touches all parts of the business! I'll tell you more shortly...