What’s your biggest challenge shipping goods to other countries in Europe? Is it figuring out the cost to mail goods to another country? Finding affordable and reliable shipping options? Having your packages subject to unexpected fees at the border? Or maybe your items just get stuck in customs, and you have no idea why.
International shipping can be difficult for Etsy shop owners, yet the opportunities are huge. For the price of an Internet connection, you can now reach a global market of consumers. Unfortunately, shipping laws haven’t kept up with technology, and many independent, creative businesses face major challenges when shipping goods outside of their home country.
The European Commission recently recognized that the laws need to be updated. Its new strategy—broadly known as “The Digital Single Market”—places a strong focus on e-commerce and seeks to reduce the barriers European entrepreneurs face when building their businesses online.
The Commission has identified cross-border parcel delivery as a barrier to e-commerce in Europe that it would like to address. We couldn’t agree more. A more simple, reliable and affordable system for shipping goods across borders would help Etsy shop owners reach new markets and provide a better experience for buyers, too.
The Commission recently launched a public questionnaire on this subject, to help understand the current problems with cross-border shipping Europe — and how they might be fixed. If you have experienced excessive delivery costs and delays when selling across borders within Europe, this is an important opportunity to raise these problems with those who have the power to address them.
If you currently sell goods to other European countries, we encourage you to take the time to complete this questionnaire. It will only take a few minutes, and you have the option for your answers to remain completely anonymous. (You do not need to be signed up to the EU Transparency register in order to complete the questionnaire.)
The deadline for responding is 29 July 2015.
This is an amazing opportunity for you to have a real impact on the laws that impact your business everyday. If you do participate, let us know in the comments.
The more participants from the Etsy community, the greater the likelihood that our voices will be heard!
Althea Erickson leads Etsy’s advocacy and policy work, educating government folks about our sellers and pitching policy ideas to support them. She also runs a little shop called Brooklyn Assembly, where she sells DIY kits that make it super easy to make awesome, personal objects with your hands.