Serbia - ECommerceSerbia - ECommerce
The legal framework for e-commerce in Serbia includes the E-Commerce Law (2013), Electronic Document Law (2009), and the Electronic Signature Law (2008). Changes to the financial regulations relevant for e-commerce have been implemented only partially. While an exception was introduced in the law for e-services, allowing Serbian citizens to open accounts with foreign e-payment providers such as PayPal, the foreign exchange framework is restrictive. The new Consumer Protection Law, adopted in 2014, contains provisions concerning business relations over the internet. The Serbian Ministry of Trade, Tourism, and Telecommunications announced the adoption of a new e-commerce law, which shold replace the digital signature law, by the end of 2017.
Statistics regarding the use of computers, broadband penetration, and e-commerce are improving. According to Internet World Stats (IWS), nearly 60 percent of Serbians are frequent users of the Internet. Informal estimates from the NBS indicate that the number of e-commerce transactions in Serbia exceeded 2 million in 2016, of which more than a half through foreign websites, worth around $ 300 million. Due to the increased awareness of the consumer and the demand, B2C sites and has increased in the past few years. Today there are banking, bill payment, consumer products and grocery shopping through Serbia.
Despite increased interest in E-Commerce, there are some key factors that drive Serbia away. They include:
- User Resistance – Users may not trust the site being an unknown, faceless seller. Such mistrust makes it difficult to make users switch from physical stores to online/virtual stores.
- No Free Shipping – Free shipping is rarely offered to Serbian customers
- Higher prices – Some products will cost more with shipping/customs/VAT/tax.
- Limited Selection – Some products are not available for shipment to Serbia
- Difficult Customer Service – Customer service is more difficult for less technical-savvy individuals because of language and/or time zone barriers.
- Unreliable lead-time - Lead times are not always accurate because the local postal service is slow and difficult to monitor and track
- Nearby Physical Stores – Strong competition by local nearby stores.
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