Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

What are the main barriers or threats that prevent SMEs to go online?


SMEs have here an opportunity to shape the future of trading online, and to describe all the obstacles that apply specifically to small businesses. Have your say! What is your point of view about it?

0 users have voted.


Stevan Randjelovic's picture
One of the primary obstacles is definitely the non-existence of the Digital Single Market. E-commerce between MS is meaningless in scope and it needs to be improved. On the other hand, different market preferences ought to restrain SMEs from going online in another MS but their own. On top of it, connectivity in many MS is the key problem.
0 users have voted.
Colum Joyce's picture

Well in in Ireland it certainly is not meaningless.
75% of Irish ecommerce is cross border
85% of shoppers however would prefer to shop with an Irish online shop (if there was one and it could be found / was competitive in price and product mix.)
Cost to us: €2.6 billion a year, Lost taxes €600 Million a year
Shipments from the UK alone inbound to Ireland: 5 - 8 Million a year.

Equally there is the issue of "Cloaking". This is where a business has a .IE address but all transactions are actually carried out in another country and layered onto the local site. Revenue is recognised NOT in Ireland but in the cloaked country. (I won't illustrate the examples here : e-mail me if you want further info on this)

I am sure you will find similar significant losses and supply behaviours in other smaller EU economies.
Whose fault is it? Our own )))) It is lack of Irish ecommerce capability and marketing.

Why the smaller economies shop heavily cross border? They get better prices and more choice (Eurostat has all this info)

You must also look at the VIRTUAL products and services and the trade cross border between MS. This is factors larger than physical ecommerce BUT is not recorded in any detailed statistical analysis (You can do it by analysing credit card payments and the products bought).

So Ecommerce cross border has unintended consequences for smaller economies, benefits for the consumers in those countries and a huge retail impact on businesses in those economies. Do the benefits outweigh the costs? The Jury is still deliberating.

0 users have voted.
Sophie Fumey's picture


Thank you very much for your input. If you have any questions to ask to the Commission, do not hesitate to post them on Twitter the day of the conference and some of them should be asked during the debate on June 19th.

Best regards,



0 users have voted.
Alfonso Alonso's picture

Regarding a faster implementation of The Single Digital Market, removing barriers for business and SME's is a task in many fronts.
. To armonize the national legal and fiscal rules to go to market creating one single european register and license for business and sme's in the online arena.
. To set the european rules in order to protect the consumer's rights in the online.
. To improve the security and accuracy of the online transactions and payments.
. To remove the barriers in the isp's and networks Markets in order to accelerate the unique services, prices and conditions in thier offer and competitions.
... And finally, to speed up the creation of one single market in the main industries and sectors, mainly in banks, retailling, transport and distribution.

0 users have voted.
Marta Nagy-rothengass's picture
Several studies show that multilingualism is an important challenge for cross-border business. Please share with us your experience and success stories, but also your problems and needs hereby.
0 users have voted.
Chris Conder's picture

In my opinion one of the greatest barriers is the fact that many SMEs are rural or not near the larger urban population where telephone exchanges are situated, and they don't have a fit for purpose internet connection. Therefore they remain analogue.

0 users have voted.
Group managers
Group Participants