Day Headlines in Shopping news: 2012-12-18

  • E-commerce in Greece: The right side of the Styx? (The Economist Online Shopping 2012-12-18 13:55:03)
    JEFF BEZOS founded Amazon in 1994. Apostolos Apostolakis and his mates started e-shop.gr, Greece’s biggest online retailer, just four years later. The comparisons end there. The Seattle juggernaut’s annual sales grow at double-digit rates; e-shop’s have been savaged by Greece’s depression. Amazon made its name selling books. E-shop was stymied by regulated book prices and shifted early into electronics. The Americans have indulgent shareholders while the Greeks were nearly undone by skimpy equity.Economic woes aside, Greece is tough terrain for online shopping. Less than half of Greeks are regular internet users compared with two-thirds of Europeans overall. More than 40% of Europeans shop online but fewer than 20% of Greeks do. Broadband connections are sparser and consumers are warier. Most refuse to submit credit-card details on line, preferring to pay cash on delivery. Islands make Greece an obstacle course for couriers.E-shop found clever fixes. It has a fleet of 50 trucks to make deliveries and collect cash (Amazon relies mainly on outsiders for last-mile logistics). Unusually for an e-tailer, it has a network of 52 shops. These do not hold stock. They are another channel for accepting payment and avoid the cost of shipping to a customer’s house. They also serve to advertise the e-shop brand.This ingenuity did not spare e-shop the ravages of Greece’s economic ...