Bringing SMEs onto the E-Commerce Highway

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This publication studies e-commerce-related policies that affect SMEs’ engagement in cross-border e-commerce. It identifies the bottlenecks and requirements of e-commerce participation and presents examples of best practices in regulating cross-border e-commerce. This work addresses competitiveness issues in each segment of the cross-border e-commerce process chain, including establishing business online, international e-payment, cross-border delivery and aftersales services. It provides a checklist of the essential ingredients for SME success in cross-border e-commerce, by examining enabling factors at the firm level, immediate business environment level and national policy level. The publication also reviews global cross-border e-commerce and offers a deeper analysis of selected economies. This work serves as a starting point for a public private dialogue on e-commerce, especially for SMEs in developing countries.




E-commerce is transforming the global business landscape at an unprecedented speed. The first ecommerce transaction on a commercial website was recorded only 21 years ago, in 1995, and involved the sale of a broken laser pointer on AuctionWeb, the predecessor of eBay, for US$ 14.83.2 In 2013, global business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce sales were valued at US$ 1.2 trillion and are estimated to reach US$ 1.92 trillion by the end of 2016. Billions of transactions are completed each day on the Internet, and ecommerce is redefining business competitiveness, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)..


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