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Last year, Belgian trade association BeCommerce launched a project called Ezyshop. At least 2,140 companies signed up to receive individual coaching sessions. According to the organization, Belgian retailers need extra support and the government should help.
Ezyshop was launched last year by BeCommerce, Bol.com and Mastercard to help Belgian SME’s take their first steps online. Companies looking for extra help to professionalize their online store could apply. Many applications came from businesses that had to shut their physical stores during lockdowns.
At least 13 percent of the companies that applied operate in the sector ‘Health and Beauty’ and 10 percent operate in ‘Food and Drink’. “The online food- and drink sector has become more popular since the pandemic”, says Sofie Geeroms, managing director at BeCommerce.
‘Businesses followed consumer behavior and adapted to it.’
“Consumers bought 55 percent more provisions online in 2021 than a year before. This year, that is expected to grow with 15 percent more. We think it is a good sign that new ecommerce businesses know the needs of the market this well. They have followed consumer behavior and adapted to it. Even large retailers do this, just look at the new delivery service of supermarket chain Delhaize.”
2,140 registrations for project
According to the founders, a total of 2,140 companies have already signed up for the project. Registration is possible until the end of November this year. According to Geeroms, the great interest shows that there is a demand for professionalization.
‘In 2021, 5,985 new online stores were launched in Belgium.’
Earlier research showed that 5,985 new online stores were launched in Belgium in 2021. This is a growth of 13 percent. The number of Belgian sales partners on Bol.com has also more than doubled in two years from 2,600 to 5,400. “Entrepreneurs can always use an extra push, especially after the severe COVID-19 crisis and in these financially difficult times”, says Oscar Hundman, director of ecommerce at Bol.com.
“We believe in the power of collaboration. We see that a platform often complements other sales channels, such as their own online store or a physical store. Ezyshop is therefore a meaningful project and a nice addition to the advice and insights that we already share with entrepreneurs. The digitization of the retail sector is no longer a plan for the distant future, but the reality of today.”
Government must take responsibility
“Small companies want to embrace ecommerce with open arms, but need that extra financial support to take the step. We have to wait for the government to take up its responsibility in this,” said Geeroms.
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