“LET’S DO ECOMMERCE”
The first conference on e-commerce in B&H called “Let’s do eCommerce” was held on March 16th this year at the Hills Hotel in Sarajevo, organized by the Association for Internet Sales “eComm” in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The conference gathered more than 250 key players in the eCommerce industry in B&H and the region, providing a unique opportunity for participants to learn from the inspiring stories of the most successful entrepreneurs from the eCommerce industry.
The topics of the conference included technological solutions for online shopping, the authenticity of big brands in eCommerce, as well as the financial and regulatory framework of the industry.
Alma Ahmić, executive director of the Association for Internet Trade “eComm” in Bosnia and Herzegovina, stated that the association is a non-profit organization established with the aim of promoting and supporting the development of eCommerce in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and this conference represents a significant step towards achieving that goal.
The conference provided valuable insights and actionable advice on how to drive eCommerce growth in the country, as well as how to address the unique challenges and opportunities the sector presents. The Market Makers project supported by the Government of Switzerland for the employment of young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been following the activities of the Association since its foundation and Dinka Majanović, head of investments of the MarketMakers project, adds:
“We are a proud partner of the ‘eComm’ Association from the very beginning, as well as this conference, which will be a central place for exchanging information about eCommerce and digitalization with bright examples from BiH and the region on how to successfully become part of the e-market. The goal of the MarketMakers project is the development of modern workplaces and the employment of young people, and we saw the value of investing in eCommerce as an opportunity for our young people to find interesting and well-paid jobs in this sector.”
In cooperation with experts from the company Valicon and the aforementioned MarketMakers project, she conducted the first eCommerce survey with the largest sample so far – with over 3 thousand respondents – which gave a detailed insight into the eCommerce market in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Matjaž Robinšak, director of research at the company Valicon, revealed at the conference that although the use of the Internet is high, the penetration of online shopping in Bosnia and Herzegovina is still low. However, expectations are that this will change in the coming years, as happened ten years ago in Slovenia and Croatia. The potential for growth exists, however, citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina currently use the Internet mainly for social networks.
The future of online shopping in BiH does not lie in the number of customers, but in the frequency of purchases and the breadth of the offer, as new categories enter the market. Today’s customers are already quite active, and the market is different from Slovenia and Croatia, because the online offer is already much larger than ten years ago. A large percentage of consumers already use the Internet via mobile devices, and the situation of eCommerce is similar to that in Serbia and Macedonia.
Cash on delivery is still the preferred payment method and trust in online shopping is still low, and consumers still prefer to go to physical stores and check out products before buying.
On this occasion, Amir Trokić also commented on behalf of Mastercard, which works to promote safe payments in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“Mastercard plays a key role in facilitating eCommerce and digital payments in Bosnia and Herzegovina. With its advanced payment technology and secure online payment solutions, Mastercard has helped drive the growth of the eCommerce sector in our country. Our commitment to innovation and user experience has helped make online shopping and payments safer and more convenient for consumers, while enabling businesses to have a reliable and efficient payment process. Mastercard is recognized as a partner in improving the digital economy in Bosnia and Herzegovina”.
A younger population is fueling the growth of online shopping, especially the young, employed, urban individuals and families with small children. Cross-border purchases are generally low in the region, with only about 10 percent of the total value of purchases going abroad. Bosnia and Herzegovina is relatively more closed in this regard compared to other countries, such as the Czech Republic, where cross-border purchases account for 30-40 percent of total sales. Despite the challenges, AliExpress is the strongest foreign retailer in BiH, with an emphasis on the purchase of smaller values. Although the trend in Slovenia and Croatia is declining, AliExpress remains strong in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.
The future of online shopping in BiH is promising and will probably follow the same path as in other countries in the region. As online offerings increase and trust in e-commerce increases, BiH citizens are likely to embrace the convenience of online shopping, creating a significant opportunity for growth in this sector. NLB Bank is recognized as a leader in digital services and products on the local market, and actively participates in the development of online commerce in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“We are extremely pleased to be partners of the first conference of this kind in Bosnia and Herzegovina. With our support for the ecommerce industry, we are certainly reaffirming our path as a digital bank. We often emphasize that this region is our home and that we want to develop and improve it for current and future generations, and digitalization and support for the improvement of modern processes and technologies is part of the core of our business strategy. We follow the life needs of our clients and people in our community, it is very important for us to make our contribution to the development of the eCommerce industry in B&H, so that ultimately, together with other partners on the market, they develop user experiences, the economic environment and keep up with global trends.” , said Lidija Žigić, President of the Management Board of NLB Bank Sarajevo
The response of participants from the private and public sector at the conference showed that eCommerce is a key part of the economic development of BiH, and that there is great potential for the growth of this industry. As eCommerce continues to expand globally, our country must continue to invest in the development of the sector and support its key players. The Association for Internet Commerce “eComm” in Bosnia and Herzegovina will continue to provide a platform for cooperation and innovation within the industry, encouraging the growth and development of eCommerce companies.
The conference is supported by the Swiss government through the MarketMakers project as a general partner, and through the Open Regional Fund for South-Eastern Europe for Foreign Trade (ORF FT) project implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH with co-financing from the European Commission and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and the development of Germany, and NLB Bank and Swiss EP – Swiss Entrepreneurship Program as organizational partners, gold partners such as Mastercard and the Ministry of Economy of Canton Sarajevo, and silver partners such as OLX BiH, Korpa, VISA and BH Telecom and bronze partners, including JP BH Pošta , CloudCart, Datalab, GS1 Bosnia and Herzegovina and Sport Vision.