Panel: E-commerce as an inhibitor of regional development

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Mr Milan Dobrijevic (Head of Department for Digital Agenda Development in Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications) stated that the Serbian government recognises the importance of e-commerce for development, which is why the government is changing regulation to enable evolvement of e-commerce. The government of Serbia sees e-commerce as an area that can help small and middle-sized enterprises (SMEs) and individual entrepreneurs develop, but Dobrijevic underlined that many big companies, such as Zara, are contemplating e-commerce as their only business model. He also spoke about the measures the Serbian government is using to fight the grey area of e-commerce.

Ms Silvija Susnjevic (Business Development Manager, Enetel Solutions) spoke about the cognitive e-commerce solution Enetel Solutions developed. She also underlined that many users prefer using their mobile phones and that e-commerce platforms need to adapt to this user preference. Therefore, e-commerce platforms should enable payments over mobile phones. Susnjevic pointed out that it is better for a business to buy quality solutions, e-commerce platform which is not customised, and customise the design after developing the internal structure.

Mr Milan Jevtic (Executive Director of Software Division at Saga) began by stating that e-commerce is growing at the global level. He cautioned that users’ expectations rise with the development of new e-commerce solutions. The users’ expectations in e-commerce are much higher than in the physical world, and the developers of e-commerce solutions should be careful to meet users’ expectation and provide a good user experience; if the user experience is not as expected, users will not use the platform. He further underlined the significance of trust, timeliness and correctness of information for users. E-commerce is a new paradigm in the economy, not a mere computerisation or informationisation of the existing commercial services. In his opinion, the e-commerce sector in Serbia is almost ready to meet customers’ demands.

Mr Jurij Bertok (Business Development Consultant) stated that e-commerce is a question of trust; the provider of e-commerce services should not use a cheap platform. The Slovenian experience is that the state plays an important role – in 2014, Slovenia adopted the Law on E-commerce which made obligatory to make payments to the state in an electronic form. E-commerce is part of the digital transformation, and it cannot be considered just from the business aspect.

Mr Milos Brusin (President of the Executive Board, CEO at Telenor Bank) called e-commerce an ecosystem whose elements must be oriented towards the user and their experience. He stated that the National Bank of Serbia (NBS) established a regulatory framework necessary to raise awareness in the areas such as digital payments and e-commerce. Brusin, however, concluded that e-commerce in Serbia is not mature.

 

By Andrijana Gavrilović

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