Even as the internet changes the ways of shopping and retailing, there still has been no agreed international standard for measuring e-commerce. Due to the lack of a capability for measuring, online trade undermines capacity for understanding how to manage it. This is an increasingly problematical issue as the scale of e-retailing surges: in 2010, business-to-consumer (B2C) virtual shopping market is estimated to be worth €550 billion worldwide. An overhaul of the world’s trading and support infrastructure is required to accommodate the e-commerce growth, and accurate data is essential to justify the business case for it.
The Global Ecommerce Measurement Standard (GEMS), is a new set of definitions for the measurement and monitoring of B2C online commerce. GEMS is backed by e-commerce industry associations in the UK, as well as countries such as France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and the European Commission.
James Roper, CEO of IMRG and one of the architects of the scheme, comments: “The only accurate way to monitor the dynamic e-commerce market is to measure actual trade. Until now there has been no cross comparable standard for countries to measure e-retail sales – local analysts and associations have adopted standards including or excluding retail sectors, transaction types and channels as they saw fit; typically serving the interests of an established community with a self-serving bias, such as physical store retailers, catalogue retailers, or ‘pure play etailers’. The new GEMS standard gives us detailed national and international insight into how the e-commerce distance selling sector is developing.”
E-commerce is particuarly critical for retailers who need the best available intelligence to support their business decisions and help target investment which is continually needed to remain competitive online. Participation in an industry association e-sales index scheme gives retailers access to new data and business-critical intelligence.
GEMS is to be governed by the `Global B2C e-commerce measurement standard council`, which will comprise the European Commision, EMOTA, BVH, FEVAD, IMRG, and Becommerce. This council will control, develop and evolve GEMS and associated measurement mechanisms in light of changing market and environmental needs. GEMS will be expanded to include other sectors and sales channels in due course.