Ecorys wins project to develop solutions and a guide to revitalize and modernize the small retail sector in the EU

There are more than 3.6 million retail businesses operating in Europe. 99.9% of them are SMEs and the vast majority (95%) employ an average of just 2 people. Furthermore, they provide the majority (63%) of retail employment. To help them face the challenges of a global, digital, service-dominant world, the European Commission aims to explore the possibilities that e-commerce and digital technologies offer for small retailers.

The Ecorys-led Consortium (which also integrates The Oxford Institute of Retail Management and Gartner) recently won a one-year project to study the small retail sector in the EU, analyse its main problems and challenges and assess the existing actions in place across the Member States to promote the revitalisation and modernisation of the sector. To do so, Ecorys will assess, among other factors:

  • the benefits and costs of proposed solutions / actions,
  • the cooperation opportunities,
  • the most appropriate governance level,
  • the efficiency and effectiveness of proposed solutions/actions.

Thus, Ecorys will identify best practices in the EU and fine-tune the proposed solutions/actions that will enable small retailers strengthen and grow their business, productivity and competitiveness. These solutions will pay special attention to the use of digital technologies, the role of public bodies when supporting the implementation of local e-commerce platforms and to the part innovation can play in the modernization of the sector.

To compare practices, validate the findings of the study and possibly identify new or existing solutions, Ecorys will organise a series of workshops across the EU and in Brussels with representatives from different stakeholder categories (including retail associations, small retailers, local/regional/national authorities, developers of e-commerce platforms, etc.).

The result of the project will serve to produce an online guide ready-to-use by national, regional and local authorities on how they can contribute to promoting the revitalisation and modernisation of small retailers.

More information on the small retail sector in the EU: