If you think that Europe is all about food and Renaissance paintings, a few examples of European platforms will prove to you that the “Old Continent” has a lot of creativity and innovation to demonstrate on technological matters too.
As I write this on a summer day I look outside and see it is raining cats and dogs; not that uncommon in Brussels.
If this inclement weekend makes the idea of shopping online more attractive then this blog post is for you — I will be looking at a number of innovative and really interesting European platforms that let you exercise that commercial reflex from the comfort of your own home.
First, fill your favorite mug with coffee or, even better, prepare a cup of aromatic jasmine tea in its cloud shaped tea bag, provided by Tea Heritage. Tea Heritage is a French startup run by a young French team, passionate about high quality tea, as well as a real example of how the Internet can help turn passion and imagination into a successful business.
If you need something to wear for a special occasion but as always you are looking for good quality and an affordable price, your first stop should be Chic by Choice. What makes this marketplace ideal for formal occasions, like a wedding or a reception, is that you can rent a piece of clothing of your choice, choosing from a wide collection of well-known brand names.
Of course you may wonder about practical difficulties, such as the size of a dress or suit and whether it will fit. Chic by Choice has thought of that and provides you with facilities such as a “Try on service” which gives you the opportunity to try the item on before you actually rent it.
So just pick your favorite dress or dresses, choose the dates and voilà…you will have it delivered and ready to try it, usually within one day.
If your second “must do thing” on your shopping list is to buy a special present then Artsper is definitely the place to visit, with a rich collection of works of contemporary art from different galleries. Just a click of a button and the doors of 1.200 galleries open, giving you access to thousands of authentic pieces of art. Artsper provides for reviews and feedback from other clients and the right to return the work and get a refund from the gallery, provided the gallery is located in Europe.
Are you hosting a dinner and you have no idea what to cook or any intention to go out and try to figure out what to buy? Then Menu Next Door is what you need. Menu Next Door is a platform which gives you access to the cooking skills of your neighbours. For the moment it is only available in Belgium and its success lies in the fact that anyone can sign up as chef, create a menu and accept orders from customers-neighbours through the website. The advantage for the chefs is that they can turn their hobby into economic activity while for the consumers that they can have home-made fresh food on their table with zero effort.
What’s left for your “soirée”? Maybe a floral decoration? That takes us to Bloomon. You can take a digital walk through the different types of blooms, pick up your favorites and as Bloomon says: “Have them from the grower to your vase”!
Such an efficient (and dry!) morning from the comfort of your sofa just confirms what we already know: that with online shopping we can save time and money, while staying dry and offering many choices for things to buy and rent.
Without creating an exhaustive list of European platforms, this post confirms that there are a lot of European initiatives out there which are both innovative and sophisticated, giving us the opportunity to shop in the European way.
Please leave a comment below if you have a favourite European platform worth mentioning!
Victoria Chatzi is Policy Assistant in the Brussels office of the Computer & Communications Industry Association.