Geo-blocking is where businesses limit their access to goods and services to customers because of their location, citizenship, place of connection, or establishment. The business can do this by restricting access to a website or redirecting a customer to a ‘local’ website in the member state where the customer is located. From a broader perspective, geo-blocking can also consist of any discriminatory commercial action based on things related to the person’s physical location.
To give an example of geo-blocking, if a person lives in Ireland and desires to access a US-based eCommerce website to buy a product or service, the website might block the person’s access to its content. And so, geo-blocking puts a hindrance on shopping online across borders.
Overall, if you’re a small startup business owner who wants to know more about geo-blocking and the other things that concern it, you can read this brief guide.
How To Bypass Geo-Blocking
If your business wants to access another site from a different location to reach its content, then trespassing geo-blocking can be ideal. But, to do this, you must first use a site unblocker. One example of a site unblocker is VPNs.
What is a VPN?
A VPN can route your internet traffic through a server from another country by hiding your actual IP address and replacing it with a temporary and country-specific address. As an IP address is used to know your location, it can’t be good if there’s geo-blocking in place. Hence, it’s ideal to use a VPN.
Examples of good VPNs are:
Likewise, one good advantage of using a VPN is that your traffic can be encrypted so that the government and your internet service provider can’t see what you do online. Having such encryption is beneficial mainly if your country has strict internet censorship and if it’s not a member of the geo-blocking regulation implemented in Europe. If you want to know about this geo-blocking regulation, continue reading.
The European Parliament members agreed to stop geo-blocking and country redirects in the European Union (EU) on February 6, 2018. On March 22, 2018, it was put into force and later implemented on December 3 of the same year to completely address unjustified geo-blocking by businesses.
This geo-blocking regulation has led online services into allowing customers from across the EU to access their goods and services wherever the business might be. Some online services that different customers can now access from across the EU are shopping goods and car rentals. Many of which continue to implement geo-blocking practices in their selling.
On the other hand, copyrighted materials such as e-books, computer games, and video streaming platforms are exempted from this rule, which has led to sudden criticism from European Consumer Organizations (BEUC). One member of BEUC, Johannes Kleis, even stated: ‘From the consumer’s perspective, this exemption can be senseless.’ Likewise, this rule also exempts transport services and access to retail financial services, including payment services.
Overall, this policy can be good for your business as it can gain a broader reach as your site can now be accessed wherever the potential customer is.
Localization and End-to-End Shopping
The geo-blocking regulation has allowed a broader kind of selling across European countries. And so, it can be nice to know about localization for e-commerce businesses if your business is in Europe. E-commerce localization is where your business’ website content adapts to each market, wherever its location might be. Some examples of website content that your business can localize are social media posts, blogs, product information, e-books, and graphics.
To note, applying e-commerce localization can be a great strategy. It allows prospects from different countries to relate to your business as the content doesn’t vary from their native experience. And so, this allows your business to earn more profit by captivating consumers.
Geo-blocking restricts a person’s access to goods and services because of varying factors. It works by limiting access to the business’ website or redirecting a customer to a ‘local’ website in the member where the customer is based.
Likewise, you should note that there have been regulations formed in Europe so that businesses will have more freedom in selling products or services. If you’re a business owner operating in Europe, this regulation can be good for you because there can be more customers that you can have at your disposal.
Moreover, you should note that you can bypass geo-blocking by having a VPN. You can also use localization whenever you’re selling to a different location.
Altogether, keep in mind these things to become a more informed business owner.