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Are you looking to expand your e-commerce business to Germany?

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Germany is one of the most attractive markets in the EU and the eCommerce market is evolving rapidly worldwide. Here is everything you need to know to expand your business online.

Basic eCommerce Stats For Germany

eCommerce is a big part of shopping in Germany, over 50% of online sales in Germany happen on international websites. Interest in online shopping has increased worldwide based on the number of people online, disposable income, and mobile devices. The future of business is to be online.

Germany Market Size:

Growth: The 2018 German eCommerce market reached USD 109.8 billion, which is a 10% growth compared to 2017.

  • The estimated average spent online per person per year is USD 867
  • In 2018, Germany had an online population of 72.2 million people who were aged 15 and older
  • 5th Largest eCommerce market in the world
  • 2nd largest eCommerce market in Europe behind the UK
  • Internet Access: 68 Million
  • Online Shoppers: 37 Million
  • Largest Online Industries: clothing, electronics, tickets, and books

Success Factors Unique To Germany

As a whole, Germans are skeptical of new and unfamiliar companies and brands. There is one very important factor that impacts all aspects of eCommerce ranging from your website, the products you sell, the payment options you offer, to the logistics and delivery companies you work with – and that factor is TRUST. That means you’ll want to have your products, processes, and services well defined before launching in Germany. You also need to be diligent in your product and market research before going online.

Be Committed To The Market

It may take some time to gain the traction you’re looking for since your company will be unknown. Over time and with great products, persistence and transparency, you will gain their trust. One powerful way to signal that you are committed to the market is having an eCommerce site that has been translated into German. We highly recommend testing which aspects of localization lead to higher conversion rates. If you’d like some help with localizing your eCommerce site, Globig’s Expansion Planner software guides you in localizing your products, eCommerce web, and mobile site.

What are some of the most common perceived risks that keep shoppers from completing their online purchases?

German online shoppers concerns:

  • Trust: the company may be a scam
  • Lack of social media presence
  • Ethical business practices
  • Product quality and value for what they pay may be too low or too high
  • Foreign pricing
  • High shipping & return costs and time
  • Transparency with pricing early in the sales process
  • Product guarantee / customer service
  • Credit card payment safety, data safety,and spam emails
  • Communication

Here are some ways to reduce these risks and help people get over their fears and doubts of purchasing from you.

Building Trust

  • Become a member of Haendlerbund in Germany, which is a local trust mark you can use on your website once you qualify
  • Tell the story about how your company got started, share who you are, have a personality that identifies you as special and trustworthy
  • Build an online presence with social media
  • See what competitors do and match or surpass their guarantees
  • Have legitimate product reviews and ratings on your products
  • People to people interactions: Have customer service representatives and live chat available in their language and their business times

Basic Logistics

  • Shipping & Returns: Quality shipping is an expectation by German shoppers
    • Use local carriers such as DHL. Each state will have local delivery options
    • Offer different shipping types including free shipping, ground, overnight, and 2day.
    • Have a local German return address or at least a location in a country nearby (Germany is often a logistics hub for EU countries)
    • Product price must be inclusive with shipping and tax
    • Avoid listing product in a foreign currency – it is one of the top reasons for shopping cart abandonment around the world

Ethical Practices

  • Provide clear stated policies: Shipping, privacy, email marketing, refund, and terms of service. See the co Knowledge Base for Germany to get the details on eCommerce important regulations
  • Work with legitimate and secure shopping cart systems. Use their secure shopping icons as proof to reassure new customers
  • Make sure your marketing is localized and relevant, pay attention to regional holidays. There are significant differences in holidays between the north and southern Germany. You can get more information at the co Knowledge Base for GermanyKnowledge Base for Germany

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