E-commerce is an industry without borders, and many e-merchants want to know the best practices for preparing an online store to enter the global market.  However, if you own and operate an online storefront in the U.S. and want to sell to a German market, for example, then you need to create an extension of your website to fit that market.

Consider this… Germany is the second largest e-commerce market in Europe. The German people are very familiar with online shopping; making them smart, savvy consumers with high expectations. Let us suppose for a moment that you want to enter the German market. Do you know how to properly prepare your online store?


A mature market
Germany houses 65 million Internet users, of which 35 million are shopping online. Numbers indicate that Germany is home to more  100,000 e-stores.

Fast-paced growth
In 2011, e-commerce growth in Germany went up 18.5% from the previous year while accounting for €45.07 billion. With growth like this, the consumer is an integral part of the market, and they exercises a lot of influence!

Demanding consumers
German consumers are considered to be very mature.  What we mean by this is simple. German consumers know about e-commerce legislation. They compare products constantly, and they are not afraid to submit complaints if necessary.

A recent study showed that 82% of Germans read the terms & conditions of sale before making a purchase!

Security is also very important for German consumers who need consistently seek reassurance before entering their secure payment information.

German consumers also look for quality seals of approval. These types of badges and symbols must be on the homepage of your store if you hope to be successful in a German e-commerce market.

Importance of the catalog
Thirty-three percent of all German shoppers extensively scroll through online catalogs before making a purchase.

Irreproachable logistics
You’ll also need to pay close attention to the operational details of your site; delivery in particular. In Germany, it’s crucial that keep your word regarding delivery times. Therefore, deliver your products as fast as possible and keep costs as low as you can.

Christin Schmidt, Head of Press Relations for BVH (German Federation of Distance Sales and E-commerce), said “it is almost impossible to work without using an external supplier. Delivery is very fast, and customer service centers are always ready to answer inquiries.”

So there you have it. With e-commerce in Germany developing at an alarming rate, you’re online operation will need to be fast, careful and secure if you hope to be successful in a German market.  Don;t forget that you will also need solid marketing skills, knowledge of German laws and a quality after-sales service.

Purchase with bill: No. 1 payment method in Germany
Customers receive their bill at the same time as their order and most frequently by bank transfer. German legislation gives the consumer 14 days to return a purchase, and if they do return a product, it’s at the charge of the seller and no justification is needed.

If we had to highlight a problem with the German market, it would be the language issue. You absolutely have to translate your website. Germans don’t buy much, if anything, from foreign sites.

So now you’ve got the keys in hand, you’re ready to unlock the German market! Good luck and happy selling!

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