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How to sell successfully in Germany as a Dutch company
Selling in Germany is very interesting for Dutch marketplace sellers. Find out how to do it succesfully in this blog!
Germany is one of the largest economies in the European region and is the biggest country population wise in Europe. A Study of the bevh shows that the E-Commerce revenue is similarly high with a total of close to 100 billion euros volume in 2021. Therefore, Germany is a very interesting country to expand to. About half of that revenue is generated by marketplaces, showing a significant growth of 20% compared to the previous year. Amazon is by far the most dominant player in Germany with a total market share of around 50% combined with their wholesale and marketplace business. So how do you harness this big revenue share as a Dutch company?
Deciding on marketplaces
As a Dutch company the step to selling in Germany is the most convenient, as Germany is a close neighbour meaning short delivery times from the Netherlands. Most Dutch people already speak German, so creating good product content is relatively easy. Also German customers are quite similar to Dutch consumers (with a few exceptions).
However, there are a few things to consider when you start to sell in Germany. First of all, you need to get a German VAT number to ensure all taxes will be legally paid. The next step is to consider which distribution channel makes sense. In that case marketplaces are an easy way to export internationally, as they already provide you with relevant traffic for your products.
To start on marketplaces, you need to register at the marketplace. You can then use middleware such as EffectConnect to connect your ERP system to the marketplace. Depending on your product category there might be several interesting marketplaces for you.
Amazon is an easy bet, as they are the market leader in Germany and have the most traffic and revenue there, however competition can also be tough. Additionally, there are other marketplaces such as home24 for furniture or ebay and Kaufland for general goods. Conrad and Mediamarkt are interesting for selling electronics, or other more specialized ones for niche categories. Ideally you look at the market volume and the volume in your category or in your search terms first to determine relevancy.
Setting up the processes
Once you decided on a marketplace, registered and connected the platform you need to ensure that all your processes are in place. Germans don’t have the same demands in regards to fast delivery as the Dutch, but still you need to ensure that packages reach the end customer in a few days. A lot of the marketplaces will stipulate delivery times and if you can’t fulfil them, you are in risk of account deactivation. Additionally make sure to offer German speaking customer support and to translate all your product content into German, to ensure the best customer experience.
Furthermore, it is important to check whether you need a German returns address. This can vary per marketplace. For example, Amazon has the following requirements:
If a consumer orders from a third-party seller who ships their items from a location outside of Germany, then Amazon’s return policy requires that international Marketplace sellers either:
- Provide a return address within Germany.
- Provide a prepaid return label.
- Offer a full refund without requesting the return of items.
Scaling the business
Once everything is setup make sure to rely on ads in order to scale your business. Especially on marketplaces you need to buy traffic at the beginning, so the marketplace can rank you organically as well. Amazon and other marketplaces like Kaufland or Ebay offer Sponsored Ads, which are best to generate traffic in the beginning. You only need to pay when somebody clicks on your ad. Make sure to monitor ads and the general performance on the marketplace regularly to ensure success. Also, make sure to be compliant with all fulfilment and customer satisfaction KPIs. Once all of that is running you are successfully selling in Germany.
Checklist for selling in Germany
Germany is a very interesting market in terms of volume and geographical location as it is situated next to the Netherlands. So it's all about a simple but thorough approach:
- Determine which marketplaces are interesting based on market volume and search volume in your product categories.
- Apply for a German VAT number
- Make sure you can offer German-speaking customer service
- Use sponsored ads in the beginning to increase your visibility on the marketplace.
- Monitor your performance regularly and adjust where necessary.