Germany is undoubtedly one of the top destinations when it comes to global e-commerce expansion. Lydia Meißner, our German Account Manager here at ICE, points out the unique online consumer behaviour of German shoppers (apart from the language difference), and a few tips on how to approach the German buyers.
#1 Not all Marketplaces are equal
As in all other European countries, Amazon is the market leader in the German e-commerce scene followed by eBay. Other marketplaces such as Real.de (now Kaufland.de), Zalando and Otto are also popular among the Germans for particular categories. Depending on which kind of products you’re selling you should then take a look into which German marketplaces could benefit you besides Amazon and eBay.
#2 A high return rate is expected
What German buyers like the most about online shopping is probably the possibility to order as many products in different variations as they want and comfortably decide which ones they want to keep. This likely means a higher return rate than in other locales for online sellers and should be kept in mind when starting to sell in Germany.
#3 Customer loyalty can’t always be expected
It’s possible that a buyer doesn’t come back to your shop after the first purchase. Try to keep them in the loop of your business and ideally offer discounts or coupons for their future orders.
#4 They’re extremely price sensitive
German buyers in general are quite price sensitive, which means that they compare offers from different sellers/platforms, sometimes over days, in order to get the best deal they can have. That’s why websites like Groupon are also highly welcomed by German online buyers.
#5 Invoices are still in fashion
Invoices still take first place for the most used online payment method as Germans value security over ease of use and transaction speed. However, the increase in popularity of PayPal, especially among younger generations, suggests a swift change in Germany’s favourite payment method.