Starting An E-Commerce Business In Germany

Last Updated: February 9, 2021By Tags:

When it comes to starting a business online, Germany might be one of the most attractive economies for businessmen on a global scale. As it stands, a lot of Germans have a habit of doing regular shopping online, so there’s a vast industry for new businesses to try their hand at.

Moreover, the country has a well-developed delivery network. So, if you’re an online business that wants to send parcel to Germany on a regular basis for your clients, it’s very easy to deliver goods and do so on time.

If you’re interested in an online business that is aimed at the German market, here’s  a few things you should consider.

The German ecommerce market outlook

Let’s start with some relevant data. First of all, 9 of 10 users are regular internet users, with 87% regularly buying products online including clothes, books and electronics.

Naturally, being such a large market in general, some global retailers have already established themselves years ago. Amazon dominates in the market, however, the rest of firms in terms of revenue are all German

Here’s the list of the top German retailers:

  • (€8.82bn.)
  • (€2.96bn.)
  • (€1.28bn.)
  • (€751m.)
  • (€734m.)

Trust is very important to Germans

Unlike other European markets, the German people are rather conservative with their online shopping habits, opting to instead buy from their usual retailers, instead of trying something new, especially from an unknown foreign business.

Experts say that opening up a physical shop is an essential step for many, which establish trustworthiness in the eyes of the customers. Such a tactic is often called „bricks for clicks“.

Another thing to consider before going online is the purchase of a localised German domain for your internet website. This will imply your „Germanness“ to potential customers and will be another positive trait in your business strategy.

However, to obtain the aforementioned .de domain, you must already have a physical shop or at least an office opened up in the country. For those who don’t have physical presence, there are registrars which will act as proxies for your .de domain.

Both of these steps are essential if you want to have a relevant website as well develop the trust of future German buyers

Language barrier

Language is an absolutely crucial factor for the German market. Even though over half of the population do understand English, you won’t go nowhere without translating and localizing your content in German. 

There are a couple of reasons for that:

To begin with, just because a person knows English, doesn’t mean they want to do their shopping in a foreign language and are comfortable in doing so.

Next, the trust element comes into play here as well. Most German will deem a website untrustworthy and foreign if they didn’t bother themselves with preparing their content in a native language of the market they are aiming for.

Lastly, there’s the competition. It’s naive to think that you, as a completely new retail company, trying to compete in such an aggressive market with not even a German website could get noticed by the public.

If you don’t speak the language yourself, you might find the issues even more trickier. Of course, you can try to translate everything word for word, if you have a website that doesn’t rely on much textual content to its business. However, if you think you can put up a proper fight with businesses that have a well-developed content marketing strategy and are aiming for very specific keywords, you’re naive.

In this case, making an investment in translation services could be absolutely essential for the success for your business. You could either prepare the texts yourself and then have them translated, or hire a local copywriter who would develop the necessary content as needed.

Lastly, we got to mention localization. This means doing special offers on German holidays, getting acquainted with the customs regulations and so on. All of this of course, depends on your business goals and the exact market you’re aiming at.

To conclude

In this article we’ve talked about a few essential things one should know before launching their ecommerce business aimed at the German market. Follow these, and you should be good for a proper start.