Why you should expand your online store to Germany

German E-commerce | Img via http://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-51146983/stock-photo-berlin%2C-germany-july-21%2C-2013%3Atourists-inside-the-glass-dome-of-the-reichstag-in-berlin%2C-germany%3B

Small business owners considering expanding to Europe are often overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. Start small! Don’t try to tackle an entire continent, go country by country to get your feet wet.

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Here is why: 

1) The German e-commerce market is the second-largest in Europe, and top five in the world. There are 14.1 million online cross-border shoppers in Germany. Germany hasn’t been as  affected by European economic slowdown. The highest e-commerce cross-border purchases include women’s apparel, shoes and accessories.

2) Germans often turn to Amazon and eBay for cross-border shopping and spend an average of 30 minutes per day on these sites. Needless to say,  Amazon and eBay are a great opportunity to reach the German e-commerce market.

3) A 2012 survey found that internet users in Germany ages 25 to 34 were the most likely to have purchased online, followed by users ages 35 to 44. These early to mid-career professionals also represent the largest number of cross-border shoppers. The 14-29 year old demographic in Germany spends around 4 hours online per day. They are adventurous and always on the hunt for latest trends. They want to stand out from their peers and wear unique garments. This demographic is also very active on social media with 72% of Germans on Facebook, 38% on YouTube and 20% on Wer-Kennt-Wen. Twitter is less popular in Germany, with only a 10% usage rate.

German e-commerce demographics via http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Ecommerce-Germany-Nears-9-Billion-Q1-2012/1008996

So how can you tap into the German e-commerce market?

1) Advertise on Facebook
72% of the German population is on Facebook.  They spend an average of 30 minutes each day on Facebook. (source: Roland Berger, Social media report)

2) Consider multi-channel selling
I highly encourage you include your products on Amazon & eBay. German consumers spend so much time on Amazon and eBay, consider multi-channel selling to help consumers get acquainted with your product.

3) Reach out to German bloggers
Look for influencers online with whom you can start relationships and introduce to your product. Blogloving, Polyvore, Loobook.nu are great tools to find fashion aficionados worldwide. Read more here on how to reach international bloggers>>

4) Consider translating your terms & conditions and shipping & return policies
There are a few things to consider when expanding to Germany. The German population carefully read terms & conditions and want to have a clear understanding of shipping costs & tracking, so be sure to make this very clear on your website.

5) Include PayPal as a payment options
Most Germans feel more comfortable paying through PayPal vs. using their credit or debit cards. It’s also important to remember that all goods imported from outside the EU are subject to duty taxes.


Germany is a very attractive market to expand your e-commerce business. The booming tech market there means there are many affluent young professionals looking to buy unique products online. Germany is the perfect place to start expanding your brand to the European market.

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