Central Europe E-Commerce Market Shows Promising Development

Central Europe Prague


Despite recent and ongoing financial woes, Europe continues to make up the largest share of the B2C e-commerce market in the world. The region experiencing the most growth is Central Europe, with a projected growth of 12% per year. As Central Europe is showing such promising development and growth, it is definitely a market to watch.

Central Europe has a population of 165 million people across the region. In 2013 the ecommerce market reached $93 billion. On average, Central European residents spend 1200 euros online each year, primarily on clothing and accessories. The size alone makes it an incredibly attractive market.

So how can you tap into the Central European market?

  1. Respect the culture – This market is extremely proud of its culture and the most popular brands they interact with have localized and translated content. Use culturally relevant and translated content on your site, ads, and social media whenever possible. Consider translating important sections of your site – such as Term & Conditions and Shipping & Return information – to make it easier for shoppers to do business with you.
  2. Sell on multiple channels – Central European residents predominantly shop on German e-commerce sites. They also pro-actively cross-border shop on Amazon and eBay. It is a good idea to sell on channels other than just your own website to reach the largest audience. Multi-channel selling can help consumers to find and become acquainted with your products.
  3. Go Mobile – Mobile commerce is becoming very important in Central Europe. Mobile penetration is very high in the region, and purchases on mobile devices are expected to continue to grow. Central European consumers may still be reluctant to use their mobile devices for large or expensive purchases, though, as the average transaction value remains quite low. Be sure to optimize your site for mobile commerce to keep mobile customers on your page.
  4. Be where the customers are – Central European residents aren’t as active on Twitter and Facebook – and sometimes don’t even use their real names in these platforms. The most popular social media sites are Google+ (873,000 users) and Instagram. While Facebook is still a very popular social network, there are other local social networking sites that are also used widely in the region. For example, Seznam.cz, is a popular web portal and search engine in the Czech Republic that is now also used as a form of social media. A little research into the most popular social sites in your target countries will go a long way in planning your online marketing strategy.If you’re not ready to get into foreign social sites, focus on Instagram and Google+ where the bulk of the population is. I’m not saying abandon Facebook entirely, but don’t expect the same results that you see with your North American audience. For search engine marketing efforts, advertise on Google using country specific keywords.
  5. Build your network – As when expanding to new markets it’s important to build a network of influencers to help spread the word of your brand. Start by getting acquainted with bloggers and social media influencers in each specific country. Lookbook.nu is a great way to find fashion bloggers and has a very active Eastern European community.

Tapping into the Central European market will take time but it’s an emerging market and will be worth the investment.

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