Mobile-optimized sites, effective delivery and varied payment choices are three crucial ingredients of German eCommerce. With German eCommerce growing rapidly due to low prices and convenience, it’s important to learn how to break down barriers so that you can make the most of Germany’s online opportunities. Here are some tips to help you succeed:
THREE TIPS FOR GERMAN ECOMMERCE SUCCESS
1. BE MOBILE READY
It’s not enough just to localize content into German; the content format itself needs to be adapted. Since mobile data plans are expensive in Germany, avoid sharing too many videos, photos or other media content, as these will likely be ignored.
Instead, focus on providing easy access to product descriptions, customer reviews, return information and pricing details, as well as price comparisons with competitors.
Search engines remain the primary means of research for consumers, so it’s important to have an SEO-ready site optimized for mobile. In fact, most German consumers are purchasing products through online stores like Amazon, Otto and Zalando. That’s why any successful online strategy should establish a presence on these sites.
2. DELIVER THE GOODS
Delivery is a big deal in Germany. 83% of German eCommerce shoppers said they would buy from one retailer over another offering the same product because they liked the delivery experience (source: Lengow).
Offer a variety of delivery options. Over half of German online shoppers believe standard delivery should be free, but 25% also want fast delivery. Click-and-collect services and pre-booked delivery times are also growing in popularity. For every delivery option, nearly all shoppers believe it should be possible for them to track their order; almost half believe they should be able to choose a delivery date.
Germany has the highest return rate in Europe. Depending on the sector, return rates can exceed 40-50%. German businesses with well-developed infrastructures have created a competitive edge by offering flexible return policies. Zalando, for example, offers 100-day free returns, which customers now expect from other vendors.
Therefore, a major reason Germans avoid buying products abroad is because they believe returning goods will be difficult or costly. So, if you’re an overseas company, you need to have a setup that offers cheap, fast delivery methods, as well as a good return service.
3. OFFER PAYMENT FLEXIBILITY
Because of Germans’ historic reluctance to share their private details online, they are less likely to use credit cards online, so you need to provide alternatives. This is especially the case for overseas companies to avoid German consumers finding cheaper, domestic equivalents.
Invoice is the number one payment method in Germany. Customers have the freedom to try something on or test it out before committing to a purchase. This also makes it easier for customers to pay in installments.
Other payment methods include PayPal or other online wallets, as well as Paydirekt, which is growing in popularity because of its added security.
Loyalty schemes have never gained much traction in Germany. Instead, generating brand loyalty and connecting with shoppers in Germany requires transparency, flexibility and effectiveness. Give shoppers all the information they need up front. Offer options that work for them. And provide a high-quality, cheap and hassle-free customer experience.