Germany has one of the largest e-commerce markets in the world. It brought in an enormous revenue of $96 billion in 2020 and there are predictions for the market to reach over $111 billion in 2021. With no reason to suggest that buying trends will slow down, it’s clear that customers in Germany love to shop online.
But which is the best e-commerce platform for small business owners in Germany? We’ll explore five promising German marketplaces in this article.
Benefits of selling on e-commerce platforms
Selling via an online marketplace can be a great way to grow your business. For example, selling on an e-commerce site can:
- Increase visibility and brand awareness: Your products can be seen by customers who’ve never encountered your brand before.
- Capitalise on trust: Marketing your products on an established platform can give customers the confidence to try your brand for the first time, because they have a sense of safety from dealing with a well-known name.
- Make international trade easier: You’re less constrained by time zones, office hours and currency barriers when your customers are shopping from a platform in their home country.
- Reduce marketing costs: Your audience is bigger, so any activity is more visible. You can also access affordable rates for on-site advertising, giving your brand a further boost on the platform.
What are the best e-commerce platforms in Germany?
If you’re looking to market products to customers in Germany, there are a lot of options to choose from. Which marketplaces do German shoppers prefer? What are the best e-commerce platforms in Germany?
We’ve rounded up the best choices. Read on to find out where the biggest opportunities are for marketplace sellers and small businesses operating in Germany.
1. Amazon Germany
Not surprisingly, Amazon comes in at the top with sales of over €14 million in Germany over 2020. Known worldwide as the go-to hub in internet retailing, Amazon dominates the German market.
Amazon marketplace is used by retailers of all sizes, from the big household names to the smallest individual sellers, and they have plans to suit both.
With an enormous customer base, Amazon provides a lot of brand growth potential. But remember, that makes it one of the most competitive marketplaces, too, so you could miss out to lower-priced sellers if discounting isn’t one of your core strategies.
If you want to find out more about trading on Amazon, check out our related blog post.
2. eBay Germany
Another internationally recognisable e-commerce platform, eBay Germany boasts almost 230 million visitors each month.
One of eBay’s biggest draws for sellers is the potential savings available on shipping costs through the platform’s global shipping programme. There’s also the flexibility of listing products with fixed prices or at auction prices — so it’s an ideal platform, whether you sell both readily available products or collectibles.
Otto first began trading as a mail-order business in 1949, so it’s a German household name. Fast-forward to today and it’s the biggest online department store in Germany.
The Otto Germany e-commerce site has an estimated 57 million monthly visitors and over 10 million active customers. It’s particularly well known for homeware, clothing and electronics. Small businesses looking for the best e-commerce platforms in Germany should investigate Otto marketplace if they offer any of these products.
Otto marketplace processes all requests individually, because quality is a core value for the brand. As a result, sellers listing on Otto benefit from personalised customer service support.
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Another of Germany’s home-grown heroes, Idealo is a more recent addition to the e-commerce scene in Germany. Established in 2000, Idealo receives over 49 million visits per month, so it’s another big player on the German e-comm scene.
The platform positions itself as a comparison website as well as an e-commerce platform, enabling customers to find the best-priced products before clicking through to buy. And it isn’t just prices that are rated on Idealo’s platform — Idealo also provides well-researched product information so if your product has specific features and benefits, you can shout about them.
Even better for sellers looking for the best online marketplace in Germany: any product can reach the top spot, making it easy for consumers to choose your brand if you’re offering the lowest price. And customers can even set an alert to tell them if the product they want goes on sale, or hits a price they’re willing to pay. In short, listing on Idealo is a great way to get shoppers coming back to your page when you’re running promotions.
If you’re looking for a place to sell fashion products, Zalando is one of the most successful e-commerce platforms in Germany. There are almost 2000 brands selling clothing on the site and it attracts around 2.5 million users each month.
Zalando’s USP is customer service, so this is the place for sellers who can offer free delivery and free returns within 100 days of purchase.
Sellers entering into the partnership programme must meet stringent criteria, so if your brand can deliver, you’ll be in good company. Zalando features both global names like Nike and smaller independent labels — but products must be fashion-related, and they must be branded.
It’s possible for sellers to drop ship for Zalando customers, or to enter an arrangement with Zalando to provide the warehousing and despatch facilities. Zalando can be a flexible option for marketplace sellers experimenting with different fulfilment strategies.
Break into the German e-commerce market
Selling to German customers through an online marketplace means your brand can pack more of a punch than if you rely only on your own e-commerce site. You’ll have increased visibility and the added customer confidence that comes with shopping through a big-name website.
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