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Access the EU Market with European Marketplaces

December 6, 2023
5 min read

If you are a UK seller who previously sold goods within Europe, the post-Brexit period has probably been overwhelming.

Although there are several aspects to consider, European marketplaces may be a great way to reach your old customers once more or even new customers that you have never seen before. 

Because 50% of all global e-commerce occurs on marketplaces, in a previous article, we shared the benefits of them with you. Now, we thought we would share additional insights as it pertains to European marketplaces and consumer trends specifically with a focus on the French and German markets. 

EU e-commerce at a glance:

  • After the UK, France and Germany are the largest EU markets for e-commerce. 
  • In 2019, marketplaces accounted for 60% of the 143 billion euros spent on cross-border ecommerce by Europeans, according to Cross-Border Commerce Europe.
  • France’s e-commerce market is now worth €103.4 billion a year, overtaking neighboring major market Germany €94 billion. French e-commerce is set to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 10.4 percent to 2023. (JP Morgan)
  • Companies in major European economies like Germany, France, and the UK generate up to 23% of their revenue through e-commerce.
  • France is the most marketplace obsessed country in Europe, with many niche sites. 

EU customer trends:

  1. Consumer habit
  • European customers are likely to go to e-commerce for smaller, everyday needs, clothing, or DIY items.
  • Overall, younger people are more keen to buy on mobile. In Germany, mobile commerce already accounts for 33% of all e-commerce sales. (JP Morgan). By selling on a marketplace, you will be accessible via their mobile app, targeting a new array of younger customers. 

  1. Payment

Even within Europe, countries show different payment preferences. In Germany, open invoicing is the most popular payment method, taking almost a third of payments. This post-purchase format allows shoppers to receive or return products before any payment is made, via bank transfer. 

As a result, cards and digital wallets are used less than in other regional e-commerce heavyweights such as the UK and France, where they account for over 75% of all online payments. 

However, within German marketplaces and sites, both methods must still be offered, as together they make up over 35% of total e-commerce payments.

  1. Delivery

French customers have a preference for choosing delivery time over speed of delivery as may be preferred by UK shoppers. This explains the popularity of click and collect networks within the country. An alternative if you are often away from home, delivery is within 24 - 48 hours via drive-through locations, physical stores, or at dedicated lockers in public spaces. Upon arrival of the package, shoppers are warned of availability by email or SMS. They then have 14 days to collect. The return process can also be made via these collection points. 

Why are the EU marketplaces a good opportunity for UK sellers: 

  1. This will allow you to tap into a new audience gaining maximum exposure right away. 

After China, UK goods are the most dominant foreign goods in both France and Germany meaning UK sellers have a key advantage. 

Amazon and Ebay aside, some other regional marketplaces to consider include: 

  • Zalando: a German marketplace with 7.4% share of the Western Europe fashion market totalling $42 billion over 20 million active buyers. 
  • Cdiscount: a French marketplace with 2,000 sellers and 9 million active customers. Every month, 20 million people browse more than 63 million items. 
  • Fnac Darty: Marketplace has 36 million active customers and is a leader in high-tech, appliances and home products. 
  • La Redoute: has over 7 million visitors each month and operates in 26 countries across the globe. La Redoute has over 450 sellers connected to its marketplace

  1. You can benefit from the marketplace’s local knowledge and features

For example, German customers prefer very detailed product descriptions in comparison to UK customers. The marketplace onboarding will facilitate these details for you. 

Additionally, European marketplaces are pioneers of subscription retail, which is growing in popularity among both merchants and consumers. There are two different forms of subscriptions that are coming to bear on marketplace ecommerce: subscriptions to the marketplace itself and subscriptions to individual goods and retailers therein. Both offer shoppers the ability to sign up so that they get preferential services, such as free next day delivery or access to unique content and goods, as well as often also collecting points that can be put towards discounted purchases. For merchants, subscription locks shoppers in and provides a guaranteed income stream.

How can you manage the logistics for EU fulfilment? 

We are happy to announce the launch of our French warehouse solution located in Paris, France, making EU fulfilment easier, cheaper and faster!  

Shipping from the EU gives your European customers cheap or fast delivery by eliminating delays at the border, removes customs handling fees, and reduces the distance the products have to travel cutting both costs and time, not to mention the environmental benefit!

From July 1st the new OSS will make handling VAT in Europe much easier and if you still want to ship from a UK warehouse the marketplace will be responsible for handling the VAT on orders below €150

The benefits include: 

  • You will be able to split your stock between the UK warehouse you already currently use, and the French one, managing both from the same account
  • Your UK based dedicated account manager will handle the whole process and relationship for you. 
  • We offer Express next day, Standard 3 day and Basic 5 day delivery to France and the rest of Europe. 
  • On top of marketplaces, we will support you in offering EU delivery straight from your website as you grow your presence. 

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