Discover the secrets to e-commerce success in Switzerland

18 October, 2017

The skyline of a city in Switzerland.

Swiss e-commerce market ripe for Britain’s international retailers, according to Asendia’s latest whitepaper

  • Swiss consumers have one of the strongest appetites for cross-border shopping in the world
  • The Swiss shopper is known for its high purchasing power, and this is reflected in online sales figures – the annual spend per capita is £1,956
  • E-commerce’s share of retail to double to more than 10% by 2022 [1]
  • Clothing is the most common category for cross-border purchases
  • 90% of Swiss consumers will opt for a free delivery rather than pay for the next-day option

Asendia, the joint venture between La Poste and Swiss Post, today publishes its whitepaper The secrets of e-commerce success in Switzerland. Coupled with a practical eBook, this new report provides cross-border retailers with a toolkit to expand their e-commerce business in Switzerland, a small country full of potential.

For the past eight years, Switzerland has been the most competitive economy in the world [2] and perfect conditions for e-commerce driven exporters. With 61% of Swiss online shoppers (3.1m people) spending £2.4b annually in cross-border purchases and the country ranking second in Europe – after the UK – for the amount consumers spend online each year (£1,956 per capita), Switzerland proves itself to be a promising and strong market for foreign retailers.

However, having a multi-cultural population (German, French, and Italian speaking), non-EU customs and taxes, and payment preferences, Switzerland can be a daunting country for e-commerce expansion. With this in mind, Asendia combined insights on the market itself, consumer behaviour, delivery trends, and practical advice, to guide international businesses in their Swiss e-commerce adventures.

Asendia’s recommendations include:

  1. Make sure all paperwork is complete and accurate so goods are cleared quickly with the Swiss Customs Administration (facilitated by Swiss Post). Be aware that custom duties are charged depending on the weight, which is unusual compared to other countries
  2. Choose a customs clearance option that fits your business’ needs. The Postal Clearance requires minimum integration and upfront investment, ideal for small businesses. While the Commercial Clearance delivery duty paid option guarantees that there will be no additional costs for shoppers on delivery and enables bulk clearance for large volumes.
  3. Bear in mind that it is common practice to offer prices in CHF and to be locally registered, as this will increase trust with consumers.
  4. Do not forget that electronic goods require a Swiss approval mark and a manual in German, French, and Italian
  5. Build your customer base by using a reliable delivery provider. Trust in delivery is a key requirement for Swiss shoppers and they trust Swiss Post, the national postal service. As Swiss Post’s international operation, Asendia is in an ideal position to offer all postal and parcel solutions of the national service.

The secrets of e-commerce success in Switzerland whitepaper and A guide to exporting to Switzerland for online retailers eBook are now available to download.

Download The secrets of e-commerce success in Switzerland whitepaper here

Download A guide to exporting to Switzerland for online retailers eBook here

[1] The UK e-commerce share of retail is estimated at 16.9% in 2017.