What e-tailors need to know about shipping parcels to Germany

13 October, 2021

E-Commerce

Germany is a popular export market for British e-tailers as it's a booming e-commerce market with excellent logistics infrastructure. But what do you need to know about shipping to Germany?

Find out more about Asendia's parcel services to Germany

 

Expanding your ecommerce business into new markets is always an exciting time, but you’ll need to carry out plenty of research to make sure you’re able to ship to your new customers efficiently with the same professionalism your current customers already value.

Germany is a fantastic market to expand into, let’s take a look at some of the facts:

  • Revenue in Germany’s ecommerce market is expected to reach US$109,060m in 2021. Source: com
  • Top products purchased by German online consumers include clothing and accessories, shoes, books, and electronics. Source: org
  • In 2020, the United Kingdom exported goods worth £44 billion to Germany, this includes items from all sectors. Source: statista.com

So, now you’re looking to expand into this market, what do e-tailors need to know about shipping parcels to Germany?

 

Shipping from your own UK premises to Germany

The big concern for many is how Brexit may have impacted shipping within the European Union, which the UK officially left on 1 January 2021. 

The main changes for now shipping to Germany include:

  • EORI Number: You will now have to get an EORI number from HMRC (Economic Operator Registration and Identification Number) to ship goods from the UK to the EU. This is for both customs and your VAT documents
  • Customs Forms: You’ll now need custom declaration forms CN-22 (items up to £270) and CN-23 (items over £270. Advice from the government is to hire a customs broker or similar to help with this but if you use a mail logistics provider like Asendia then they can support this.

While we’re focussing on shipping, you should know that there are other considerations, such as VAT that your accountant or accounts team will be able to help you with. This includes using the new Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS). This is an electronic declaration and payment VAT portal for distance sales of imported goods (with a value not exceeding €150), making it easier, faster, and simpler. You can read more about that here.

With paperwork and red tape considered, how best can you get the items to your German customers?

Previously, it will have been easy to send items from your own place of business to UK customers. But as you grow and you enter new markets, you’ll need to think about the best way to ship to these new customers.

Time and cost of shipping to Germany will be a big factor in people choosing to shop with you. Looking at a range of UK web shops, typically they charge anything from £5 for a small package via post, to £30 for faster or larger packages.

It can also take 1-3 days for expensive express services and 5-8 days for cheaper standard shipping. Wouldn’t it be great if you could offer customers 3-5 days at a shipping rate that's affordable?

UK fulfilment centre

A UK fulfilment centre may not seem necessary if you already ship from your own premisses. But consider having all your goods safe and secure off-site, ready to go at a moment’s notice to your target destination.

What’s more, the team at the centre are well practiced in all the paperwork and customs charges for borders across the world, meaning you can simply focus on maximising your customer base and growing your business.

These can be shipped with other goods from other companies, reducing costs and also using transport that is owned and operated by your mail logistics company and their partners.

Asendia, for example, has two UK based fulfilment centres that are connected to a global network that helps keep prices low and delivery times short.

 

German fulfilment centre

A solution that may suit you well, is to have best selling products stored in Germany prepared and ready for your new customers. Having a local fulfilment centre will help with this and offers the following benefits:

  • Less frequent shipping from the UK to Germany. Send over products in bulk needing one customs form, and tax payment to be safely stored in a German fulfilment centre
  • Products are already in Germany ready to be shipped at a moment’s notice to new customers at a local domestic shipping rate with shorter waits for delivery
  • As your products are within the EU, you can also ship to other parts of the economic area without incurring another customs charge.
  • You avoid shipping delays at borders that may arise now the UK is no longer part of the EU

 

Dropshipping

Dropshipping, is another option for some merchants. The customer makes an order via your site and a German manufacturer/wholesaler local to them makes their order up and sends it to them direct from their depot.

This does mean you avoid customs costs and red tape, and possible border delays, but typically the margins are much tighter.  You will also need to take manufacturing/fulfilment time into consideration which may push your shipping time up.

 

Increasing sales with shoppers in Germany

Don’t forget the basics of how you can increase your store’s conversion rate with German shoppers: 

  • Localise payment options: Make sure customer can pay in Euros using a payment method preferred by German consumers
  • Translate: Make sure your website can be translated into German
  • Localised delivery options: Whichever way you choose to get your items into Germany, be sure to use a logistics provider who has access to local couriers who know the area and local customs

We’ve written detailed guidance on best practice tips for increasing your ecommerce conversion rate which you can read at our insights portal. 

International mail logistics company Asendia delivers to 200 countries and is well rehearsed in all aspects of international shipping. They employ 1,500 staff at 35 global locations, and have fulfilment centres in Italy, Singapore, USA, Australia, and New Zealand. 

If you simply need to ask a few questions about how to get started, or you’re ready to start shipping to Germany and grow your business in this exciting market, get in touch and see how Asendia can help make your eCommerce business global.


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Asendia's parcel services to Germany for online stores large and small

We handle the fulfilment and shipping of international orders for some of the biggest e-tail brands in the world and hundreds of smaller online stores too. 

Find out more about our international order fulfilment services

See details about our parcel services to Germany

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