How To Successfully Enter The German E-Commerce Platform OTTO

It is no big secret that Germany offers one of the biggest global e-commerce markets. The country of beer and BMW has the largest national economy in Europe (and the fourth largest in the world).

If you have never heard of Amazon, you must have spent the last twenty years under a rock, but you might not know that its fiercest competitor in Germany – otto.de – is one of the most successful platforms you can enter. However, unlike Amazon, where basically any Tom, Dick and Harry can flog their products, OTTO will not allow just anyone to become a partner.

Why is selling on OTTO such a great opportunity?

OTTO is one of the most successful e-commerce companies in Europe, with 7 million customers and up to 10 orders per second.

Especially for Germany, it is of great significance that potential buyers have trust in your brand. Many brands do not consider that getting the right message across is essential to gain the trust of German customers.

Often, the assumption is made that because many Germans have a relatively good level of English that it will be easy to sell on the German market. But I cannot stress enough how important native content is. A study done by Amazon itself has shown that German customers often will do research on a brand or product before making the decision to buy, they will not only go to the Amazon storefront and check if everything is in German, they will also search on Google.

The customer experience is incredibly important to OTTO and they have been part of the German market since 1949. If you manage to become an OTTO partner and sell your products on their platform, the German customer will automatically assume that they can trust your brand.

What difficulties do you have to be aware of when selling on OTTO?

OTTO places great value on quality, not only the quality of the products but also the quality of the listings. Meeting their criteria is not easy. There are a series of steps involved before a product can go live and you need to master every single one of them. If you do not have a native speaker as part of your team it will be almost impossible for you to list products that OTTO is happy with. If you are familiar with the German language, you will have heard of compound words which can create all kinds of problems for a non-native speaker. There is a specific format for sizes. The umbrella term for listing t-shirts for women is different than the term for t-shirts for men, boys and girls. Wellington boots for women go in the wellington boot category but wellington boots for men must be classified as outdoor boots. And do not get me started on the colours.

How can selling through Pertemba on a wholesale model help you?

We have successfully launched 16 brands on OTTO since starting only a little over a year ago. The sales for these brands have since gone through the roof, with an average increase of 73% (!). At Pertemba we have a team of native speakers who work with our bespoke in-house translation software, this helps us work more efficiently and ensure consistency. Unlike Google Translate our translators are experts in their field, they understand the market and are aware of country-specific business practices. By selling your products through us you can take advantage of optimised product descriptions, which will help your brand gain a true presence in the German market. It is also a big plus that we can involve multiple departments in launching your brand.