Here’s why you should expand to Eastern Europe as an online seller

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Online selling is experiencing steady growth both in Germany and across borders. Cross-border e-commerce is becoming increasingly relevant for online sellers. Some have already taken the plunge and opted for expansion, mostly into western countries. But how does expanding into Eastern Europe compare to expanding into western countries?

Here at the Packeta Group, we deliver packages to over 30 European countries using our multi-carrier solution. Our focus is on the CEE (Central and Eastern European Countries) region, which includes Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Poland

In this blog, we would like to introduce you to the topic of expansion into Eastern Europe and provide you with the most important information so that you can successfully expand into this region – just as many other large online sellers have done in the past.

Successfully expanding into Eastern Europe


Expanding into Central and Eastern Europe can bring a variety of benefits for a company looking to grow and increase its customer base. Thanks to the very positive economic forecasts and the steadily growing e-commerce market, expanding into Eastern Europe is an alternative to expanding into western countries. A significantly lower intensity of competition within the marketplace business and a strongly growing gross domestic product compared to Western countries make Eastern Europe an attractive proposition. Entering new markets in Eastern Europe allows expanding online sellers to increase their sales potential and the chance to earn higher profits without having to take a disproportionate amount of risk.

GDP Growth Czech, Austria, France, Slovakia

When expanding, it is crucial to consider the local conditions. With regard to Eastern Europe, these are primarily cultural and language barriers, as well as legal regulations and laws.

Since many different languages are spoken in Eastern Europe, it is particularly important to offer your own online shop and customer service in each country’s national language. This way, you can ensure that your customers feel at ease, they can easily access the products on offer and language barriers do not stand in the way of a sale. During expansion, you should also take the public holidays that are customary in that country into account.

Another point that plays a major role in expansion is the fulfilment of all legal requirements as a seller, because the laws in the area of online selling and the associated data protection may vary from country to country. This is also the case with tax law and the corresponding tax obligations.

When planning to expand into Eastern Europe, it’s often worth consulting with local experts. Furthermore, it is worth considering using a specialised marketplace, such as the new Kaufland marketplaces, to sell products. This contributes to increased customer satisfaction, which thus increases potential turnover, as expansion occurs faster and requires no prior knowledge.

Top 3 categories cross-border e-commerce

The top 3 categories of cross-border e-commerce include:

  • Fashion, shoes and accessories (34%)
  • Electronics (22%)
  • Cosmetics and healthcare (19%)

Potential customers’ expectations of the online shop and their online behaviour also play a major role. Which payment methods are popular? Should the ordered goods be delivered to the customer’s doorstep, or is collection at a locker or even a pick-up point preferred? These criteria play an important role when choosing a shipping service provider and establishing the company’s own presence in Eastern Europe.

Shipping to Eastern Europe


Current statistics clearly show that Eastern European shoppers are open to shopping in foreign online shops. Their satisfaction with the results is reflected in their significantly lower rate of returns as compared to domestic selling in Germany. Focussing on the Czech Republic and Slovakia, for example, various statistics clearly show that over half of the inhabitants who have an internet connection use it for shopping. According to t3n magazine, for example, use of online selling in Eastern Europe has grown by 15% in recent years, which is stronger growth than Germany has experienced.  Germany stands out as the most popular country when it comes to cross-border shopping.

4 things you should pay special attention to when expanding to Eastern Europe:


  • When it comes to shipping to different countries with different customs procedures and shipping regulations, make sure that you choose a reliable and experienced shipping service provider for your products to ensure that you can meet your customers’ needs. For example, in many countries delivery to a pick-up point is much more popular than home delivery. When it comes to payment methods, you should also remember that cash on delivery is more common than it is in Germany.
  • It is important to familiarise yourself with local rules and laws, especially (but not only) data protection guidelines, tax laws, obligations and customs duties.
  • The design of your online shop as well as the customer service should be adapted to the respective national language in order to reach a larger audience and increase your chances of success. Having various languages available in your online shop creates a better experience for your potential customers and helps them to better understand your products.
  • When expanding to Eastern Europe, you should take both the different national languages and the cultural differences into account, as in some countries, certain holidays and festivities take place at different times than in Germany. This is particularly important when planning discount campaigns in connection with public holidays and regional festivals.
four rules to expand into central europa

In conclusion


Expansion into Eastern Europe is a smart move and opens up new markets and growth opportunities. With a population of several hundred million people, Eastern Europe plays host to a broad consumer base for new products and the potential to increase your sales.

It is important to adapt your business and marketing strategies to the different regions and local cultures so that your online business can expand successfully. It pays to be flexible and adaptable here. It’s also worth noting that expanding requires a lot of time and attention. There are many hurdles to cross when implementing all the important prerequisites, prescribed rules and obligations of the various regions. However, with the right approach and sufficient preparation, nothing stands in the way of your expansion into Eastern Europe and thereby your access to a rapidly growing market. Strong, experienced expansion partners such as Kaufland Global Marketplace in e-commerce and Packeta in logistics are specialists in the local conditions and can support your start and subsequent growth in the Eastern European markets!


DPD/Packeta Netzwerk
ecommerceDB Country Report 2021 Slovakia/ Czech Republic
European Ecommerce Overview Slovakia/Czech Republic
European E-Commerce Report
Packeta Netzwerk/Universität Bamberg