The Polish e-commerce market was about 6,5 Billion EUR in 2014. Also, the reports estimates that 75% of Polish Internet users had bought something online and now we can speak of about 12 million online shoppers. Definitely, Poland is an attractive market for investors and online specialists. But what do Polish e-consumers buy? How can you convince them to buy, is it the price? What are the most used marketing channels by the Polish e-commerce business? Let’s find out from Piotr Szczepaniak, one of the artisans of the biggest e-commerce events in Poland.
Piotr Szczepaniak is constantly with an eye on the European E-commerce market as he and his colleagues had organized until now 9 editions of E-commerce Poland Trade fair, the biggest e-commerce event from the country. A place where only last year, in the autumn, about 3500 people from the online industry had met, interacted and shared knowledge. Because Poland has a great potential when you analyze the e-commerce figures. In 2014 was the 3rd country in a top about B2C fastest-growing e-commerce markets from Europe, with 21,7% (according to an Ecommerce Europe report). An interesting market for investors, e-commerce businesses and online marketing specialists as well. Do they have a secret?
Poland is the 3rd country in a European top about B2C E-commerce Growth Rate. What are the engines of this growth?
Piotr Szczepaniak: The entry threshold to the e-commerce market is very low and that is a big opportunity of entry for new businesses and contributes to the development of this sector. The dynamic development of the payment industry helped to adapt rapidly to customer needs. You need to remember Poland is an over 38 millions of people… it’s really big market which have 12 million online buyers. The pace of life has increased dramatically over the last decade and that have an enormous impact on modern polish customers buying habits. In the media you can find a lot of information about online sales what cause more and more interest among traditional businesses, therefore that have an impact on developing online distribution and marketing channels.
What are the most appealing product categories for the Polish online customers?
Piotr Szczepaniak: I will not be an explorer when I say the most appealing product categories are: TV Sets, domestic electrical appliances, clothes, books, PCs, mobile devices and dedicated accessories. As you might expect, women mainly buy apparel and accessories. Men buy mostly electrical appliances and they spend more money on online shopping than women.
What can you tell us about Polish customer online behavior?
Piotr Szczepaniak: The Polish online client is really attractive with the average annual cart value in 535 EUR total. Blogs and YouTube Reviews Channels have become most opinion-forming sources of product information. According to a survey, besides the manufacturers websites and online shops customers look for an information about a new product most frequently.
Over 75% of polish customers, while checking online shops, pay attention to shop’s price range. It’s the basic criteria for clients below 29 years of age. Customers at the age range of 50+ focus on product description rather than prices when making a buying decision.
How does it look like the Polish online customer (a short profile)?
Piotr Szczepaniak: Nearly half of polish online customers make at least one online purchase per month. Poles pay close attention to the price and later to the product quality and the consistency of descriptions. They are using huge e-commerce services mostly (According to research 76% of internet users know the biggest e-commerce service in Poland – Allegro) and comparison shopping websites. Polish online customer spends 45 EUR on average per month.
What are the most used marketing channels for Polish e-commerce business? What about the most effective, from your knowledge?
Piotr Szczepaniak: It depends on what you sell if it is B2B or B2C product. Some people have great results with AdWords, some people not.
Most of the e-shops use e-mail campaigns and AdWords campaigns. Social media is utilized but it’s not a huge factor in driving sales. Use Analytics and you need to focus in day-to-day marketing on hottest response levels on social media or email activity. It’s really hard to answer. You just have to try all of them and check which works :).
In what type of online store would you invest if tomorrow you’ll have all the resources?
Piotr Szczepaniak: I would invest in a premium group of products with a narrow assortment with a proper content marketing support like a blog etc. I think the right example of similar actions on the polish market is http://spiritsandstyle.com brand. There are 3 independent shops hiding under the brand including one physical store, independent thematic blogs publishing original releases. (Shops offers exclusive apparel for men and whiskey).
Top 3 recommendations for a Romanian online shop that wants to expand in Poland or CEE Region.
Piotr Szczepaniak: We have over 12 Million online buyers, and the number of e-buyers constantly growing. I think if you are trying to win out on CEE region you have to have a great customer support in the direct languages, a great return policy and a fast delivery. The last thing could be crucial.
Tell us which are the biggest challenges for an e-commerce business from CEE, in 2016?
Piotr Szczepaniak: I think it will be the logistics. People buy more and more and the customers are more demanding year by year. When I buy something I expect to get it the next day. That’s a big challenge for logistic providers and e-shops to ensure a high-quality service in this area. Certainly the quality improvement can’t be associated with delivery costs. Online buying has to be profitable, the Poles love free shipping etc.
Poles pay close attention to the price and later to the product quality and the consistency of descriptions. They are using huge e-commerce services mostly and comparison shopping websites.
Piotr Szczepaniak, E-Commerce Capitals
2 things for an e-commerce business must do starting tomorrow in order 2perform (in marketing, business)?
Piotr Szczepaniak: You should know how e-commerce industry looks like in Poland, what kind of customer are you exactly looking for. The most important thing for the Poles is price, product quality and delivery time.
Please tell us why an e-commerce business should come to your events from Berlin &Poland, and some useful info about the agenda (Berlin 2016).
Piotr Szczepaniak: Firstly I’d like to tell about we do. We have organized 9 editions of E-commerce Poland Trade fair which attracted 2000 attendees in 2013 and over 3500 at autumn 2015. We’ve made 75% growth in number of visitors and 40% (in Warsaw 2015 we growth in number of exhibitors in last two years. And that is the biggest e-commerce event in Poland and CEE (except Germany of course). It shows how rapidly Polish e-commerce industry is developing. We have noticed the e-commerce companies urge to going global and we would like to help them.
We believe the E-commerce Berlin EXPO might be a “bridge” between Western Europe and top specialist from CEE market. We are expecting 2500-3000 attendees from B2B to B2C interested in e-commerce. It’s a great opportunity to meet so many on-line businesses in one day. On the stage during E-commerce Berlin EXPO you will see Michał Sadowski (Brand24), Grzegorz Błażewicz (SalesManago) they are leading figures of Polish e-commerce.
Thanks, Piotr, and good luck.