If you’re developing your international business strategy you’re probably asking yourself a lot of questions. Will your product be as successful abroad as back home? Is the country you’re moving to ready to buy from you? How different is doing business in the UK compared to Germany?
The truth is every culture is different and you need to be ready for that.
For example, Germany can be a very appealing country if you’re tech company. But, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be exactly what you’d expect.
So, if your expanding your business to Germany here’s a list of things you should know, besides the fact that it’s the largest economy in the EU and where 800 million currywurst are eaten each year.
Germans find mobile ads annoying
Mobile advertising is definitely a great way to reach new customers. Just not in Germany.
According to this study by Nordlight Research, a whopping 92% of German online users have a negative or neutral view towards mobile ads and about two-thirds feel mobile ads were a nuisance.
And it’s not just mobile. They are also big fans of ad-blocking software so, unless your advertising is this good you should probably think of a different strategy.
On the other hand, studies found that more than 50% of consumers in Germany listed newspaper and magazine advertisements as sources of information they trust and 84% trust their friends and family.
So, if you’re expanding to Germany, it might be a good idea to include print ads in your international marketing strategy and to work on influencer marketing.
Price comparisons are a big deal
Comparing prices has definitely been a rising worldwide trend for the past few years and Germany is no exception. You have lots of different platforms that do just that in the German market.
Therefore, if your product can easily be compared with others you may consider adding your products to tho price comparison platforms. Bear in mind that most of the information is searched in German, however.
Germans love paying with cash
According to this ECB survey, cash is still king in Germany. In fact, Germans are the ones who have most cash in their wallets in the whole European Union — 103 euros in average. The Cologne Institute of Economic Research also found that every German uses a card on average 49 times, while Danes and Swedes paid with card more than 300 times, and the British more than 200 times.
But this has an explanation. Germany had multiple currency collapses in its history so, it’s only natural for its people to fear for their financial future. They also prefer to pay with cash because it allows them to better control their finances and, unlike credit cards, cash is anonymous so it doesn’t keep any trail of data.
Consider this when deciding on your payment options.
Privacy is a priority
Data protection and privacy are big thing in Germany. Along its history, Germany saw the rise of two political regimes set up on the surveillance of its people. This enabled these political systems to control, manipulate and oppress the German people.
So, it’s really no wonder that Germany is very strict when it comes to privacy. In fact, data privacy protection laws are stricter in Germany than anywhere else (and if you don’t comply you can end up paying millions of euros in fines).
Remember to make sure your customers data and their devices are secure as security breaches can be a deal breaker. If you take privacy and data protection seriously, and be transparent about it, it can give you competitive advantages.
You need to speak German
Consider this: only about two-thirds of Germans speak English, and less than one-quarter of those feel that they are proficient in the language.
Consider this too: 75% of people search online for information in their native language — with 58% claiming that this also increases their brand loyalty (Common Sense Advisory).
Speaking your customers’ language will give you what you need to improve customer satisfaction and in Germany that’s no exception.
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