Ecommerce Berlin 2024 Report

ecommerce berlinI visited eCommerce Berlin to explore new technologies for our eCommerce customers.  I always like to write a report on these visits to help me evaluate the effectiveness of the visit and the follow through.

This is a cookie less AI tool that does not seek to replace any of your existing systems but rather collaborate with them. It is true collaboration and requires an engineer to implement it on platforms are not main stream. It will help you build audiences, monitor Search, help with cross sells and provide personalization widgets based on shopping habits.

Price Scraping and Setting – price watching and scraping engine that also makes pricing decisions based on its findings.  Its a good way not to over discount when you are running large inventories.  Their software is possibly one of the more slicker price comparison / watching tools.  The data is simple and accurate.  Its price point is very competitive.


A selling platform as opposed to a SaaS software for rent. This is an interesting platform, they are essentially a fully stocked and loaded procurement system for IT suppliers. So they link into all the well known procurement systems and they accept feeds if IT related product from suppliers and act as the conduit dropping orders. It saves time for IT managers looking for suppliers and also saves alot of cold calling by IT sellers.  Its USP is the fact that its fully linking into over 20 procurement platforms. What I found curious was that they were only specializing in IT. I was there thinking – this can be applied to pretty much any specialist product family.  I have scheduled a deeper dive.

Presentations. No less than 5 speaking stages all in full flow at the same time. Thankfully all well screened from the main show stands. Presentation and set up was top quality.

I attended 5 talks. 3 of which there was interesting takeaways.

the online musical instrument store – that started selling violin strings online and now is a massive music equipment store. I have a special curiousity in this sector being an amatuer muscian. The sectors customers are a picky lot –  they spend alot of time selecting and choosing a product and they spend alot but very infrequently. So how to leverage this market and continue to grow it ? Christian Maaß, CDO & MD at Thomann Music. Last year, the revenue reached approximately 1.4 billion euros, with almost two-thirds of it coming from outside the domestic market. The Covid bump has turned into a upward slope. Double % growth year on year over 8 years !

Most of their employees are musicians, they have created such a niche and knowledge depth amazon do not bother them. They stock product not on amazon and even if the product arrives on amazon its likely not to have the surrounding quality and depth of knowledge around it.

They do not outsource and realize there is huge risk leaving the shipping and sourcing of product to others. Shoppers know their guitar or violin bow is being shipped by some one who cares.

Customer loyalty is key.  They are super careful in their audience marketing and they pride themselves. For a musician its easy to spot – you dont try and sell an electric guitar to a person who last week purchased strings for a baroque violin. That’s the advantage of employing practitioners who know there stuff.

Its a family run business who could have sold out for an easy life but their passion has no value and they really enjoy what they are doing.


Food Delivery.

3 food delivery platforms – CEO of Just Eat

Interesting insights into this sector. They marveled at how much grocery companies spend try to make online grocery pay and persisting at it using very traditional channels and methods. Not realizing that online shoppers don’t have the time to order groceries, prep meals and cook them. They just want to eat and try to avoid junk. They are constantly making a play for playing the guilty “I am lazy tonight I’ll order dinner online” with “its ok because I ordered a low calorie vegan meal ”

They all agreed that discounting was to be avoided and rewarding loyalty was a better play economically.

Surprisingly they noted that TV advertising though very expensive was possibly the most effective in this market.

Email newsletters were by far the best paying of all promotion channels.

Motor Industry

Motor industry getting into product placement in online games. Talk about branding ’em young. I suppose we are all victims to this to some degree. The panel had a rep from what is the German state enterprise board. She pointed out that 15000 retail stores had shut in Germany in the last 12 months. The larger city’s retail was doing ok – but the regional towns bricks and mortar retail is in freefall and dying at this point. Its clear to see as you walk the streets of Berlin – there are few retail stores outside of food and D2C palaces. In fact retail in Dublin’s south city in in a way better state than Berlins.

Some observations on eCommerce in Germany in 2024.

Accuracy is a huge factor in this market. There was not the plethora of AI platforms there and the suspicious person I am was thinking was it because it would not withstand the German accuracy test or are German eCommerce companies simply not that interested. They like to understand the tech fully before implementing.

Many of large eCommerce sellers in Germany are family owned businesses. This is an interesting fact that they can as families grow these companies to a decent size. Usually family businesses are not able to do this because of the social structure and that fact that the move at the speed of the slowest adapter on the decision chain. Also early exiting and selling to competitors growing by acquisition is not as common in Germany.

Germany ships more product than it sells –  how come ? – they are well positioned and have specialized in eCommerce distribution and warehousing.  20% of the exhibitors were logistics related.

The show is conducted mostly in English and most of the presentations and workshops were in English. So no worries about understanding or networking.

The event had little or no merch on the stands and there was not a plastic bottle to be seen. Fridges of free water and beer were liberally scattered throughout the event.

Hotel was €100 a night – public transport was €11 a day for unlimited travel. The entrance fee to the show was free. The quality of the stands excellent and the speakers and workshops excellent too.

I’ll finish with an anecdote.

I stayed on for the weekend. On the Saturday night I got a last minute cancellations and I went to the Berlin Philharmonic hall to see the Deusche Symphony Orchestra. My seat was up in the Gods. It was pretty hard to find due to the poor signing of the sections. I commented to the couple beside me that it was hard to find the seat and the signing was poor. They commented – “well its very discreet” .  I thought to myself that is such an accurate description and a way of thinking that makes the German eCommerce market different.  Where alot of ecommerce is quite brash and the technologies are aggressive in their pursuit of sales. the German approach is more discreet and they are quietly confident in this approach.

About the author.

Sean Owens is a seasoned ecommerce design – build and promoter. He has been building and running ecommerce stores since 1999 and is happy to share his thoughts and insights at events and Podcasts. He can be contacted on [email protected]

By | 2024-03-12T15:46:35+00:00 March 12th, 2024|e commerce, ecommerce|