Start selling online in Central Eastern Europe [FREE Guide]

Selling on Central Eastern Europe marketplaces is a great opportunity for businesses seeking to expand their operations internationally. CEE region offers a wealth of potential for those willing to take the time to explore it.

In this article you’ll learn about:

  • The key figures & trends of the CEE region
  • Selected challenges and essential opportunities the CEE market presents
  • Most promising ecommerce markets in CEE

Keep reading to discover what makes the CEE region a true hidden gem of ecommerce. And finally: download our useful guide through the CEE marketplace landscape at the end of the article.

central eastern europe marketplaces

Selling Online in Central Eastern Europe: CEE Region & history

Central Eastern Europe, also known as CEE, is a region that spans countries located in the heart of Europe, including Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine.

Many countries in the region were once part of the former Soviet Bloc, but the collapse of the Iron Curtain allowed them to shift their economies, resulting in a period of swift growth as they opened up to global trade and investment.

Today, Central Eastern Europe is a thriving region with a growing number of countries catching up on online shopping. The region boasts a flourishing ecommerce market, and its ecommerce spending rate is continuously increasing.

Selling Online in Central Eastern Europe: CEE market

The growth rate in the B2C market turnover suggests that the role of ecommerce is set to boom in the CEE. It is crucial to note that in 2020, the ecommerce market in Western Europe grew by just 4%, compared to a whopping 36% e-GDP growth rate in Eastern Europe and 28% in Central Europe. It’s a trend that persists – CEE’s growth rates are still much higher than in Western Europe.

The numbers below present the 2020 B2C ecommerce turnover growth rate segmented into Europe regions:

e gdp growth rate europe ecommerce 2

Source: Ecommerce Europe – European E-commerce Report 2020 & CMI Analysis

Selling Online in Central Eastern Europe: Advantages

While some European markets shine brightly on the world ecommerce stage, others remain more obscure and unknown. They are waiting to be discovered by businesses wanting to expand their operations and tap into new sales opportunities.

Most growth-oriented online merchants focus on Western Europe, while the future of ecommerce lies in looking toward the east. The untapped market of CEE presents a great opportunity for international sellers to establish themselves in a rapidly developing ecommerce landscape with tremendous growth potential and little to no international competition.

You could say: the more, the merrier – but the harder to come out on top. Once more international sellers flood the market with similar goods, it might force you to lower your prices or adjust your product portfolio unless you’ve already established yourself as a leader in a particular marketplace or region.

However, it’s essential to act fast but not hastily.

Benefits of selling your products online in Central Eastern Europe:

  • The growth rate of the market – leading position in terms of development potential
  • A thriving market with a steady rise in the average transaction value
  • Little to no international competition in the region
  • Growing internet usage for shopping
  • Access to a customer base of a highly skilled and educated workforce
  • Well-developed delivery infrastructure: major companies such as DHL and UPS have a presence in most of the CEE countries
  • Rapidly expanding marketplace landscape serving more and more local markets

Selling Online in Central Eastern Europe: Promising ecommerce opportunities

Look at the market value of B2C ecommerce in Central and Eastern Europe as of 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars):

Market value B2C ecommerce Central Eastern Europe 2022Source: Statista

Poland, Czech Republic, and Romania are definitely worth exploring further. Our free guide provides an overview of those countries’ key statistics, trends, and market intricacies to help international businesses better understand the opportunities awaiting them there.

How to take full advantage of those forecasts? Where to invest your efforts? What is the best first step to test the CEE waters? Explore their marketplace landscape!

Marketplaces provide international sellers with an easy jumping-off point to enter the CEE countries.

Why? Because they offer a mix of three important factors:

  • faster time to market,
  • lower cost of acquisition,
  • and higher growth potential

– when compared with selling through a D2C website directly.

Rather than adopting Western European models, CEE marketplaces focus on developing unique platforms. These marketplaces often expand quickly through acquisitions to reach new markets within the region, taking advantage of the fact that major marketplace players have yet to establish a local presence.

Our guide presents a selection of notable information on the two most prominent CEE marketplace platforms: Allegro and EMAG.

marketplace strategies maximize ecommerce growthLearn how to increase reach, visibility, and sales with the right online marketplace strategies for ecommerce growth with our FREE guide


Selling Online in Central Eastern Europe: challenges

The patchwork of diverse languages and cultures is mirrored in the multifaceted landscape of economies and retail sectors of different European regions and countries. This also presents a unique blend of challenges international businesses must navigate when entering the CEE market: from language barriers and differences in consumer behavior to complex regulatory frameworks and ecommerce infrastructure.

Expanding into the CEE market requires careful planning and a deep understanding of the region. Identifying the most relevant sales channels will also be a critical factor. Without designing a top-notch localization strategy, the venture won’t be set up for success. You should take the following things into consideration:

#1 Localization

Localization, the process of adapting offers to meet the language, cultural, and other specific requirements of a particular region, involves making sure the listings are accessible, understandable, and appealing to the target audience, by modifying language, images, and functionality details (such as currency, size conversions, etc.) to meet local customs. It can be a critical factor in the success of a product in the global market.

#2 Logistics & local regulations

Shipping and returns can be a challenge if not appropriately streamlined. A comprehensive third-party solution can make transport management efficient and, most importantly, comply with all relevant regulations, such as customs clearance.

central eastern europe ecommerce map

Selling Online in Central Eastern Europe: How to localize & optimize your marketplace listings?

At Webinterpret, we have a unique perspective on the ecommerce landscape of CEE. While separating Central and Eastern regions for statistical purposes and reports is practical, it’s sensible to approach the region holistically.

With 15 years of experience in both the Central and Eastern Europe markets, we deeply understand their intricacies and nuances.

This uniquely positions Webinterpret to provide an expert growth strategy encompassing both regions. Our solutions enable marketplace sellers to instantly expand worldwide. Our automated services will help you avoid all the hassle of setting up, marketing, localizing your listings, and shipping them, so you can quickly & easily boost your online sales.

Contact our ecommerce experts for more information.

Central-Eastern Europe selling guide

Start your journey towards unlocking the potential of Central and Eastern Europe’s marketplaces!

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