Checklist to expand to Germany with your webshop

Are you planning to expand your webshop to Germany? Then you need to arrange a number of things in advance. By means of this checklist we hope to be able to give you the tools, so that you are well prepared with the Germans.

Expand your webshop to Germany

1. German BTW nummer

In order to start in Germany, you will need – in most cases – a German VAT number.

When do you need a German VAT number?

  • you buy products in Germany, pay German VAT on them and then sell them in Germany;
  • you buy products in Germany, pay German VAT on them and then sell them in other EU countries;
  • you export excise products, namely: beer, wine, tobacco, mineral oils and other intermediates and alcoholic products;
  • you import products into Germany from other EU countries, which you then sell in Germany or deliver to other EU countries;
  • bring your own products to Germany (fictitious intra-community delivery);
  • you sell products online through marketplaces such as Amazon.de and Kaufland.de. These companies require a German VAT number.

Request a German VAT number

Well, we have now established that having a German VAT number is necessary. But how do you request a German VAT number?

There are several companies in the Netherlands that provide guidance and arrange everything for you. Examples of these companies are Staxxer, Amazonadvies.nl, Dexport and Amazonsellers.nl. International companies that can help you with the request of a German VAT number are: hellotax and SimplyVAT.

2. Business address in Germany

A business address in Germany is a real must-have if you are going to sell physical products. Germans are very eager on reliability and this is one of the things they check before they decide to order a product at your webshop.

However, a business address does not have to mean that you need to rent a physical office. There are several options for having a virtual business address. Companies such as Dexport facilitate – in addition to the VAT number – also in this.

3. Translate to German

Most Germans speak little or no English. They are also proud of their language and you will see that English emails are often answered in German. In order to achieve the highest possible conversion in Germany, a website translated into the German language is necessary.

You can easily find a translator through websites like Fiverr or Upwork.

4. Legal documents

In the Netherlands, only the Privacy Policy and the General Terms and Conditions apply in terms of legal documents. In Germany they expect you to add an Imprint.

The Imprint contains company information, such as the company director, address details and shareholders. In Germany, the director – there called Geschäftsführer – is seen as an authority. The trustworthiness of the director determines the trust in the company in general.

You can find an example of our Imprint here.

Conclusion

In general, Germany has a different business culture than the Netherlands or other European countries. Would you like to know more about selling in Germany? Read this article from the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.

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