Sales Channels to Germany
Latest Update: March 30, 2022
This is relevant for: Vietnamese companies selling in Germany
Why Germany is Relevant to Vietnamese Exporters
Germany is one of Europe's most attractive markets. It has the largest gdp and retail sector. Germany is home to four of the ten largest metropolitan areas in Europe and has its largest population. It is therefore only natural that many companies from abroad choose Germany as their first step into the European Union.
Key Metrics of Germany in the European Union
Vietnam enjoys a strong trade balance surplus with Germany. Products such as electronics, apparel and shoes as well as agricultural products are well-received here. Lately, metal products and furniture are also making inroads. Germany is the biggest importer of Vietnamese coffee. With the EU-Vietnam-Free Trade Agreement the trade between the two countries is bound to flourish even more.
Distribution Channels in Germany
So, there obviously is a market in Germany. But how do Vietnamese goods find access in here?
Basically, there are three forms of distribution channels: 1) Direct export, 2) Indirect export or 3) via own legal entities of Vietnamese enterprises in Germany. The following slides may give an impression of these distribution channels.
Overview: Distribution Channels in Germany (click for enlarged version)
No intermediaries. Saving margin and giving direct control over customers. However, finding/maintaining clients difficult.
Can be established as capital or private company. Gives direct control over sales. However, it is costly.
Most companies from Vietnam will opt to start their export activities to Germany with indirect exports. They typically cooperate with wholesalers who buy the products, import them and finally take care of distribution in Germany. This is a convenient approach for fast market access for Vietnamese companies firing up their export activities.
Finding Sales Partners
While it is not easy to identify and contact potential partners, there are some tools that might help. A selection can be found below:
DATABASE “WER LIEFERT WAS” (WLW)
"Wer liefert was" is German for "Who is supplying what". "WLW" might be viewed as the German "Alibaba". Most reputable companies will have a business entry here. By searching for target products not only manufacturers but also traders will be shown in the results. The English version of the website is a bit rudimentary but will surely be of help:
"Handelsvertreter" means "trade agent" in German. This database contains contact data for relevant trade agents. Companies looking for such partners may place advertisements. It must be noted that this service is NOT free of charge.
Germany is a global hub for trade fairs. There are hundreds of events each year with many leading global exhibitions. Even in the digital age these events are extremely relevant when making new or tending for existing partnerships. Trade fairs can be researched on a platform of "AUMA" which is the German trade fair association: https://www.auma.de/en
Our organization is representing the trade fairs of Berlin, Düsseldorf, Nuremberg as well as Toy Fair Nuremberg. Should you be interested into exhibitions in these cities or international events of these trade fair companies you can directly contact us here.
IXPOS BUSINESS FINDER
This is a government-funded international business exchange platform. Here, you can search for companies and also place advertisements for free.
We highly recommend you to be listed on the big enterprise search platforms. The following ones may be useful for Vietnamese enterprises:
Alibaba (although Chinese-dominated)
BME Open Sourcing (this is a platform operated by Germany's biggest purchaser association)
MARKTET INFO @ VCCI
We The WTO Center of VCCI in cooperation with the German "Friedrich Naumann Foundation" has prepared extensive information on market access in Germany and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
AHK BUSINESS PARTNER MATCHING
We are offering business partner matchings as a commercial service. If you're interested into further information or a quotation you will find further info here.
Before you head off for your new export market... Prepare!
We have been in Vietnam for a quarter century and thus have consulted a lot of companies setting up business ties. While many companies are very successful in trading between Vietnam and Germany we have also witnessed repeating challenges. These can largely be avoided by preparation as laid out below:
CHECK YOUR CREDENTIALS
Germans are quite formal folks. They like to know whom they are dealing with. Appearance matters. This is why you as a Vietnamese enterprise should work on your credentials:
Domain: You should not use a gmail or yahoo domain (or similar). This will be deemed unprofessional and untrustworthy. Instead, you should write from a dedicated company domain, e.g. @vietnam.ahk.de.
Signature: Your mail should have a professional signature laying out your full name, position within your company, legal company name, address, website and phone number.
Website: This is the first thing your potential partners will check after reading your mail. Hence, your website should have the following features:
It should be online 😜
It should have a professional and modern design (use wix, squarespace etc. if you don't want to invest)
It should have English content
It should show information on the company, its management and its products
Landline phone numbers: Check out this Linkedin post.
VET YOUR PARTNER
😨 Find out why it is important to check on a partner here.
👩🔧 Find out how to screen a partner here.
We are wishing you good luck on your endeavors in Germany. Feel free letting us know if you have any questions!
Please consider this information without liability for any data with respect to content, completeness or up-to-datedness.