Logistics certainly benefits from well-connectedness. Apart from Slovak post, which is an option used by many, the most common couriers are DHL, DPD, PPL, Geis Parcel, NeoShip, and GLS. Tracking orders, getting notifications and prompt communication from shipping companies is a norm. With the rising popularity of pick-up options, Zásilkovna and Uloženka are getting a strong hold of the market: consumers can collect their orders (almost) anytime while the shipping cost stays budget-friendly.
Legislation / administration. VAT registration is compulsory after a turnover of 49,790 EUR in a maximum period of 12 consecutive calendar months. Standard VAT is 20 %. Slovakia also offers a reduced 10 % VAT on books, selected foods, selected medical devices, accommodation services, and goods and services within the social economy.
In terms of payment options, it’s simple math: two thirds pays cash on pick-up, one third opts for a card payment (or bank transfer and other e-wallet methods).
Delivery is certainly a field that has undergone the biggest transformation in the past couple of years. While not long ago, 83% of online shoppers had been in favour of home delivery, convenience and flexibility had become increasingly important in lifestyles of (urban) Slovaks. Pick-up points usually have longer opening hours (often including weekends) than post office or tight couriers’ windows for home delivery. In cities, self-service boxes are available day and night. The combination of an online store with a brick-and-mortar showroom is particularly popular, because one avoids the shipping cost. Bear this in mind: less than half of the customers leave the shopping cart before ordering goods due to insufficient shipping options.
Candid insights before we go on:
We mentioned Slovakian e-commerce market is tightly connected to the Czech Republic’s. As a result of historic background, Slovaks are used to buying from Czech companies, listening to Czech TV and following Czech media. Interestingly, it doesn’t always work the other way around. The biggest Czech e-commerce players and present (and successful!) in Slovakia, so if you are one, you should build your presence too.
How do businesses typically go about it? A notion still taken by many is to enter the new market copy-pasting all that’s working in your homeland. To gain a lot, you also want to spend a lot on different marketing activities, right? While in theory, risk-taking is essential to entrepreneurship, expansion is not like throwing spaghetti on the wall, waiting what sticks. Unless you have unlimited budget to spend, Laszló Szabó, Google Certified Trainer for Export in the Czech Republic and Slovakia as well as co-founder of Growww Digital, believes that planning ahead (and making your first mistakes in Excel sheet!) is the way towards fast growth in a new market. “We believe businesses exporting abroad should calculate their business potential and go for the low hanging fruit,” Szabó adds. Turns out, you don’t need to copy-paste everything. Why don’t you start with one or two channels? Or better yet: keep an open mind for an out-of-the-box solution. An audit with Growww Digital often turns out exactly that way!