How to expand your e-shop to Romania?

We communicate with e-shop owners and PPC specialists on a daily basis, and we know, that e-shops want to grow and expand from their home country quite frequently.

The reasons for expansion are many, but it’s mainly due to the fact that the e-shop owners want to increase profit and establish themselves in a less competitive market. It may happen that there are too many e-shops in the given segment of the domestic market and therefore, you might have strong competition.

In this article, we would like to bring you more information about the Romanian market. This applies mainly to e-shops that are already established in the neighboring countries, i.e. Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Moldova. Of course, e-shops from different countries can also expand to Romania (e.g. from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Poland), but it can be more demanding in terms of logistics.

What does the Romanian eCommerce market look like?

In Romania, there are approximately 17 million customers who browse the Internet, and the vast majority of them also shop online. As for e-shops, there are roughly 25,000 e-shops in Romania. From those, only about 7,000 e-shops should be counted as relevant e-shops in terms of traffic and orders. As for competition between e-shops, there is significantly less competition in Romania than in the Czech Republic or Slovakia.

In Romania, Google campaigns (Performance Max campaigns included) work really well. For more clicks and impressions from Shopping and Performance Max campaigns, you can use the benefit of a CSS partner, for example Shopping in EU.

All prices on the e-shop must be indicated in Romanian lei (RON). This also applies to product prices in the Merchant account, as well as in product XML feeds.

Specifics of the Romanian market

As for the text on the e-shop, it is similar to other countries. You should write product descriptions (as well as the entire e-shop) in the Romanian language, and be sure to find a native speaker for text proofing. You should also be prepared for the fact that your phone support should be in Romanian, since Romanians are less fluent in English than is common in other countries, e.g. in northern Europe.

We can count on the fact that Romanian eCommerce has above-average growth, higher than the average in Europe. In recent years, Romanian eCommerce has been growing by up to 30% each year. It is in fact one of the fastest growing eCommerce markets in Europe.

Customer behavior

The Romanian customers are in some ways similar to customers from other Central and Eastern European countries. They tend to consider a purchase and look at reviews and recommendations from others. It is therefore recommended to collect reviews on price comparators, and ideally also collect reviews directly on your e-shop. As for products, you should pay attention to high-quality labels for products, as well as high-quality images.

As for traffic from mobile devices and from desktops, Romanian customers often visit e-shops via mobile, these visits make up about 70% of e-shop visits. This is mainly influenced by “Millennials”, who research e-shops primarily via mobile phones. Therefore, it is very important to optimize the e-shop and websites for mobile devices.

We would also like to mention that when selling in Romania, you need to have support in Romanian, meaning native speakers.

Payment preferences

Cash on delivery is very popular in Romania. About 80% of all purchases are paid via cash on delivery, therefore, definitely don’t overlook this payment method.

Card payments are less frequent, but we see an upward trend here. In the course of a few years, we can expect that card payment will become a frequent payment method and might just overcome cash on delivery.

Logistics

Romania is a relatively large country and is therefore more demanding in terms of logistics. Roman customers also tend to order the same goods from several e-shops and keep the package that arrives first (they will return the rest). You can solve this by fast delivery, as well as informing the customer about the status of his order. You should also think about effective returns management since Romanian customers expect easy and effortless returns. For this, you can check for example Expandeco.

As for package delivery, you can use Packeta services. As Packeta shared on their website, customers usually accept a shipping price of up to 20 RON (approx. 4€) in the cart, so try to keep the shipping price lower or free. We will only briefly mention that the biggest carriers in Romania are Cargus and FAN Courier.

The largest e-shops in Romania

These are the largest e-shops in Romania:

  • Emag.ro

  • Altex.ro
  • Dedeman.ro
  • Okazii.ro
  • Cel.ro
  • Aboutyou.ro
  • Flanco.ro
  • Fashiondays.ro
  • Elefant.ro
  • Epantofi.ro

You should always pick inspiration from the largest e-shops or their segments. This way you can gain an advantage over medium and small e-shops in Romania.

Where to advertise?

Google campaigns

As for Google campaigns, it is recommended to start with Google search campaigns. You can start, for example, with classic Google campaigns, Performance Max campaigns, or Product text campaigns. Subsequently, you can also run campaigns for individual categories or campaigns in the Display Network.

For Performance Max campaigns and Product text campaigns, you can use advanced filters through BlueWinston to get higher campaign performance. On our blog, you can check what results (ROAS, ACOS) can be achieved in different segments from BlueWinston campaigns.

For Performance Max campaigns, you can use our Shopping in EU CSS to achieve more clicks and thus have an advantage over your competition. In most cases, you will get an increase of up to 20%, which can bring you more conversions for the same budget.

Microsoft campaigns

Once you have Google campaigns up and running, we would recommend running Bing campaigns as well. Currently, Bing has only a small share in Romania (up to 5%), which can be up to 1 million users per month. However, it is possible that gradually Bing’s share among search engines will grow, and therefore it makes sense to solve and automate product campaigns from the start so that you can get ahead of your competition. You can read more about product campaigns for Microsoft Bing directly on our blog.

Price comparison sites

You should also think about registering your e-shop on the largest price comparators in Romania. Price comparators are used by customers who are looking for specific products and the only thing that separates them from making the conversion is on which e-shop and at what price should they purchase the product. In this case, you get very precise traffic that is really close to a purchase. In Romania, you should check these price comparison sites:

  • Compari.ro
  • Shopmania.ro
  • Glami.ro (for fashion products)

Summary and conclusion

Among e-shop owners in the countries around Romania (mainly in Hungary, Bulgaria, and Serbia), expansion into Romania is very often mentioned. But e-shops that expand from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, or Poland can also be successful. In that case, logistics should be emphasized in order to deliver the packages within 2 days at the latest.

In recent years, Romanian eCommerce has grown significantly and there is also relatively little competition between high-quality e-shops. It can therefore be said that expansion to Romania can be a great opportunity for foreign e-shops that can take advantage of the interest in online shopping in this relatively large market.

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About the Author:

Account manager at BlueWinston & CCS Shopping in EU (I'm the guy responsible for the most effective PPC tool to create product text and Smart Shopping campaigns for Google Search)