Amazon.PLans for Poland
Amazon plans to launch a specific marketplace for the Polish e-Commerce market, amazon.pl. The move will change the existing e-Commerce market in Poland and may have an impact on the counterfeit and grey market landscape in the country as well. Brands need to prepare for the change and protect themselves from the harm of fakes and grey markets.
Amazon is planning to launch a new online marketplace in Poland: amazon.pl. Although a precise launch date hasn’t been announced yet, vendors and sellers can already register on https://sell.amazon.pl/ if they want to ensure their presence at the start line when the new marketplace takes off.
Amazon is not new to Poland. The ecommerce giant has been present in the country since 2009, operating nine fulfillment centers (with a tenth under construction right now). The company currently employs over 18.000 people in Poland. However, Polish customers (and vendors) had to work with the German marketplace, Amazon.de. That changes now.
Thanks to the company’s heavy presence in Poland, launching the new marketplace may not be as much work as entering a completely new country. But, as Amazon has hopefully learned from the fiasco at its start in the Swedish market, it may need to make more of an effort than simply machine-translating a website and slapping a flag on top.
Because not everyone is waiting for amazon.pl with open arms. In fact, Poland already has a flourishing e-Commerce landscape.
The e-Commerce market in Poland
Poland has a fast-growing e-Commerce market with an annual revenue around $13 million, up by 13% from last year. The size of the market is currently estimated to be $17 billion, and a 25% growth is on the horizon for the next period (not in the least due to the COVID pandemic and the boost it provided to e-Commerce).
The most popular online marketplace in Poland is currently Allegro. Founded in 1999 in Poznan, the company today has more than 21 million registered and 17 million active users and over 50% share of the entire Polish e-Commerce market.
Allegro, the fifth largest online marketplace in Europe, started out as an auction site similar to eBay. Later, as the company grew, it transformed itself into a comprehensive marketplace not unlike - quite ironically - Amazon. Today, Allegro offers fashion, electronics, home decor, groceries, books, beauty products, and much more. The company delivers not only within Poland but to other European countries as well, including the UK.
Although undoubtedly the most popular, Allegro is not the sole actor of the Polish e-Commerce landscape. Ceneo.pl is another important player. Owned by the same company as Allegro (hence the similar design), Ceneo is mainly a price- and quality comparison service that offers purchases through the site as well.
Around 15.000 active users and 18.000 sellers are present on the platform. Just like Allegro, Ceneo offers various types of household goods, fashion, books, electronics, beauty products, and much more. The fast price and quality comparison feature is definitely what makes Ceneo popular among its users.
Besides Allegro and Ceneo, Poles like to shop on other, more niche online marketplaces as well. For example, Chrono24 that offers luxury watches, and Showroom that specializes in Polish and European designer clothing, are quite popular in the country.
Both niche marketplaces operate outside of Poland as well. Chrono24 accumulates over 10.000 sellers that attract more than 350.000 visitors globally per day, while Showroom brings together designers and clothing companies from all over Europe.
Amazon.pl won’t be the first international online marketplace to set up shop in the country. In fact, AliExpress, Zalando and eBay are also active players in Poland, not to mention Facebook and its very own marketplace. AliExpress and Zalando are currently the most popular international marketplaces on the Polish market; though with the start of amazon.pl that’s bound to change.
Amazon vs Allegro
Amazon’s entry will definitely change the current structure of the Polish e-Commerce market. Upon hearing the amazon.pl’s launch announcement, the value of Allegro’s shares dropped by 7% on the Polish stock exchange.
However, this doesn’t mean that all is lost for Allegro. In fact, its future will largely depend on how it handles the change and how well it can differentiate itself from the global e-Commerce giant.
One difference is already easy to spot. On Allegro, each available product has an individual product card per seller. This means that every seller has a unique product card for each item, and if a customer is looking for a particular product, they see all sellers lined up individually. Interestingly, eBay employs the same model.
However, Amazon has a single product card for all sellers of the same product. If a buyer lands on a product card (called Amazon Standard Identification Number, or ASIN), they can’t immediately see the different sellers. This way, it’s a lot harder for potential buyers to pick which seller they want to buy from.
But this way, it’s a lot easier for counterfeiters and grey marketers to blend in with honest, authorized sellers.
Luckily, globaleyez’s clients don’t have to worry about that either way. Our online brand protection experts have excellent working relationships with both Amazon and Allegro, which means that we’ll be hot on the trail of counterfeiters and grey marketers on any and every marketplace.
I do a lot of takedowns on Allegro for car parts. So much so that by now I’ve learned all the Polish search terms by heart. Actually, I know the terms for car parts and swear words in many languages.
Counterfeiting and grey markets in Poland
Although Poland is not considered to be a hotbed of counterfeiting, the country is not free from fraudsters and grey marketers that harm your brand.
Most of the counterfeit items found in the country are imported from Asia, although a small portion may even be produced locally. Authorities have a hard time investigating fakes because counterfeiters don’t leave a paper trail: the goods usually exchange hands during the night, with cash payments, without any documentation. Sellers often don’t even know where their goods are coming from.
This is why globaleyez’s test purchase service is essential. When we order a product, our rigorous documentation creates a paper trail that is an immense help to the authorities. Moreover, our documentation is admissible in court, which means that if you decide to press charges, you’ll have every available evidence for a successful court case.
Counterfeiting hotspots in Poland
There are several physical marketplaces notorious for selling counterfeits in the country. For example, the international market of the village Wólka Kosowska near Warsaw is one of the largest trading spots for counterfeits in Poland and Central Europe.
The market is grouped into various national sections, e.g. Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. Wólka Kosowska is not just a B2C market, but it also serves as a distribution point for (often fake) goods across Poland. Virtually any kind of product (and/or its counterfeited version) is available here.
Bakalarska (in Warsaw), Ch Ptak (near Lódz), and various border towns near Germany have also come under scrutiny for trading fake goods (mostly clothing and footwear). However, these sellers are often small timers, or little fish, who simply sell whatever products they’re given. They’re like the mythical hydra’s heads: when one goes down, two pop up in its stead.
Brand protection experts and law enforcement join forces
Law enforcement, while eager to act against counterfeiters, often lack the necessary resources and specific online brand protection expertise. This is why they welcome assistance from brands in any form: information, documentation, and even joint action with brand protection experts.
As the World Trademark Review’s report on the subject puts it: “quite often the authorities inquire whether any brand owner’s specialist would assist them in a control raid to make the first ‘field verification’ of suspect products.”
globaleyez is no stranger to cooperation with the authorities. In fact, we’ve assisted law enforcement many times with information, documentation, tangible evidence, and much more. Our online brand protection experts are always happy to cooperate with the authorities to eliminate counterfeits and grey markets.
The e-Commerce market in Poland is about to gain a new significant marketplace. While Amazon.pl gives brands further opportunities to sell their products in Poland, it also poses certain risks pertaining to counterfeiting and grey marketing.
Don’t let your brand suffer the consequences; reach out to us and learn how we can help protect your brand.