Perhaps to some of you, this might already be old news but to others, this may just be the first moment of exposure that you are experiencing. The elephant in the room is of course the massive acquisition of Shoplo by competitor Shoper.
The acquisition deal reportedly cost Shoper 17.5 million PLN, cementing the position of the company as it acquired the third-largest player of online SaaS shops in Poland. It was first reported back in August of this year, but now we are slowly starting to see the fruits of this acquisition, more on this later.
The other big news is the entry of Shopee into the Polish market, the Singaporean-based company has begun its leeway into the market by signing a deal with none other than InPost and DPD.
These two massive movements have made me ask myself the question if the Polish e-commerce market is going to drastically change. So, today we will cover:
The move by Shoper signals an important development in the ecommerce landscape in Poland as it sees the consolidation of two major players on the market merge into a single entity.
It is hard to assess the current size of the ecommerce market in Poland, but we do know that Shoplo was operating roughly 4,700 stores on its platform, whereas Shoper operated close to 10,000 stores. According to Shoper itself, they are looking to expand their market share to reach 50,000 stores by 2026. Ambitious, but not impossible.
According to a report we obtained that dates back to 2019 the Polish ecommerce market place was divided as follows:
From the same source, Senuto, we can also obtain numbers for 2021 for the two largest platforms, which are WooCommerce and PrestaShop ranking as follows:
The report itself of course came out earlier in the year than the acquisition of Shoplo by Shoper, but going off the numbers above and the data provided by Shoper, we can assume that indeed, Shoper has now become the leading platform for ecommerce stores in Poland.
Another important trend to observe is the fact that we can see the total number of stores on WooCommerce and PrestaShop decreasing, now obviously this begs the question what the cause of this decrease is?
These are volatile platforms so it is obvious that these numbers will continue to fluctuate but if we focus ourselves on the report provided by Gemius, we can see that the ecommerce market in Poland is only continuing to grow.
The logical assumption is that these players have simply been losing ground on the market, but take this with a grain of salt as I do not (yet) have the data to back it up.
Still, if we are objectively looking at the goal set by Shoper to reach 50,000 stores in 2026 this means that they would essentially have to acquire all of the major players on the market to hit that goal now.
Otherwise they are looking at a Growth Rate of 233.33% over the next 5 years, which might seem like a lot but it is certainly attainable. Otherwise I would not be using the tagline, “Let’s talk growth” for my own business, and if anyone from Shoper is reading this you can reach me here.
Here we get to the vegan meat of the story as to why I decided to write this article in the first place. Over the years I have had the pleasure of meeting people who operated their stores on the Shoplo platform in Poland and most of them were incredibly content.
The platform served its purpose for businesses like Benji’s Planet, Toku and Yoursparkle. Even though I myself still am a huge proponent of Shopify (for plug-and-play ecommerce) or going with a custom solution, I could not find many faults with Shoplo.
Color me surprised when I started seeing messages pop-up on Social media just a few days ago in massively negative sentiment about the swap from Shoplo to Shoper. Naturally though one can argue that my interaction with these negative sentiments only fed the powerful Facebook algorithm to display more such opinions, and you are probably right.
I tried to find more opinions while scouring the web, but the only source I found was Shoper itself. However, if you are reading this and you have experienced the switch from Shoper to Shoplo, I would be super interested in hearing your thoughts and experiences related to the change, and I can create a follow-up article to this one laying out a more sophisticated explanation.
So, should Shoper be worried about losing Shoplo clients? Probably not. As it is with any changes there are always people that are dissatisfied, but this will most likely be a small percentage of acquired Shoplo users.
Meaning that they will overall still come out ahead. And well if I am wrong and this does turn into a bigger issue, I am sure that the people at Shoper are monitoring this closely!
The takeover of Shoplo by Shoper may have triggered negative emotions in my head due to the number of negative comments I saw fly past on Social Media platforms, for Shopee this was instead fueled by a plethora of good vibes. Specifically due to the people.
Okay, there is a strong hint of a bias here which I am comfortable in acknowledging and accepting. Most notably what I saw was an influx of individuals announcing that they had just started working for none other than Shopee. This was only strengthened further by key HR personnel with whom I had the pleasure of dealing in the past, also changing their positions to ones at Shopee. Bingo.
These positive vibes were only exacerbated by the fact that Shopee had partnered with two massive logistical partners in DPD and InPost. Now I myself am a fervent believer in strategic partnerships, as I have had tremendous success with these in the past and most growth stories have elements of clever partnerships helping them reach explosive growth. Because frankly, when this landed in my inbox I prompted a quick visit to the Shopee website, and I have no doubt many others followed suit.
The strength of having a partner email being sent out to what I do not doubt is a huge mailing list of InPost (and disregarding DPD), without a doubt prompted a huge spike in traffic to the Shopee website. And if their GA was properly configured they would surely receive a lot of email referral traffic from these sources!
Shopee obviously enters a whole different part of the e-commerce market than what we discussed at the start with Shoper. It is first and foremost going to be competing against the Polish e-commerce giant marketplace, Allegro. Worth mentioning is also the fact that this is not the only entry of an online marketplace giant into the Polish market this year, with Amazon making its entrance in March of this year.
One can see how this would massively impact the landscape of Polish e-commerce as alluded to in the title. The introduction of Amazon and now Shopee stretches the market and offers a variety of new shopping alternatives to already established services.
According to the 2021 Ecommerce in Poland Report by Gemius, the knowledge regarding e-commerce platforms in Poland is heavily skewed in favor of Allegro:
Amazon increased its awareness on the Polish market by 5% in comparison to the previous year, which is a steady increase but still far away from the Polish giant. Shopee obviously aware of this has offered attractive deals to sellers wanting to onboard onto the platform with six months of commission-free trading and no monthly subscription costs.
For customers though, it offers free delivery with no minimum order value and has started an aggressive acquisition campaign with coupons and promotions to attract the polish customer.
Ultimately though it is important to remember that Shopee is not alone in its offering, and it is not just competing with Amazon and Allegro. AliExpress is also already quite cemented on the Polish market (and a variety of other Chinese ecommerce stores are gaining traction). And even with the Covid-19 pandemic having cast a dark shadow over the Far East at the end of the day most consumers just want their products for a good price and fast delivery.
This reminds me of my own hunt for a USB-C to USB-C cable for my car which landed me in MediaMarkt where I was promptly asked to fork over 80 PLN for a cable that was on Allegro (with free delivery) for only 16 PLN.
Ecommerce continues to grow worldwide, and the Covid-19 pandemic has only propelled this development further. Poland in particular has had an incredibly interesting year when it comes to e-commerce.
Seeing the acquisition of Shoplo by Shoper and the entrance of both Amazon and Shopee has really cemented the market as a strong player in Europe and signals that potential greener pastures lie ahead.
Consumers can rejoice at the fact that they can now browse for their cheap plastic cables on Allegro, AliExpress, Amazon, and Shopee. All of which are now competing for an ever-growing piece of the market. While my money personally remains with Allegro and I have a distaste for Amazon and AliExpress, my heart does beat a bit faster at the notion of Shopee.
Finally, an ecommerce marketplace that does not start with an A, and at the end of the day, if I see the people who have migrated to work with Shopee I can only hope for the best.
On the none-marketplace side of the Polish e-commerce market we have Shoper cementing itself at the top with the acquisition of Shoplo. The immediate impact of this move is of course still limited, subscriptions fees have remained the same, more features and functionalities have been added for existing Shoplo-users.
Ultimately, we have a big player on the market who is looking to scale up drastically over the next 5 years. With the market growing, Shoper will benefit from its market leader position.
If however, you are reading this article and are considering switching platforms I suggest you opt for a Growth Audit with us, we will happily advise you on the next steps in your ecommerce journey.