Poland’s population is widely dispersed. Forty percent of Poles live in rural areas, while urban dwellers are spread among many population centers, including Warsaw and Łódź in the center of the country, Krakow and Katowice in the south, Wrocław and Poznan in the west, Gdansk and Szczecin in the north, and Lublin in the southeast (Statistics Poland).
Urban consumers generally have greater purchasing power than their rural counterparts. Personal contact with the customer is critical and final purchasing decisions typically require a face-to-face meeting. Success in this market typically requires an in-country presence, such as an agent, distributor, or representative office.
While the number of English speakers in Poland is rising, particularly in cities, communication in Polish is recommended to elicit prompt responses to offers and inquiries and to facilitate negotiations. Poland’s communication network is relatively well developed, and email communications and website offerings are an effective means of reaching local buyers.
Pricing is a critical factor in positioning a product or service for sale in Poland. Access to capital is difficult for most Polish firms, and business transactions are typically self-financed. U.S. firms that can arrange financing will have a competitive edge. U.S. exporters should develop a creative strategy for financing exports. Pricing can be a challenge for some U.S. exporters, especially as Poles often make decisions on price alone. Careful crafting of terms of sale, including creative currency and pricing terms, will help U.S. exporters gain a long-term advantage in the Polish market.