The German E-Commerce and Distance Selling Trade Association (bevh) was established in 1947 with the aim of a) representing the interests of its members with regard to legal legislation and institutional bodies and of b) providing information and counselling, and creating the structures necessary for a dialogue amongst its members. Currently it has a dynamically growing membership of large and small distance selling companies using the sales channels internet, catalogue, direct sales and TV. They include both firms with a very narrow product range and others with 100,000 articles and more in their inventory. Statistically there are more specialists than general retailers. German distance selling (goods) aggregate turnover is 48.5 billion EUR in 2013 of which approximately 80% is generated online.
The association represents its members in a number of ways: at parliament in discussions on preparing new laws and regulations, in asserting German interests at the European level in legal matters, and by negotiating with important Service Providers such as Google or Deutsche Post DHL. The association maintains close contacts with the German Bundestag, with various associations at home and abroad and via the European Multichannel and Online-Traders' Association (EMOTA) to the institutions of the European Union.
The bevh cooperates closely with various major specialist associations like online booksellers or online pharmacies whereby the emphasis is not simply to discuss the best methods of achieving mutual political objectives, but to promote the long-term interests of the e-commerce trade to the fullest.
The association promotes a dialogue amongst the member companies. At our regular councils the questions of the members are answered in the circle of trade colleagues and solutions are offered to a wide range of problems. Additionally, the bevh advises its members on all subjects concerning online retailing. The staff is always available to help.
Members are also entitled to assistance by the in-house legal councellor. He advises on all legal matters concerning competition laws, data protection and topics such as laws on packaging etc.
The internal publications (Newsletter@, European News) offer valuable trade information, supplementing circular letters to member management on topical themes.
Our calendar of events is of course tuned to meet the interests of the membership. We offer a variety of events with expert speakers in the fields of marketing, eCommerce, transport, B2B, human resources, buying, call centre, etc. in order to give our members help in everyday business. These events are run as seminars or congresses, or else take place in the field, whereby an insight can be gained into other (mail order) companies.
The bevh also offers specialist workgroups for eCommerce, Online-Marketing, B2B, HR, PR, transport logistics, etc. These are an opportunity for experts in member companies to meet and share the latest trends and experiences. These groups are open to all members, as is the task force for juniors.
Our work in public relations and press helps promote the image of mail order trade and eCommerce. For journalists, trainees and foreign business partners the bevh is the partner of the choice. They receive from us important trade information.
Every business category—be it small, medium or large business, B2B, B2C or pure internet retailer—is represented in our board of directors that is directly elected by the member companies. The board consits of 18 members and defines the guidelines for the association's work. Each member company can influence the direction of our work by active participation in the various commissions and workgroups.
Apart from promoting the general interests of trade, the bevh also provides a wide variety of individual services for its members. Take a look at our activities.