Understanding the retail selling process
If you are not a major retailer and you sell a physical product to clients, chances are you need a space to sell those products. And when you’re expanding your business to a new location such as the Netherlands (our top recommendation for expansion, obviously) you’ll want to get the lay of the landscape.
Ecommerce is a bustling business in the Netherlands with many platforms for you to sell your physical products to your new European audience. But while you could sell your products through your own website, you need to consider the local language, linguistics and culture. Lucky for you, there are some great already established ecommerce platforms that you might want to consider instead.
Why choose an established online platform
Choosing an ecommerce platform to sell at can be difficult. Chances are you want to build yourself a brand in Europe and are wondering if you’ll really be able to do that behind a big ecommerce giant. But before you throw the idea of using ecommerce platforms out the window, here are a few reasons you should seriously consider them:
When entering a new marketing, one of your biggest concerns is finding new customers. Using an already established ecommerce platform like Bol.com means you already have an established potential customer base. Selling through their platform means you have 8-million customers who will have the ability to access and purchase your goods.
Not only do you get access to customers, but you get access to an established reputation. As the new kid in town it’s hard for you to prove and establish your stellar reputation, unless you get a boost from someone who already has one.
Less overhead costs
Ecommerce selling means your overhead costs are far lower. You don’t have to find, open and pay for a storefront location. While there are fees associated with using someone else’s platform, they are often significantly less than those you pay building your own physical retail space, order fulfilment and shipping costs or even an online store!
But in the case of using a platform such as Bol.com, you can have your products stored and shipped for you for a significantly less fee. No need to have your own warehouse in the Netherlands. They’ll even handle returns and exchanges, making distance selling possible.
Once you’ve set up your store and shipped your products to their warehouse, you’re essentially done! They take care of all the back end for you. Your job is to sit back and wait for the orders to come in, commission is paid only when your product is sold. This is the ideal setup for companies with lower budgets that are ready to move into a new market.
eCommerce platforms in the Netherlands
When it comes to selling retail items, where to do it is often front of mind. Picking an ecommerce platform is the first step to getting your business off the ground after moving it to a new area.
But in the Netherlands should you be looking at the same platforms you’d use in your home country? Considering Amazon in the Netherlands only sells books, it’s probably not the best bet. But there are similar options, Bol.com is the Netherland’s answer to Amazon where you can set up a shop and also sell. Also, they are the largest online stores in the Netherlands.
How to get started
Once you’ve picked the platform you’d like to use, it is typically pretty easy to start. With a platform like Bol.com your first step is to ensure that you meet the requirements they have for their selling partners. The platform needs to know things like how fast can your product arrive at the buyers house, whether your business has been registered in the Netherlands and access to a VAT number, your return policy and service standards and do your products match their categories.
Tips for using Bol.com
It helps to know Dutch. While Bol.com is technically easy to use requiring only your product description (in Dutch), your relevant keywords so your poduct rank higher, and uploading your photos. Products that are tagged to the SELECT category appear to rank higher, it does require a bit of additional knowledge. While the support team speaks English, it would be a genuine advantage having someone who read Dutch that can navigage the problem.
Make your products stand out
It is also important to differentiate your products amongst your competitiors. And while there are no guarantees, some helpful things to add to your product profiles inlude professional photos, well-written descriptions and the proper labelling. It would appear that products with “SELECT” labels – which means the seller uses Bol.com warehouse and fulfillment – get higher rankings. Part of the reason for this is due to the fact that Bol.com guarantees next day delivery if the items are ordered before 11.59 noon the night before. Finally, it helps to have good reviews on your products so that it can be found easier by customers.
Pay attention to major shopping days
It is also important to pay attention to particular times of year so you can potential increase your sales. Festivals in Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg such as the feast of Sinterklass (Saint Nicholas), much like Christmas in the USA and Canada, celebrates on 5 December annually with the giving of gifts. According to Statistica, shoppers in their 20s spend around 56 Euros on presents, whereas those in their 30s and 40s spend around 90 Euros on gifts to their family members.
Get started today!
Once you know you meet their criteria, the process is as easy as registering and getting started. The ecommerce platforms have great customer service lines to help you through the set-up process and you’ll be on your way to getting your products in the hands of new customers in no time!
Are you ready to take your product to the Netherlands? Need to know where to start? Contact us today and we’ll help you get off on the right foot and get your product in front of customers in the Netherlands in no time.
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