Nordic Retail : Embracing a Marketplace Mindset

September 24, 2018

eCommerce in the Nordics is flourishing. Last year sales across the region hit an estimated 21.7 billion euros, with Swedish shoppers contributing 8.2 billion euros alone. In a recent study, two thirds of the population across Norway, Sweden and Denmark reported to have shopped online in the previous month (and just under half in Finland). It’s a market famous for the success of its exported brands like H&M and Ikea, synonymous with great quality, value and style.

Earlier this year it was reported that Amazon are making moves to enter the region. Whilst early estimates predicted the retail giant would launch in the Spring, it now seems more likely they’ll aim for a pre-Christmas reveal, perhaps a simultaneous launch across the Sweden, Denmark and Finland? We do know they have been in talks with several Swedish logistics companies and there is speculation they will run the enterprise from Germany.

So what does this mean for retailers in the region?

In a study ahead of eTail Nordics (2nd - 3rd Oct, more on this to come), WBR found that almost half (46 percent) of retailers they surveyed were negatively anticipating the Amazon move, believing they will ‘disrupt the industry and set unrealistic standards.’ Interestingly, just over a quarter (26 percent) responded positively to the challenge, saying it’s an opportunity to use an established marketplace.

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In fact, it’s a market that is increasingly embracing a marketplace approach, offering their customers a better selection of products, quality of service and lucrative prices. Nordic consumers have a range of marketplaces to choose from, and they are certainly growing in popularity. Here is a snapshot of some of the ones to watch:

One of the longest standing players in the region, Danish electrical retailer Wupti has been in business for more than 10 years and their marketplace welcomes over a million regular shoppers every month.

Elkjøp, another fantastic marketplace success story, is the largest consumer electronics retailer in the Nordic countries, with 400 stores in six countries and 10,000 employees.

Komplett.no is one of the biggest online retailer in Norway, selling a broad range of products, from computer equipment, insurances to cars and beauty items. [For more insight into their phenomenally successful marketplace, check out this video].  

Coolshop launched in 2003 under the philosophy: "Why should games be so expensive?" In their own words, “we were three young guys who set out to create an alternative to the traditional high street shop which had never really been challenged on price.” They now reach over over 1.6 million, and the business has expanded to sell across 22 categories, giving customers the highest quality products and value for money.

And it’s not just electrical and general merchandise that’s getting the marketplace makeover. New players on the marketplace scene include Afound, the latest fashion offering from the H&M Group, a bargain-hunting paradise celebrating local fashion brands that launched early summer.

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So should retailers in the Nordics be afraid of the impending Amazon threat? Well yes and no. There’s no denying Amazon has re-defined the modern shopping landscape, their laser focus on providing the most seamless, cost effective experience for their customers has set new standards in retail. But already we’ve seen that many retailers are viewing Amazon’s move into the region as a motivator to adapt to new demands set by their customers.

The laid back attitude, so synonymous with the Scandinavian region, is typified by Peter Hvidberg, head of ecommerce at Intersport Group, who remains confident that whatever Amazon throw at them, they’ll find a solution. “Intersport has 6000 stores in 46 countries – we have a really solid platform and strong commitment from our suppliers, so Amazon is not going to be a threat to us. I think the biggest threat is towards the small companies.”

Time will tell the impact that Amazon will have on the Nordics market, what we can be sure of it that the marketplace model, now embraced by so many of the regions leading players will continue to blossom, so perhaps Amazon won’t have quite the reception they’re expecting.

If you would like to chat about any of the case studies outlined, we will be at eTail Nordics in Copenhagen 2nd and 3rd October on stand number 2, and we’d love to chat about how we could help you grow your business.

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