Boris Prondzinski is Head of Sales and Marketing at Bonprix.
“We started with Sweden because it’s the biggest market in the region,” he says.
You can buy clothes, shoes and accessories for the whole family at Bonprix.se. At first glance, the Swedish website looks pretty similar to the Bonprix website in other European countries. Boris Prondzinski explains that the differences are mainly in the kinds of garments that are highlighted – it all depends on the season and what works best on the local market. Instead the main task in adapting the websites has been to make sure that all the information and terms and conditions adhere to the country’s laws, for example in relation to marketing, consumer rights and data protection.
Another important element has been including logos from organisations that consumers trust.
“For example, in Sweden we work with the quality mark ‘Trygg e-handel’, and customers feel confident about buying things from us with their logo on our website,” says Boris Prondzinski.
Customer orders are dispatched from the company’s central warehouse in Germany direct to Sweden, where the recipient collects them from one of Posten’s service points.
In terms of logistics, Bonprix felt it was important that the supplier they chose to work with in Sweden could provide for the company’s future needs in the other Nordic countries as well.
“This enables us to achieve synergy effects in our deliveries to and within the Nordic region. It also means that our systems don’t have to be so complex since we have fewer suppliers,” says Boris Prondzinski. He continues: “It was also important that the supplier had a well-established network of collection points throughout the entire region to make it simple and easy for customers to collect their parcels.”
Five tips from Posten’s e-commerce expert Arne Andersson to companies wanting to expand in the Nordic region.
1) Keep it local.
Your website should be translated into the language of each country if at all possible. Business is local. It is only in Norway that it’s OK to speak and read Swedish. Remove Swedish flags, all Swedish text. It is also a major advantage and security factor if you can offer a local telephone number and customer services that respond in the local language.
2) Give options.
Invoices don’t work in Denmark. Customers prefer to pay using Dankort (www.pbs.dk). In Finland, direct payments via banks are more common than in any of the other countries. Options are essential for the customer.
3) Check how to handle returns.
Returns policies in the Nordic countries are linked to the country’s consumer legislation, and it’s different for each country. In Finland, the practice is for consumers to be able to return their goods without incurring a cost. This can be quite expensive for companies selling online.
4) Offer various delivery alternatives.
Customers in Sweden, Norway and Finland are used to picking up their parcels from a collection point, while in Denmark they prefer to have their goods delivered to the door. Customers expect fast delivery more so in Sweden and Denmark than in Norway and Finland.
5) Don’t do anything by halves.
Putting a huge effort into making things work in Sweden is no guarantee that things will go just as well in the other countries with half the effort. Draw up a plan, look at what resources you have and don’t do anything by halves.
Would you like to find out more? Follow Arne’s entries on Twitter @ArnepaPosten, or at e-handelsbloggen.nu.