The Netherlands is a prosperous country with a thriving economy, which makes it a great market for e-commerce. If you’re looking to expand your business into the Netherlands, or are simply curious about the online shopping industry in this region, this post is for you.
Here, we’ll discuss the key aspects of the Dutch e-commerce environment and give you tips on how to develop a successful e-commerce strategy for the Netherlands.
E-commerce in the Netherlands
Currently the Dutch are among the most engaged online shoppers in Europe. They make up a large part of the total e-commerce market in the region with 13 million online shoppers buying things on the Internet on a regular basis.
Additionally, the Netherlands is in the top 30 global economic markets. It ranks 14th in the world by such metrics as:
- Logistics ranking
- Average revenue per shopper
- Total market revenue
- Percentage of the population shopping online
- Number of online shoppers
- Percentage of cross-border shoppers
- Number of cross-border shoppers
- CAGR 2018–2022
In 2020, the Dutch e-commerce market was estimated at €26,6 billion. This is 7% more than the previous year and, according to the forecasts, the figure will grow and reach €40 billion by 2024.
What makes the Dutch market unique?
There are a few reasons. Firstly, the Dutch are comfortable with and accustomed to buying goods and services online. They’re also early adopters — 72% of Dutch consumers have made an online purchase in the past month, compared to 59% of European consumers overall.
The Dutch are also confident in buying from foreign websites — only 5% have avoided making a purchase because they were concerned about the security of the website. This makes the Netherlands a great opportunity for retailers looking to expand into Europe.
Also, the age group for Dutch online buyers starts at 12 years and ends at 75 years and older. This indicates a high technical awareness of consumers and their fluency in using online payment services through e-wallets or credit cards. And considering that Dutch shoppers buy online literally everything, your e-commerce startup may be successful whether it sells clothes, groceries, or pharma goods.
Developing your e-commerce strategy
Your e-commerce strategy is the backbone of your online business. It’s what will determine how successful you are in the Netherlands, so it’s important to get it right. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
1. Know your audience. Define your target market and tailor your strategy accordingly.
2. Know your competition. Identify who your competitors are and what makes you different.
3. Have a clear goal. What do you want to achieve with your e-commerce store? Define this and make it measurable.
4. Plan, plan, plan. Having a solid plan is essential for any successful business venture. Make sure to map out all the steps involved in achieving your goal.
5. Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your e-commerce store won’t be either. Give yourself time to implement your strategy and make tweaks as needed.
The importance of user experience
Creating a positive user experience is essential for your e-commerce project, as it’s what will keep your customers coming back.
Some things to keep in mind when creating a positive user experience include:
- making it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for
- providing clear and concise product information
- ensuring a smooth and easy checkout process
- allowing to pay and request a refund online
- offering quality customer service
If you’re not sure where to start, our team can help you create an excellent UI/UX design
to meet the specific needs of your business and customers. Below you can see the examples of our e-commerce projects that we implemented for corporations and startups.
Tips for success
Retail e-commerce sales and the number of e-commerce stores are growing exponentially. Increasing competition dictates its own rules for doing business. So, to succeed in a particular region, you need to know its features and adhere to a specific product development strategy. Here are some tips to start an e-commerce project in the Netherlands.
Do your research
Just like in any other market, it’s important to do your research before diving in. What are the trends in the Netherlands? What do the Dutch people like to buy? What’s the competition like?
Also, you need to pay attention to the specific Dutch preferences. For example, 70% of online transactions in the Netherlands are processed by the payment system iDeal. Therefore, when implementing a payment gateway in your e-commerce store, you should first partner with this payment provider. After that, you can think of PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, and other payment options for your online shop.
Make it personal
When selling to Dutch consumers, it’s important to remember that they’re a very personal bunch. They like to do business with people they know and trust, so make sure your brand is personable and relatable.
If you are looking for some examples of the most beloved e-commerce brands among the Dutch take a look at Bol.com and Coolblue. These platforms rank first in the list of the best online stores in the Netherlands, so you can learn their marketing approach to get some ideas for your startup.
Cater to Dutch love of quality
The Dutch are known for their love of high-quality products, so make sure your e-commerce strategy reflects that. Offer top-notch customer service, premium product selection, and impeccable delivery times.
To enhance user experience and grow brand confidence, consider using
- chatbots for timely 24/7 responses
- AI/ML technologies for more personalized offers
- logistics software for routes management
- CRM for differentiating marketing strategies
- VR/AR for enhanced UX
Get involved in the community
The Dutch love getting involved in their local communities, so get involved in some of the local events and activities. This will help you build relationships with potential customers and partners. For example, if you sell craft items, participate in fairs and open-air events. If you own a store with technology devices, register at technology conferences and learn from the experience of your counterparts.
Stay up to date with regulations
As with any other market, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest regulations governing e-commerce in the Netherlands. This will help ensure that your business is compliant and running smoothly. For example, since the Netherlands is a part of the European economic community, it is crucial to follow PCI DSS regulations and adhere to PSD2 standards.
The future of e-commerce in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a major player in the European e-commerce market. The country has the seventh-largest online population in Europe, and this is only projected to grow in the coming years. The Netherlands is also known for its high quality of life, great purchasing power, and high level of technology awareness among consumers.
All of this makes the Dutch region an attractive destination for running an ecommerce business. So, it’s no surprise that both mature companies and recently emerged startups consider this country as a promising direction for rising profits and increasing customer base.
If you want to start or expand your e-commerce business in the Netherlands, you should first develop your e-commerce strategy which must include market research, target audience identification, technology selection, and development plan creation.
At Softensy, we have extensive experience in developing e-commerce projects. We create turnkey e-commerce applications or help with the implementation of specific functionality, such as payment gateway, chatbots, or CRM.
If you don’t have an in-house IT team and don’t want to invest in one, get in touch with our team. We will evaluate your idea and become a reliable technology partner throughout your e-commerce project.