How Amazon Netherlands has affected Dutch ecommerce

It has been 3 months since Amazon fully opened their Dutch marketplace. In its first quarter, Amazon Netherlands has had some minor setbacks including the mobile app not working. However, that isn’t to say the marketplace has not already made a place for itself in Dutch ecommerce, or that momentum on the site will stay slow for long. This feeling of inevitability has brought Dutch sellers to question should they consider selling on Amazon’s Dutch site and how will this affect more typical Dutch marketplaces such as Bol or Coolblue.

How was Amazon initially received in the Netherlands

Before 10th March 2020, Amazon was already selling into the Netherlands. Amazon.nl was not a fully-fledged marketplace, but it was selling books, e-books and e-readers. Additionally, it was estimated that Dutch consumers were already spending €230 million on products from Amazon Germany, meaning Amazon is already a well-known platform for the Dutch consumer. It is no surprise then that on the first day of Amazon Netherlands’ launch as a fully catalogued Amazon marketplace, there were more than 30,000 sellers worldwide selling on the platform and over 100 million products available.

What does Amazon do which helps compete for Dutch market share?

One advantage that Amazon brings to the Dutch market is that they are an international corporation. This means that they are able to sell a lot more products in a lot more places. Dutch sellers will be able to sell outside their national borders much easier and further than they can with other Dutch marketplace competitors. Furthermore, Amazon Netherlands allows sellers from around the globe to target a Dutch audience much easier than they could before. One major pro for selling on Amazon is that it comes with the introduction of Amazon Prime, a delivery system completely new to the Dutch market. The instant gratification of buying online and receiving it next-day may make Amazon Netherlands a highly competitive marketplace compared to more typical Dutch ecommerce sites such as Bol.

Why has Bol.com remained the leading Dutch ecommerce market so far?

Bol prides itself on its three pillars; maximum choice, maximum relevance and accessibility. However, the introduction of Amazon could threaten these core tenets. With easy access to the rest of Europe and beyond as well as Amazon Prime available, Amazon could easily replace Bol as the site with maximum choice and accessibility. However, Bol’s advantage over Amazon is that they are regional. Bol.com accentuates nationality. It is inherently Dutch and therefore understands the intricacies which an external company may miss such as the differences between the Netherlands and Holland or even specific holidays such as Christmas and Sinterklaass. This sense of national and cultural understanding may help Bol.com and other Dutch marketplaces keep their authority within Dutch ecommerce over Amazon Netherlands.

What changes to Dutch ecommerce can be seen so far?

Since Amazon decided to officially launch a full marketplace in the Netherlands, the Dutch market has already begun to shift. Bol.com for example has started to sell clothing on their site. This is an area in which Amazon has struggled to excel in, suggesting Bol wants to ensure that their site remains the leading marketplace in the Netherlands by selling a product type which Amazon is not the leading retailer of. Dutch marketplaces have had to alter their operations to compete against Amazon’s entrance which is a good thing all-round as without competition to drive your business, innovation comes to a halt. The introduction of Amazon Netherlands has pushed the leading Dutch ecommerce sites to consider how they can continue to improve their marketplaces and become a more enticing company to sell and buy from. It is therefore only a matter of time before we will start to see more changes to the Dutch marketplace.

Which Dutch marketplace should brands sell on? Amazon Netherlands or Bol?

The answer is simple. Both! Each marketplace has its own pros and cons so there is no reason to choose between them. Rather the introduction of Amazon Netherlands to the Dutch market gives brands another platform to use as part of their overall ecommerce strategy

‘I don’t believe there should be a choice between Amazon and Bol. Amazon should be part of your overall route to market. You’ve got to be in it to win it, but there’s no need to have to choose between the two, brands that optimise for both will see the biggest upside via online.’

Charlie Merrells, Molzi CSO
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