The Netherlands! Tulips, windmills, clogs and edam are what spring to mind but, did you know that this country is also extremely eCommerce prone? Indeed, according to Twinkle, one of the leading organisations specialised in online retail, 70% of Dutch people shopped online in 2014. The country even ranked 13th in the 2015 Global Retail eCommerce Index, up from 19th in 2014, one of the sharpest progressions, alongside Belgium!
As you may notice during football competitions, the ‘Oranjes’ are a competitive and creative bunch! Well, the same goes for eCommerce. The Dutch are counting on becoming a key European player in this sector. And what about the language barrier? This does not seem to be much of a problem as 90% of Dutch people are able to have a conversation in English.
Intended for all eCommerce businesses with an interest in the Dutch market, here is an insight into the key eCommerce trends in 2015.
2015 is the year your website needs to go responsive! Today, there are approximately 12 million smartphones for 17 million inhabitants in the Netherlands. This figure is continuously increasing and the same goes for tablets (3 million in 2013). Of course, this impacts the eCommerce sector. Even if, for now, smartphones are mainly used for research before making a purchase, in 2015, according to a study carried out by Retail Research (CRR), 18,3% of online purchases are made via a smartphone or a tablet. However, even if there are more smartphones, online purchases via mobile devices are mostly carried out from tablets.
To sum it up: your website must adapt to all devices. It is the best possible way to improve your online visibility and increase online sales. Indeed, even if people don’t necessarily buy via their mobile, they do, at least, browse from it and that’s an essential part of their customer experience.
The Dutch are very active on Social Media. Indeed, 1 in 2 Dutch web users follow brands on Twitter (47% in France) and 48% want to be informed by brands and companies on Social Media. eCommerce is so linked to Social Media that we can now talk about Social Commerce. Dutch people go on Social Media to discover brands and, according to Nielson Twitter Consumer Survey from November 2013, 31% tweet about their recent purchases. So we can say that Twitter is increasingly an integral part of the purchase experience.
To sum it up: you can no longer keep your brand removed from the ongoing conversation on Social Media because it’s just not up to you. People are already talking about your brand. You have to join the conversation so you can keep track of what is being said and promote the core qualities of your products and services! Employing a community manager and implementing a smart social media publishing and monitoring tool will contribute to helping your business construct positive interactions on social media.
If Big Data was the trend in 2014, this year, omnichannel is the key trend you should be following on the Dutch market. You need to be wherever consumers expect you, on social media, your website and on different devices. In the Netherlands especially, people expect a strong connection between the offline and online experience. Indeed, they may search online but they like going into the store to collect their purchase, hence the strong adoption of Click and Collect. Indeed, according to marketingfacts.nl, 33% of Dutch consumers would be more likely to shop with a retailer if it offered a Click and Collect service. This does not mean that they don’t expect online support.
To sum it up: you have to take care of your customers, whether it be online or offline. Today, customers are nomads and they expect your business to be flexible. Solutions such as live chat and community chat will add a human touch to their online customer experience, improve customer satisfaction and also reduce basket abandonment rates.
Trends specific to the Netherlands
First, you need to be aware of the specific payment methods. Did you know that credit cards are not the favorite online payment method of Dutch consumers? 54% of online payments are done via iDeal. iDeal is an online payment method developed by the Dutch banking community. Dutch people love using it because they know it’s secure. The money goes straight from the customer to the online shop.
Delivery is also a key concern. Dutch people have high expectations when it comes to the delivery speed of articles purchased online. Which is why Dutch online retailers try to offer the fastest deliveries possible. For example, in August, Wehkamp announced that it opened a new and extensive distribution hub in order to offer same day deliveries in the Netherlands. The biggest online retailer in the Netherlands, Bol.com, does the same thing. This highlights the growing expectations of Dutch consumers.
After they’ve received their products, the Dutch expect flexibility. 48% want the ability to buy online and return items in-store. And if they don’t like the products, they want to return it easily. 69% of articles are returned in the Netherlands!
To sum it up: delivery and payment are key issues for Dutch consumers. Security, speed and flexibility are key if you want to succeed in the Netherlands.