nordics, ecommerce, digital business, ebusiness, strategy

[Blog] the Future of Ecommerce in the Nordics

May 4, 2017

Osudio will be attending the Nordic Ecommerce Summit next week in Stockholm, the leading international e-commerce event in Scandinavia. Every year NES gathers thought leaders with great insights in eCommerce and digital innovation. In this edition 15 speakers will share their inspirational stories, from Charles Adler, the co-founder of Kickstarter, to Fara Warner, storyteller and technologist at Wall Street Journal.

The future of Retail is vCom 

V-Commerce, a current topic, will be explored by Erik Bergström, the founder of the vCom brand Grand Frank. The term V-Commerce (vCom), which is also referred to as “Digitally-Native Vertical Brands”, was introduced by Bonobos founder Andy Dunn and is commonly seen as the future of retail. With more and more vCom brands flourishing every year, vCom is a rising trend in the Nordics. These brands are vertically integrated: they aim to control every aspect of the retail process, from product design and manufacturing, to marketing and sales, delivery and most importantly, the customer experience. These brands aspire to connect with their audience using not only competitive prices (as they control all aspects of the distribution process), but also values like sustainability, design or quality. Kånken gives a clear example of this:

Ikea’s customer experience manager, Peter Nilsson, will unveil their team’s recipe to stay close to their customer, regardless of the location, channel or device. Facebook’s Business Director, Mårten Barkman will talk about the evolution of communication in a mobile world where business is becoming increasingly borderless.

Nordic e-commerce on the rise 

The conference line-up of NES is closely aligned to what recent studies describe as the pulse of e-commerce in Scandinavia. Nordic consumers show a high level of maturity when it comes to e-commerce, with € 21.86 billion spent in 2016 on online purchases. Following PostNord’s annual report ‘E-commerce in the Nordic region’, Sweden is at the top of the list, generating € 8.5 billion. In an average month in 2016, 67% of Swedish residents aged between 18-79 made a purchase online:

Ecommerce revenue per country in the nordics 2016Ecommerce stats per country in the nordics 2016

The most popular product categories are apparel and footwear followed by media products and home electronics, the same trends as previours. These e-commerce patterns are similar among the Nordic countries, but local differences clearly exist. For example, where the Danes are pioneering in online groceries, specifically with click & collect strategies, the Swedes lead in buying online health & beauty products. The Swedish pure player in pharmacy & healthcare Apotea is at the forefront with a meteoric growth of 70% in the first half of 2016. Their CEO and Founder Pär Svärdson will share their secrets in his NES talk and show how delivering extremely well, can really pay off.

Finland and Norway lead the way in cross-border retailing. For international retailers this presents 25% of the total online sales (€ 5.4 billion), a percentage that keeps increasing year after year.

Shoppers expect an omnichannel experience

The more mature online shoppers in the Nordics are becoming, the higher their expectations in regards to their omnichannel experience, including both online and offline worlds. But how do retailers feel about these expectations?

According to The Pulse of Nordic E-Commerce, only 2% of Nordic retailers consider themselves ahead of their competition. That brings them to the beginning of going omnichannel. However, they seem to be in the right path, as the same report shows that 52% of them have one integrated team for online, in-store and mobile, which means shared goals, budget and resources. This is a huge milestone since online and offline channels are often seen against each other instead of cooperating and using each other’s strengths. In this sense, Nordic retailers report having several initiatives going on to find synergies between online and offline worlds, which includes working with third party providers to share offers and vouchers, email gathering techniques, discounted pre-pay vouches, in-store cashback, geofencing etc.

But there is still a lot of room for improvement since 61% of Nordic retailers reported having inconsistent prices in their channels, a must for today’s omnichannel customers. This is probably due to the lack of a proper platform to achieve unified data. Further weak points to address are creating a unified view of your customers, real-time stocks including the franchise model, predictive analytics etc. These are all consequences of not having one version of the truth in the core of the business, which to your customers translates into a false feeling of omnichannel (“faux-omnichannel”).

A good way to start translating your business model to omnichannel is by asking the right questions as decision makers. Osudio just published a new whitepaper to help CEO’s understand the forces that drive Omnichannel and the impact it will have on your business.

If you are going to NES17 Stockholm next week, let’s meet! Osudio’s team will be in the Booth 19.

Article by Elena Martínez, Sr Business Consultant at Osudio

Related whitepaper: Translating your business to Omnichannel - Asking the right questions as a CEO 


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