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Can you act in the Nordic markets as if it was one country?

Updated: May 27, 2019

What does it take to approach Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland as one e-commerce market? Below we will take you through some of the differences you need to know and finally a list of 10 things you need to do, before you can approach the region as one country.



First of all it is important to highlight that we talk about a region with 24 million well educated and online savvy people, with a very high income seen in both global and European perspective. Every web shop should consider selling to this region.


The differences you need to keep in mind…..


Legislation


The legislation are based on the same mindset when it comes to consumer protection and marketing legislation. This means that your processes and business terms often can be the same. It of course requires a localised set of terms and conditions, but you can do things the same way except from a few adjustments.


Payment methods


This can look a little difficult at the first look, but with a carefull selection of new payment methods you can actually satisfy the online shoppers in all countries. If you accept credit cards and add payment by invoice and direct bank in Finland, almost every online shopper will be satisfied. On the “nice to have” list is Dankort for Denmark and direct banking for Sweden, but this can be added at a later stage.


Logistics


Several distributors offer solutions covering all the Nordic countries and with the right choice you can offer a solid solution for all countries using one distributor. Since Norway is outside EU it requires a local branch in Norway to handle custom clarence of the packages you ship to Norway. On the other hand this also gives you access to one of the most attractive Nordic markets and is often  worth the extra trouble.


Return handling


When it comes to return handling we recommend using our return service in each country. This will give your customers a fast and seamless return handling which is a very important criteria when choosing between web shops. We will make sure return are registered correct and bulk shipped to your warehouse on request.


Language


In the Nordic countries we speak and write 4 different languages, or actually 5. In the Nordic countries we are very good at English. Therefore it is actually possible and accepted to have product texts in english or use Danish in Norway and Sweden or the other way around. Finland is though different and product texts for Finland needs to be in Finnish or English.

We recommend translating all texts but product texts to the local language before launch, but translations of product texts can be postponed.


Customer service


We strongly recommend having a local customer service and display local phone number and address on the web site. Native speaking customer service add’s a lot of trust to your shop and it is also an important part of building relations to your customers. It is hard to build relations with a person where you have to communicate in your second best language.

MakesYouLocal offer a web shop management solution covering all 4 countries with skilled and e-commerce experienced agents.


Marketing


In the Nordic countries we don’t see market places like Amazon, Allegro and e-bay play any dominant role – yet. This means that you need your own webs shop and you need to do some online marketing. Since you will be operating in 4 small countries we recommend to define an online marketing strategy using 1-3 channels and copy the setup in all 4 countries, to reduce administration costs. This is is possible because behavior the marketing environment are much alike.


The “need to do list” if you will see the 4 Nordic countries as one


1. Add payment with invoice (like Klarna) as a payment method

2. Add Direct banking in Finland as well

3. Create a setup for duty handling in Norway

4. Find one logistic solution (including returns) that meets the requirements for your new customers

5. Add localised terms and conditions for each country

6. Translate web shop texts and communicate that you follow local legislation in each country

7. Use Nordic or English products texts, pay extra attention to Finland though

8. Offer a local customer service solution with local phone numbers and addresses

9. Take a simple but solid approach to marketing using few well selected channels

10. Setup procedures for maintaining the web shop and the marketing activities


When you can check off the 10 “to-do’s” you are good to go, but how do you get through them?


To get through the list you will need local knowledge from each country, there is no way around that. To hire a person from each country is both an expensive and incomplete solution.

At MakesYouLocal we have all the competences you need in each country and giving web shops access to these ressources in the hours or days they need them is simply our business.

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