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Alina Virstiuk
Written by
Alina Virstiuk
Content Manager at Gepard
CONTENTS

Bol.com: State Of The Art Dutch eCommerce Marketplace

7 min read
October 26, 2021

Many platforms offer Dutch eCommerce marketplaces, with most of them being very adaptive to the changing world environment. In this story, I will cover the key players in the Dutch eCommerce environment, how they differ, how they have changed over the years, and why they have changed. 

Noticeably, the effects of Covid-19 lockdowns have positively influenced key market players, like Bol.com, who is now the number one marketplace for the Netherlands and Belgium region. Let’s learn more about this key market player and explore how Gepard can help you integrate with Bol.com and facilitate your sales operations.

Bol.com Among EU Leaders

Bol.com is the biggest online shop with its 2020 total revenue amounting to €4.3 billion. In 2021 Bol.com was bought out by Ahold Delhaize and the company is expecting that its turnover will grow even more. By the end of 2021, they are estimating that they will hit the €5 billion mark.

The main reason behind Bol.com’s high revenue was the physical store closures in Netherlands and Belgium during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown. This led consumers to purchase the company’s products on their website. During the fourth quarter of 2020, the company’s third-party resellers also grew by 110%, they now hold over 41 000 third-party sellers. 

Sergey Shvets, Gepard CEO, conducted a poll via LinkedIn to see what marketplaces were the most preferred in Europe, and it’s not a surprise that Bol.com came second just after Amazon. With the company now under Ahold Delhaize and growing rapidly each year, there is no doubt that the platform will continue to stand as the leading marketplace in Europe. 

What Is Bol.com

Bol.com was founded by Bertelsmann in March 1999, it runs as a marketplace and has products in a diverse range of categories such as garden, baby products, music, videos, jewelry, electronics, toys, and DIY products. The website has over 11 million active users, 41,000 resellers, and over 23 million different items. 

Besides being an online shop, Bol.com offers different features for business. Independent sellers can sell their products through Bol.com, reach all the active users and advertise on the website. Businesses are also able to do orders for items such as laptops, stationery, or paper through a business account. Lastly, Bol.com also allows affiliate marketing options and is constantly looking for new suppliers.

The company strives to differ from it’s EU competitors and offers a platform in Dutch with local Dutch products or in German, Dutch and French for the Belgium website. Having a local marketplace draws consumers to buy locally rather than from international marketplaces. The website also supplies a range of its own products that other sellers don’t usually offer.

Key Market Players

If you consider European, and particularly BENELUX countries as an area for potential business growth, then it would be useful for you to compare the key eCommerce market players in this region, with Bol.com among them.  

Amazon

Amazon NL was launched in March 2020 to allow Dutch customers to order from local Dutch brands like Philips, Rituals, Friesland Campina, Hunkemöller, and Scotch & Soda, as well as other international brands.

eBay

eBay allows online shopping but is most popular for auctions and consumer-to-consumer sales. eBay NL enables consumers to buy locally in the area, and you can still buy products from other countries too. 

Bol.com

Bol.com is a part of the Royal Ahold Delhaize NV group of companies and provides an online store and marketplace for consumers in Benelux. Retailers can sell their new or used products through Bol.com.

Zalando

Zalando is an eCommerce company based in Berlin, Germany. The company provides fashion and lifestyle products to 23 European markets. Most of Zalando’s income come through their Zalando.nl site where fashion makes up the majority of the sales

AllExpress

AliExpress is a retail giant based in China that allows small shops worldwide to sell their products. AliExpress has a more cost-effective range of products that are sold business-to-business, business-to-consumer, and consumer-to-consumer.

Coolblue

Coolblue, founded in 1999 is a Dutch e-commerce company with offices across Europe and also has 15 physical stores. The company features a wide range of different electronic products from Computers to Kitchen appliances. 

Albert Heijn
Albert Heijn is the biggest supermarket chain in Holland. In 1999 the company tested a delivery service that was later changed to ah.nl. The company provides a platform for consumers to order their groceries online. In 2020 the store expanded its delivery service to Belgium. 

wehkamp

Wehkamp is a Dutch web based retailer and home shopping company. It is one of the biggest eCommerce retailers in the Netherlands, shipping over 11 million packages a year mainly from the fashion, home, beauty, and children divisions.

A-players Comparison

The below data was collected via Statista and Similarweb.

 

Bol.com Integration Capabilities

Bol.com provides an option to integrate your webshop with their marketplace to sell your products via their website. It has an option called Automate that you can use via any of the integration partners to link your shop to them. This allows you to manage your sales through one platform. 

Their latest API (Version 7.0) allows you to manage your products, sell and both process orders and cancellations, manage returns, get insights and reporting, print labels and the latest feature, manage advertising through their systems. Bol.com makes use of Fulfilment by Bol.com where you can use API endpoints that help you control your internal procedures.

It also offers a few integration partnerships, which simplifies the sellers’ job as all of the building work is done for them. To integrate with a partner they will need to check what system they will use, choose the sales process that suits them, select the integration partner, link the sales API, and start selling. 

Bol.com Integration Capabilities

How To Start Selling On Bol.com

Have you decided that selling on Bol.com is going to bring doubtless benefits and potential of growth for your business? Here’s how the selling process flow for Bol.com looks like.

One of the features that differentiate Bol.com from other marketplaces is the possibility to integrate and start selling your products without having an actual (web) shop. While API connection is one of the requirements of many online sales platforms. Bol.com allows you to skip this step and get to market faster. If you are already running an established eCommerce business, then you can integrate with Bol.com through API.

1. Connecting to Retailer API. 

Before getting started with a connection to Retailer API, you need to create a Bol.com account and go through the authentication procedure. Once you are connected to Bol.com, you can automate your sales workflow and start managing your products, sales, shipments, returns, cancellations, and other sales processes. An important step is to make sure you adhere to Bol.com set of API conventions (data formats, taxonomy, and other requirements).

2. Product feed management.

Once you set up your API integrations, you can go directly to product feed management. You can either add new products or manage existing ones. If you want to manage your product data, you can use Bol.com Product Content API.

3. Adding offers to the marketplace. 

Now you can immediately start your sales process. Add product offers to your account, set price, delivery and stock information. Use Offers API to create, update or delete offers. Once it goes through Bol.com checking procedure, your offers are posted and available for purchase.

4. Managing your selling process. 

Start selling your products and process your orders, cancellations and returns. You can ship your orders, manage logistics information, check the status of your shipment request and also regularly check and manage product returns. Bol.com provides you with information about your orders status, cancellation and return updates. You can do it with the help of Shipment API – another important part of Bol.com order flow.

5. Getting ready for more sales. 

If you want to always stay busy with your sales on Bol.com, make sure you constantly provide the status of your stock. Improve your delivery time, send Bol.com updated stock values and adjusted prices, to enhance your conversion rate and get ranked higher. This procedure is also implemented through Offers API

How To Sell On Bol.com

Gepard PIM: Smooth Integration With Bol.com

While you can start connecting with Bol.com on your own, there’s an opportunity to improve this process and facilitate your sales. Gepard eCommerce platform offers you a wide range of features and tools to successfully connect and trade on Bol.com. Here’s how you can benefit if you let Gepard set an automated integration with this marketplace:

1. Smooth and fast connection through API.

Instead of setting a Retailer API connection with Bol.com with your own human resources and money, you can entrust it to Gepard, and focus on more creative tasks and business strategies. We’ll set up the integration, help you develop your connection with Bol.com, and automate a complete workflow for selling on this platform. Gepard will also help you with the testing of your API connections.

2. Support of your account. 

Managing your sales through Orders API is even more time-consuming. Gepard will support you in this procedure and enhance your processes with products, offers, shipments, and orders. It will ensure a stable sales flow for your business and a guarantee of technical support from highly experienced specialists.

3. Enhanced product feed management. 

The Gepard PIM features empower you with extended tools for product data enrichment. You can be sure that your product descriptions can satisfy customers, enhance their buying experience, improve loyalty, bring new sales, and retain customers. What’s more, with data validation capabilities, you significantly decrease the data error rate and enhance your product data value.

4. Synchronization capabilities. Bol.com warns its partners about their processing being asynchronous, which implies that you’ll have to take care of process status requests afterwards. Gepard helps you seamlessly synchronize the selling processes to ensure the verification success and completion of most of your sales procedures.

5. Adjusting to Bol.com requirements. 

It’s crucial to adhere to Bol.com protocols to keep going with your connection. If you choose to integrate with Gepard’s help, it sets you free from manual adjustments of your product data feed and seller account to these requirements. There’s a long list of Bol.com API conventions, available on their developer resources page. With Gepard, you can easily uphold these conventions and keep selling, being sure that you keep up with all the requirements, without having to stop your business operations. 

With Bol.com And Gepard You’re Bound For Success

With Bol.com business owners have an array of options to sell and market their business, however, with all the efforts of the Dutch platform to simplify and standardize selling processes, there’s still no plug-and-play solution offered to businesses who want to kick off their sales on Bol.com.

All the ways of connecting to Bol.com require knowledge and expertise in software development, which takes extra time and resources that could be spent more effectively within your company.

Entrust this task to Gepard and watch how a key-turn eCommerce platform helps you establish smooth integration with Bol.com in no time. 

Read the cases about how we successfully implemented B2B integrations with leading online marketplaces and contact us directly to learn more about connecting and selling on Bol.com. 

How To Integrate With Bol.com

Alina Virstiuk
Written by Alina Virstiuk
Content Manager at Gepard
Passionate about travelling, books & photography. Enjoy working with new things and meeting people from all over the world.

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