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It’s Amazon vs Bol.com as ecommerce giant debuts in Netherlands

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Amazon has launched a local language site in the Netherlands, offering a new challenge to the country’s largest online retailer and marketplace, bol.com.

 

Last week the online retailer began offering over 100 million products across its standard range of categories, including books, beauty, electronics, clothing and sports.

 

The company offers free delivery on orders over €20, as well as its Prime offering for €2.99 per month offering free delivery on many products. As well as its own product lines and those of third-party merchants, Amazon will host brands such as Philips, Hunkemöller, Samsung, Lego and Bosch.

 

Alex Ootes, VP of EU Expansion at Amazon, said: “With Amazon.nl, we want to give what our Dutch customers asked us for: the opportunity to buy in a Dutch-language Amazon store, with access to a local and international product range from Amazon and reliable sellers, coupled with fast delivery. Our mission is to provide Dutch customers with a comprehensive product range, low prices and convenience, and we will do everything we can to meet their expectations.”

 

The entrance of Amazon into the market poses new challenges for bol.com, a marketplace owned and operated by Ahold Delhaize. According to the Ecommerce Foundation, bol.com is the biggest online retailer in the country by turnover.

 

Bol.com has been focusing on expanding into neighbouring Belgium, launching in the French areas of the country back in September. It is also emphasising sustainability, introducing a dedicated sustainability page on the site back in September.

 

The company has its own Amazon Prime equivalent called Select, which offers free delivery on all products for an annual subscription fee.

 

Select is considerably cheaper, priced at only €9.99 per year compared to around €36 for Amazon Prime. It also currently offers a more extensive range of last mile options, including the ability to click and collect from stores of its sister brand Albert Heijn. It allows customers to return items at the door.

 

However, where Amazon may have the edge over bol.com is its significantly larger product range – over 100 million products compared to around 22 million.

 

Amazon’s late arrival in the country is unusual for Europe, where it has often been able to cement a dominant position through its first-mover advantage. In Poland, where Allegro is the main ecommerce player, Amazon has so far declined to launch.

 

The country will provide an interesting test of whether it is able to win customers from an established ecommerce giant.

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