Norway - eCommerceNorway - eCommerce
Nordic consumers have achived a high level of maturity when it comes to e-commerce, and foreign players enjoy good prospects for success in the Nordic region. End users in the region, including in Norway, are technology-savy and qualified spenders, and at the very top of e-commerce usage in Europe and globally. Manufacturers, vendors and retailers considering selling through the Internet have the opportunity to get in contact with customers more easily, but still need to consider challenges related to fulfillment, shipping, taxes, value added tax (VAT), and technical regulations. Norway is among the countries in Europe most dependent on foreign e-commerce players.
Current Market Trends
Two trends are still dominant: Omni-channel (integration of physical and digital sales) and mobile shopping. Brick and mortar retailers are practically required to offer shopping online to maintain revenues. The differentiator is the seamlessness of the omni-channel offering. Mobile platforms have bypassed stationary in terms of revenue – so catering for mobile solutions is a minimum requirement for businesses selling online. More than 1/3 of the population in Norway shop on their mobile phones every month. On the horizon, blockchain, and more sophisticated logistics solutions could play a role. Ultimately, understanding customers through the use of small and big data will also separate market segment winners from losers.
B2B is becoming increasingly similar to B2C shopping when it comes to end user experience and flexibility. In addition, vendors who can create a technological interface with customer procurement, or ERP-systems, will have a clear advantage.
A wide range of service providers are present in Norway and throughout Europe and are set up to help vendors and marketplaces with all aspect of their e-commerce business in Norway. This is especially relevant for value-added tax issues and understanding tariffs and customs regulations, where U.S. SMEs could typically benefit from assistance. The U.S. Commercial Service also has a special focus Affinity Group set up in Europe to help with e-commerce inquiries.
From a logistical point of view, e-commerce often becomes a question of volume and scale. Depending on the product, individual parcels sent from the United States may not be able to compete in Europe because of prohibitive shipping costs and shipping time. Several service providers in Europe, most notably in The Netherlands, specialize in hosting shipping-, handling-, and fulfillment services for small, non-EU companies. However, there is typically a fixed cost associated with this type of service, and U.S. vendors should not expect to break even from the very beginning.
E-Commerce Intellectual Property Rights
Compared to most other countries, vendors offering products in Norway face only a moderate problem with counterfeit products. Intellectual property rights are generally well protected in Northern Europe. Norway is an early adopter, and illegal downloading ceased to be a significant problem at an earlier stage than in neighboring countries. Commercial streaming services are widely used for motion pictures and music.
Popular e-Commerce Sites (both market places and vendors)
1. Komplett (Norway) www.komplett.no
2. Zalando (Germany) www.zalando.no
3. Elkjøp (UK/Norway) www.elkjop.no
4. eBay (USA) www.ebay.com
5. Ikea (Sweden) www.ikea.no
6. NetOnNet (Sweden) www.netonnet.no
7. Netthandelen.no (Norway) www.netthandelen.no
8. Ellos (Sweden) www.ellos.no
9. CDON (Sweden) www.cdon.no
Amazon has not yet entered the Norwegian market.
Payment by debit card and credit card is by far the preferred option for consumers in Norway. Only 30% think that it is important to have the option to pay via invoice. Around 23% would like to have alternative payment solutions such, as the local VIPPS app and Paypal. VIPPS, owned by most major banks in the region, is growing fast, at the expense of Apple Pay, which has yet to be facilitated by the banks. Vendors that have a system for value-added tax collection, and provide a seamless experience for the consumers, will have a major advantage over those who ship from abroad and let the customer handle all the paperwork. An exception applies to de minimis orders, which are tax free below a value of NOK 350 / USD 42 (including shipping).
Having a mobile platform is a necessity for marketplaces and vendors online, as this is becoming the preferred interface, not only in Norway, but throughout Europe.
Digital Marketing and Social Media
Search engine optimization and analytics, clever segmentation, understanding social media trends and intelligent use and collection of data are critical factors to understanding how to maximize power to your own brand. Understanding and communicating effectively with your customer is a key feature of the current Internet market place. These are all global topics, and not specific to Norway.
Major Buying Holidays
The Christmas holidays and post-holiday sales, as well as Black Friday, are the peak buying holidays. In some markets segments, sales around the Constitution Day, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and Easter and Winter Breaks, could be opportunities. In general, understanding the seasons is very important in this part of the world, as needs change dramatically from summer to winter.
Norway eCommerce Industry Trade Development and Promotion eCommerce