In this article, we’ll talk about ecommerce in the Nordics and why we would recommend expanding with your ecommerce store to this region.
The Nordic region includes Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland. These countries have the ideal environment for ecommerce and online shopping due to their maturity and advanced digital environment.
Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland – these are mature ecommerce markets in the northern part of Europe. Individually, these markets are relatively small, each market has between 5 and 10 million inhabitants. In total, there are around 27 million inhabitants. Ecommerce is at a high level in these countries, with residents making frequent and active use of online shopping.
Iceland – this is a very small and competitive ecommerce market. Only around 400 thousand inhabitants live in Iceland. Due to Iceland’s geographical location and its separation from continental Europe, transport of goods and logistics are very challenging in this case.
Specifics of the Nordic ecommerce markets
The Nordic markets have a very well developed ecommerce sector. Some of the main specificities of ecommerce in the Nordic markets are:
1. High internet penetration: The Nordic countries have some of the highest internet penetration rates in the world. This means that the majority of the population actively uses the internet and online shopping, especially via mobile devices.
2. Strong demand for environmentally friendly products: The Nordic countries are known for their interest in sustainability and environmental values. Consumers have a strong interest in eco-friendly and organic products and prefer shops that are committed to sustainable trading and environmental standards. Ecommerce in the Nordic countries is responding to this demand, and online retailers that focus on eco-friendly and sustainable solutions have an advantage.
3. Personalisation and relevant content: Online retailers are also using artificial intelligence and analytics tools to collect data about customers and their preferences. Based on this information, they can offer personalised recommendations, discounts and other benefits, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
4. Strong support for e-commerce from national governments: They provide financial incentives, reduce bureaucratic barriers and create a favourable business environment for e-shops. This support helps to stimulate growth and innovation in ecommerce.
5. Online reviews: In the Nordic countries, online reviews have a significant impact on consumer decision-making. Customers are active in writing reviews and reading ratings of products and services. Trust in other consumers’ reviews and recommendations is high, which makes online reputation of stores an important factor for their success.
What customers in the Nordic countries demand
As we have already noted, Nordic customers are considered to be demanding in terms of ecology and sustainability. Of course, as with other markets, customers are looking for quality products at good prices.
People in the Nordic countries are very fluent in English, which is a common language to speak or answer to users on your eshop support. Of course, support in the local language is always better and more understandable for the customer. When it comes to local language translations, you can use automated translation services through Expando and check through their local persons who know the language.
Below we will discuss what payment and delivery methods are most often requested by Nordic customers.
1. Visa and Mastercard payment cards are very popular in the Nordic countries. Eshops mostly accept credit and debit cards, which allows customers to make payments easily and quickly.
2. Mobile payments: services such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay allow customers to pay easily and securely via their mobile devices.
3. Payment gateways: such as Klarna, iDEAL or Trustly, which offer customers different payment options. These payment gateways ensure secure payment processing between the customer and the merchant.
When it comes to package delivery, customers expect delivery within 1 to 4 days, depending on where the package needs to be delivered. In larger cities it should be within 2 days, in more remote areas of Sweden, Norway and Finland it can be within a couple of days.
The most common package delivery options are:
1. DHL, UPS, FedEx courier services – these companies offer fast and reliable delivery of packages directly into the hands of customers. They usually provide package tracking and options to request an exact delivery time.
2. Postal services: these are national postal services, i.e. PostNord in Sweden, Posten Norge in Norway, Posti in Finland and Dansk Post in Denmark, which are also a common way of delivering parcels in the Nordic countries. These services offer wide coverage and reliable delivery to a variety of addresses, including delivery to a post office or a drop-off point.
3. Delivery points and collection points: Many e-shops in the Nordic countries offer the choice of having the package delivered at a dispensing point or a collection point. This can be a post office, a collection point in a shop or another dispensing location. These options are suitable for customers who prefer to collect the package in person or have a flexible time for collection.
The largest e-shops in Nordics countries
For your inspiration when expanding into the Nordics, check out these largest online stores in the Nordics.
1. Zalando (operating in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland): It offers a wide selection of clothing, footwear and accessories for men, women and children. Zalando is known for its fast delivery and free returns.
2. CDON (operating in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland): CDON is popular for its variety of products and attractive prices.
3. Elkjøp (operating in Norway and Sweden): It offers a wide range of electronics, computers, mobile phones, televisions and other consumer goods. Elkjøp is known for its high level of expertise and professional advice.
4. NetOnNet (operating in Sweden and Norway): It provides a wide selection of products including televisions, computers, mobile phones, kitchen appliances and other electronic devices. NetOnNet is known for its competitive prices and good customer service.
5. Verkkokauppa.com (operating in Finland): It is known for its competitive prices and fast delivery. Verkkokauppa.com also operates physical stores where customers can try the goods before buying.
6. Heimkaup.is – Iceland’s largest online store, offering a wide range of products including consumer electronics, homeware, clothing, cosmetics and many more.
Other large and popular eshops are Ikea.com, Elgiganten.se, HM.com, Mediamarkt.se, Apotea.se.
Where to launch online campaigns?
1. Marketplaces – in 2020, Amazon launched its platform for the Nordic countries, Amazon.se in Sweden, Amazon.no in Norway and Amazon.dk in Denmark. In addition, Nordic customers also shop on the marketplaces Allegro, CDON, Finn.no, Blocket and Tori.fi. These marketplaces provide a platform where sellers can offer their products and customers have the opportunity to choose from a variety of options from different sellers. These platforms have high traffic and can provide eshops with more visibility and more orders.
2. Google Ads – Google search is very commonly used in the Nordic countries. Advertising through Google Ads allows online merchants to display product ads in search results, for example through Performance Max campaigns. Through BlueWinston you can easily create PMax campaigns, including advanced filters for the highest campaign performance. For a lower cost per click, you can activate the CSS service Shopping in EU.
3. Facebook and Instagram – these are the most widespread social networks in the Nordics. Campaigns on Facebook and Instagram allow precise targeting of users. Online marketers can define their target group based on demographics, interests, behaviour and other parameters. This way, they can reach relevant audiences that are more likely to convert.
4. Price comparators – the largest price comparators in the Nordic countries are Prisjakt, Kelkoo and Pricerunner. They are very popular in the Nordic countries because they help customers make informed buying decisions and get the best value for their money. We recommend that you crawl your products on these price comparison sites, usually just a good XML feed, and start advertising.
5. Microsoft Ads – The search engine Bing currently has a share of around 10% in the Nordic countries. Although it is a small share compared to Google search, the results (ROAS) from that performance channel are comparable to Google Ads. The Microsoft Ads environment is similar to Google Ads and thus you can run ads on Bing quickly and efficiently. Read our article on how you can get a free €250 credit.
Summary and conclusion
The Nordic ecommerce markets (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland) are very interesting markets for expansion if you sell organic or sustainable products in your ecommerce store. For other products (e.g. electronics) this market is also interesting, there we meet with a common demand. As far as Iceland is concerned, the speed and cost of shipping can be a big challenge due to its distance from continental Europe.
In recent years, ecommerce in the Nordic countries has grown significantly, roughly 10% each year. So it’s safe to say that if you have a mature ecommerce store, expanding into the Nordic countries can be a great opportunity for you to increase your orders and your profits.