Dutch ecommerce guide - tips for a successful expansion

Ever since our founding year, we’ve been steadily expanding and learning about the various ecommerce markets in Europe. Over these 20+ years, and through our dedicated partners and merchants, we’ve gathered the data you need to succeed in your expansion to various European countries.

The status quo

The Dutch ecommerce market has always been one of the more prominent ones when considering the penetration and usage rate of online shopping. Looking at the percentage of Dutch consumers that frequently purchased products online in 2018, The Netherlands ranked third in Europe with 80% of consumers aged 16-75 indicating they purchase products through the internet regularly.
The largest group of online buyers are people in the age of 25-45 years old, and in this group approximately 93 percent purchase products through the internet on a regular basis.

The Netherlands is also home to a state-of-the-art infrastructure, meaning that the entire country has access to a great network internet wise, has access to mobile phones and the options to access multiple payment methods online.

Looking at these various factors, the Netherlands is a great country for businesses to sell their products through the internet - foreign or domestically.

The 2020 shift

As the COVID19 pandemic hit worldwide, many countries were affected in various ways. One of the direct results of the pandemic was the boost to ecommerce. In the Netherlands, this boost was also felt to a significant degree, increasing the already formidable ecommerce market.
One of the important results was the increase in online consumers. Research showed that not only did the already largest group (ages 25-45) increase their online purchases, but the consumers aged 55+ also started buying a lot more online. Meaning the already great penetration and usage rates in the Netherlands have seen steady growth over 2020.

Payment methods

One of the most important parts of every webshop is the checkout. Ensuring you offer the right payment methods for the right consumers is key to making the most out of every webshop visit.
There is one must-have for every webshop in the Netherlands; iDEAL. This payment method allows consumers to log in to their own bank account, after which they can complete the payment through their own banking environment. When it comes to debit payment methods, iDEAL is truly the king of payment methods in the Netherlands, most other debit payment methods just can’t compete with the scale and popularity of iDEAL. To put it into perspective, during Q2 2020, 90% of online consumers used iDEAL as their payment method, in second place we find credit cards at 20% - which shows the disparity clearly.

Although iDEAL dominates the payment landscape, that does not mean there are no popular alternatives on the Dutch market. Payment methods such as credit cards and PayPal have also been a mainstay in many webshops, following iDEAL as the most popular methods of paying. Up next are the Buy-Now Pay-Later solutions, which have been part of one of the major trends of 2020. When comparing 2020 to 2019, payment methods such as Klarna, AfterPay and MultiSafepay’s Pay after Delivery (PAD) have shown a significant increase in users. We’ve written an in-depth article on the Buy-Now Pay Later trend, giving you insight into the developments powering this trend.

Key factors

Research into the Dutch markets’ online preferences has shown several essential factors in the consumers final decision making process.

Shipping costs

When looking at the biggest hindrances to Dutch people ordering products from webshops, we find shipping costs to be the main deterrent for many consumers - especially when they get added last second. In order to avoid shopping cart abandonment rate, we highly recommend that you display your shipping costs up front and, ideally, add a threshold after which shipping is free. Research by Sendcloud shows that 43% of Dutch consumers expect delivery to be free if they order for more than 150 euros. Dutch consumers are more than prepared to add extra articles to their cart if this means they will receive free shipping. Taking this into account and acting accordingly is one of the easier ways of boosting your checkout conversion rate for the Dutch market.

Delivery options

Being able to choose between various times of delivery is another great way of boosting sales in the Netherlands. Many Dutch consumers like the flexibility of selecting their own time window for delivery. As far as delivery companies go, the majority of Dutch people have no significant preference, but when asked to name one company many go for PostNL.

Internationally present

Good news, if your webshop finds itself outside of the Netherlands, Dutch consumers show a readiness to purchase cross-border. Over half of Dutch consumers (59%) have ordered abroad during 2020. Main reasons for not doing so? Customs fees, shipping costs and unclear/difficult return policy. If your business operates from outside the Netherlands but you’d like to sell your products to Dutch consumers, keep those factors into account.

In conclusion

The Netherlands is a great market for ecommerce. From the penetration to consumers readiness to purchase, Dutch consumers are able and willing to purchase online. In order to accommodate them we recommend ensuring that you offer the right payment methods, such as iDeal and Buy-Now Pay-Later, in your webshop. Also offering options to avoid shipping costs and flexible delivery are great tools to entice the Dutch crowd.

MultiSafepay has been accommodating the Dutch market for many years, and we have carefully mapped out the preferences of the Dutch consumers. Our tools and solutions will allow you to offer the right payment mix to the right consumers.

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