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The ultimate Bol.com guide

bol.com package

Bol.com has millions of customers in the Netherlands and Belgium. It grew from an online bookstore in 1999 to the billion-dollar company that it is now (1). Bol.com has more than 20 product categories and helps tens of thousands of entrepreneurs sell online.

Recently, Bol.com has seen a 70 percent sales increase. Ahold Delhaize (parent company) reports that expected sales for Bol.com will grow by a further 30 percent totaling 5 billion euros by the end of 2021. The main reason for this growth is the closure of non-essential stores to slow the coronavirus spread (2).

Why sell on Bol.com

Bol.com is one of the most widely used marketplaces in the Netherlands and Belgium. So selling on the platform is a viable strategy to diversify your channels. Nearly two million people visit the platform each day, with a total of 8 million unique customers. Besides being a great way to reach many people, Bol.com also offers services like fulfillment and shipping.

What to sell

Determining what to sell on marketplaces is key to being successful. Match your products to the audience of the marketplace you intend to sell on. Furthermore, make sure the marketplace makes economic sense. Ensure that your margins will support the pricing and shipping expenses. Moreover, keep in mind how your product competes with the competitors and recognize that selling on marketplaces might be different from selling on your store.

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How to get started

At least 10 weeks after registering at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce or the Belgian Business Register you can apply to become partner. First, create a customer account at Bol.com and click the drop-down menu. After that, click on ‘sales account’ and enter your business details. Confirm the email Bol.com will send you, and enter the code you receive at your business address.

Selling on bol.com: the process

1. Manage your products

 

Add products

Manage product information

2. Add offers to the Bol.com marketplace

 

Insert your offers into your account

Set your delivery time

Set your price

Set your stock

3. Start selling

 

Regularly check for open orders

4. Process your orders and cancellations

 

Ship the orders that you have picked

Select a transporter to send your shipment

Add transport information to your shipments

Check the status of your shipment request

Check for and confirm cancellations

5. Manage your returns

 

Regularly check your returns

Handle your returns

6. Prepare for more sales

 

Send updated stock values

Adjust your pricing

Update your delivery time

Optimizing Bol.com

On Bol.com, you should optimize all aspects of your account to maximize the chance of outperforming the competition. Bol.com specifically uses the below-stated criteria to determine the placement of your listing, you should optimize for these:

  • availability of the article;
  • quality of the item (e.g. new, second-hand, returned, etc.);
  • price of the item incl. shipping costs and VAT;
  • delivery conditions, consisting of:
    • delivery time of the Item;
    • term within which delivery of the Item takes place (e.g. ordered before 11 p.m., delivered tomorrow);
    • additional delivery options, such as evening and weekend delivery, same-day delivery, pick-up points).
  • business seller performance score based on:
    • delivery reliability;
    • cancellations of orders by the business seller;
    • customer reviews;
    • traceability of deliveries based on track & trace.

Read all about marketplace optimization here.

Advertising on bol.com (and other marketplaces)

Bol.com offers multiple options for advertising:

1. Display advertising

You can advertise using banner ads on the Bol.com website. These banners are in the Bol.com style, when the user clicks on the banner he or she is linked to the product page on Bol.com. You can also buy banners through Bol.com for offsite advertising. This way you have the familiar Bol.com branding to promote your products whilst having the possibility to reach a different audience.

2. Sponsored products

You can promote the visibility of your product in the marketplace search results by using sponsored products. These ads generally have a high conversion rate, the ads operate based on keyword bidding. This bidding can be done manually or automatically (the difference is explained here).

3. Online magazines

Bol.com makes use of social media to promote online magazines to relevant audiences. These online magazines get a high response rate of 15% to 25%.

Marketplace advertising, in general, is expertly and extensively described in our article ‘the ultimate marketplace advertising guide’.

Bol.com policy

Bol.com has rules in place to prevent its marketplace from deteriorating. The main one to watch out for is price. Bol.com will not allow you to offer a lower price than on your website or offer a substantially higher price than the competition on its marketplace. The reason behind this is that Bol.com does everything it can to preserve its image of having a good value for money. Also, when selling a product under private label, you have the right to control and sell this product. With a white label, everyone may buy and sell.

Furthermore, you may only send packages that are not branded or uses the Bol.com branding and should be labeled with a clear label including the seller’s name. Additionally, the seller is not allowed to sell outside the Netherlands or Belgium. You can read all about the policy here.

Fulfillment by Bol.com

Like Amazon, Bol.com offers a logistics service. This service includes inventory and shipping, this services optimizes factors that count towards your sellers rating. Therefore, using this fulfillment option usually has a positive impact on your seller’s rating. Currently, submission to this program is closed due to high demand. Check here what it costs and if it’s available.

If you’re interested in obtaining a quote for outsourcing fulfillment, you can use the form provided here. We have partnerships with multiple fulfillment providers (all of which are GS1 certified) so you can get quotes from various partners and choose the one that best fits your business needs.

Tools for maximizing your marketplaces

If you want to make the most of the marketplaces, whilst being as efficient as possible. You should consider a tool like e-tailize. e-tailize makes product and advertisement management easy. We have extensive data analytics tools to give you insights into the market, competition, your products, and ads. We use algorithmic clustering to predict valuable keywords, and we use AI to help you optimize inventory, marketing spend, and customer support.

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