International E-Commerce

Cross border E-Commerce

Etaility AB moving to Barcelona

Etaility AB has moved its office to Barclona for the next two months. Why would a company do that?


6 month ago Mikael and I had no jobs, little money and no company. We were a bit back to zero. We both got job offers, but we also both realized that nobody could offer us the kind of job we really wanted. And that was the reason we stated Etaility. We wanted to create the perfect job for our self and those that works with us.

So how does the perfect job look like to us?

1) Responsibility. We want that the work we do makes a difference. Both Mikael and I are allergic to political management and bureaucracy, were the main way to get things though is creating alliances, talk behind people back and complain about others work. We want to get things done (easy to say when you are a small company). That is why we could not work in a “normal” company. We would not fit into a bureaucratic. And again it is not that our anarchic model model is right and more formal business is wrong. A more formal business can be the right solution for many larger firms, but if we can chose, then we would just like to skip that part.
2) Taking advantages of opportunities the Internet offers. Do you really need to be at one fixed place all the time, when you are using skype and half of the team anyway are based in Ukraine? Or could you go two months to Barcelona. We want to work when and where we like too. If the sun is shining in Barcelona and it is raining in Stockholm and the customer is in Spain, then it is hard to see the benefits of being in Stockholm.
3) Motivation. For us motivation is less the actual money. It is more that we:
* like to work,
* like to solve problems related to eCommerce,
* like building companies, like growing eCommerce,
* like to develop us self,
* like to do fun stuff,
* like to do exciting stuff
* like to do challenging stuff
* like to have great and happy colleagues
* and we like to see happy customers

4) De-motivation. On the other side there are things that demotivates us. What de-motivate us is
* Outdated rules and norms. E.g. the “we do like this because, we always did like this”
* Unnecessary stress
* Harsh and negative tone at the office
* Ego center collages
* Doing insignificant work and just being part of the machine

If we can get lot of responsibility, take advantages of the internet and do more stuff that motivates us and less stuff the de-motivates us, then we believe we get a competitive advantage over our competitors. Of cause in the end, is it important that we deliver and make great results, but the above 4 points should just help our results improve.


That we move to Barcelona is strongly related to point 2) Advantage of the Internet and 3) Motivation. This is what we get out of working from Spain.

  • Some thing different. It is really a break out of the normal confort zone to take the office to a new country. It just makes you more creative and see things from a new perspective. You would think it would be complicated to move the office, but it was not really. We just need our laptops and a great shared office in Barcelona and we are up running
  • New business opportunities. One reason we are here, it that one of our customers are based in Northen Spain = and (watch out Partykungen, we are taking you market share), but we do cross border eCommerce, and actually quite some Spanish shops that are looking into new markets.
  • Requiting. We are growing fast and therefor we need to hire the best people. We can offer a fair salary, but not the best and we can offer a nice office but not the best and we can not offer to be a old and well know hyped work place like Google or Facebook. What we can offer that is cooler than salary and a fancy office, is sunshine, a bit of culture and two months work from Barcelona. This dramatically increases the number of job applications!
  • A great team event. Two month team event. Beat that with a dinner out one a fancy Stockholm restaurant.
  • Because we can. Why not? It started as a crazy idea, but nothing really was holding us back from moving here. Most other people don’t have the opportunity just to move away from the Nordic fall and into a warm country, so when it is posible for us, why not then?
  • Live up to our values. We believe in a world with no borders and our job is to make it super easy to enter new markets. Then we also should not restrict our office to just one country. By working from here for two months we live out our cross border life.

Any cons of moving the office? Sure there will be some cons of beeing “international”, but so far we have not experienced them yet. Sure they will come, but also sure that the benefits out weigh the cons.

The meaning of “ehandel”

So why all this love for “ehandel”?


Is eCommerce not just capitalists dumping prices and selling products made by Chinese kids who lives in a cage sniffing glue and at the same time the serial killer of small charming hobby and local physical shops? Does eCommerce actual do anything good for the world?

Indirectly I was asked those questions yesterday when doing my worst presentation ever, about what I work with. !!!. Mikael Jorkvist and I have startet, where we build webshop solutions, market them in the Nordic and maybe invest in some as well, and now we moved into our new hippie office, where all the other companies or NGOs basically are super creative or in some other ideal way making the world a better place.

So when we yesterday presented our company and what we do I did not have any good answer to WHY  this world needs eCommerce and how we makes this world a better place
(ps: Watch this talk on this TED talk on WHY)
And that made me think all night and speculate if I really are doing anything good in this world when working with E-commerce. And then I slowly starter to get over the shock and stated remembering WHY this world needs Ecommerce

WHY I work with eCommerce and WHY it makes more scenes to me than anything else!:

  • Creates Vales. Trade creates value for everybody in our world. For the employee who gets his first job, for the poor customers mom who bouth a stroller 40% cheaper online, for the suppliers startup companiy that creat a new great product, for the investor who want to save up money for his pension. It just makes sense for all partners. it is a win/win. And win/win creates happy people and that drives and motivates me.
  • Distribution of goods /diveristy and the Long tail. Have you read “The long Tail” Theory here and book here: File:The long tail bookcover.jpgIf not, then it is an theory that we are moving away from mass-production and into niche products. I see this as the main driver behind eCommerce. eCommerce makes it possible for people to chose Niches and custom made products instead of mass-production. This benefits innovation, artiest, creative people and people that produce unique products that other vice not would have a place in a main stream world.
  • My profession. I have two kids. I love them a lot and my #1 priority in life is to feed and provide them with a good childhood. And I would not mind moving into a forest, build my own organic three house, live there and live of blueberries…. but my wife don’t agree to that. So I need to make money. I need a job. And now eCommercel is this thing I know very well, it is a fast growing market and this is an area where I can make the money I need for my living. This is my job and hobby in one thing. Most hippies need a job on the side to finance their hobby/art, but when I work with this I enjoy my work. This also should give me a balance in my life that I have an income, and it is important for me that I can take care of my family and my self and don’t need (Government) support to survive. For me not having an income is not sustainability.
  • eCommerce is fascinating. How amazing is it that we live in a world where you can site on the bus and order your new pants on your phone? It is just crazy and truly revolutionary. The world is chacing due to eCommerce and I want to be part of that change
  • The OCD and the urge to do it better. A strong drive in my life is the urge to make this world a better place. And I think most people in this world have this urge to make the world a better place. Other people might have a urge to improve an old car, renovate or paint a beautifully house or make marmalade out of unused fruited. I just like to “renovate” online shops. I have accepted that I most likely don’t start a world revelution, but I can start one place and that is by improving an onlineshop, fixing one small webshop error here and there. It all counts. It truly drives me to improve things, and I still see a lot in eCommerce that can be done better.
  • Data. I like the idea of getting everything out of data and use the opportunities data gives us to improve this world. This is not limited to eCommerce but Data is a part of eCommerce
  • Where thinking big still is possible. Not long ago people left Europe to pursuit the big dreams in America. There was this adventures idea to go a new place and make big ideas come alive. I fell the same with eCommerce. It is possible to to do really big things here. If I would be a farmer like my dad, then I would not be working on some thing big or new, but 95% just live the same life as my dad.
  • Creates job. E-commerce creates job. Lots of job. I feel very proved for every job I have created, especially that I have create my own job.
  • Destroying monopoly and price monopoles. There are a lot of companies in this world that try to build monopolies and pushing up prices artificiality high. This hurts consumers, but eCommerce helps destroying the price monopolies and make the prices more transparent, resulting in a better world for all the consumers and more competition for the manufactures, forcing them to focus more on innovation and product development instead of strategies to build monopolies and abuse the consumers
  • Entrepreneur. I like being an entrepreneur. I feel that is a more safe than having a job where you can get fired. As entrepreneur you take control of you own life. I like that. There is a million other areas you can be entrepreneur in, but eCommerce just happen to been one of the easier and cheapest areas to start up in during the last 10 years.
  • Creating joy. In we sent out 6000 packets on ONE monday in the Christmas. Do you know what was in those packages? Christmas gifts! Hey, do you need more reasons? Basically we were Santa Claus’s workshop. How many smiles did this create on small kids? Knowing that each time we send a packed, there are a customer in the other end waiting and getting happy when he opens it, is very motivation and it makes me happy to thing about this joy that I am part of creating. And for me it doesn’t matter if is is a huge black dildo, a pair of new running shoes, local made organic food, or a cheap RC car I am selling. They all create joy in their own way.
For the Hippies
  • eCommerce is great for the environment. Instead of people traveling by car to a shopping center the packed get delivered to the door and we save gas for the car and time.
  • Second you can by organic products online that you other vice could not get in your local area.
  • I guess there is less energy consumed per products going though a warehouse, than when a product first need transportation to a shop, a shop that needs heating and electrical lightning.
  • Actually many eCommerce companies have HQ outside the large cities, and crate local business and jobs.
  • eCommerce also help people living more remote to have access to the same goods as the people in the large cities
Ps: I like Hippies. Often they are more interesting than other normal people. Heard the founder of should be some kind of hippie living in a organic collective and traveling in India and doing yoga and stuff.

E-commerce Buzz words

This is a long post about all the E-commerce Buzz words, divided into 1) the hyped buzz words, and 2) the forgotten but efficient buzz words.

Start by seeing this video:

The competitive advantage of e-commerce compared to physical offline shopping, is its simplicity. I basically agree with Anton, who claims that running an e-commerce business is not so hard. Sadly most e-commerce consultancies focus on how hard, how complex and how difficult e-commerce is. That is how they make money, by telling you that e-commerce is very complex, and you therefore need to hire consultants and let them develop e.g. a large and expensive social media strategy. The problem is, these consultants are not better than most e-commerce people, since most of them have no experience doing pure play e-commerce for them self. They prioritize irrelevant E-commerce projects with low ROI over the once that are really important for your business. Here is a list of buzz words that consultants use to try to get money from you by explaining:

A/B testing
I don’t believe in it. I used to. In theory it makes perfect sense. But in the real world, it is more about getting things done, and they testing every little detail. I am sure you have a long important to do list already. Once you are done with your existing to do list and don’t know what to do, you can start testing more. Especially in the Nordics, where our traffic is so limited, it is hard to get enough traffic to complete a test better than guessing. It might make sense for large companies like or to do it, but for the rest who have less than 500,000 visitors a month, it makes more sense just to implement best practice. A/B testing is a concept all consultancies love. And yes in theory it works. I am not against testing, I am just stating that most etailers would benefit more from focusing on implementing best practice than on starting to test everything. Why invent the wheel when someone else has done it for you? Remember, in the end, all A/B testing will lead to you selling porn.

Multi-channel & cross-channel
The advantage of e-commerce is its simplicity. Multi channel is everything but simple. Read more here

For the last 15 years, consultancies have been talking about: “how people will start shopping from their mobiles” or “M-commerce being the next big thing”. Most consultancies still say so, and yes m-commerce is growing a lot. So is Afghanistan. It is just from a very low insignificant level. Today more people shop on a tablet than on a phone, so m-commerce has already lost to the tablets, and tablets for me is more like a computer than a mobile.

App shops
Related to m-commerce. It’s good when you are able get customers to download your applications. But really few people do this. If you have a huge company like Asos, then this makes no sense. Just make your website simple and well designed so people can read from their Apple and android devices.

Social media
Ask yourself, is social media more relevant for a midsized online shop, or for e.g. McDonalds? It is of cause more important for huge international companies, than for small once. Social media is not more related to e-commerce than any other business. But the consultancies will tell you otherwise. Social media is as relevant to E-commerce as a TV commercial – No special connect to e-commerce.

QR code
I guess QR codes could work for some multi channel shops, but not really for pure-play e-commerce companies.

Mobile payments
Every now and then mobile payments become a hype. Right now Mobile payments are hot again, but it will be over soon.

It is just dead. People don’t go to facebook to buy stuff.

Facebook friends
Facebook friends are worth money, and check out Asos 1,7 million friends: But as a small local Danish or Swedish shop, you don’t get such many fans, and they don’t buy as much as you want them to. The value of Facebook friends, I believe is lower than the cost of getting them. Some research suggests a fan in general is worth about 10$. Do you think Asos spend more than 17 million $ for their fans? I think so.

Twitter work is English, but for E-commerce it has no effect outside the English speaking countries. Read here how Zappos does it great anyway:,1364.html

Ouch. This is what I personally consult on, but to be fair, this is also an overrated term. It is so easy to sell the idea to an e-commerce company and they can conquer the whole world if they just let me help them open up the shop in a lot of markets. Sadly, I believe there are way too many shops trying to conquer the whole world before they even can walk, and they fail drastically.

Affiliate marketing
I have tried to make affiliate work so many times. Maybe I am totally incompetent, but none of the affiliate networks that I have been working with have met my expectations.

Conversion rate
“I think if you just could increase your conversion rate by 0.5%” – Have you heard a consultant tell you that? I am sure you have. But conversion rate is a relative thing. A low conversion rate on some traffic you buy at a cheap price, can be good. You want a free advice? – try cutting your prices by 20% and see how that will rock your conversion rate.

Underrated buzzwords in the e-commerce world

On the contrary, the above list of meaningless hyped e-commerce buzzwords are also a list of things and areas very few consultancies focus on. This is the list of underestimated ecommerce focus areas:

I read that sportamore sold 200,000 pairs of shoes. If they can lower purchase price by 5%, reduce in bone delivery time by 12 hours, avoid to buy the wrong models for stock, never run out of the top 20% best selling shoes, well then you have made a huge difference for a company like Sportamore.

I don’t get why this is not an ecommerce buzz word yet. It works so well and kick ass. And best of all, you can do it yourself on Google Adwords, without hiring a consultancy. Alternatively, try to check out: Criteo (both only accept larger customers – 100,000 visits a month)) – Here is how to do it yourself in Adwords:

This is a buzz word, and a lot of crap companies try to sell you SEO services. Some retailers focus relatively too much on SEO, but for others this is an easy area to improve, if you find the right consultant. As I see it, most small etailers focus too much on SEO relative to other important buzzwords, whereas most large retailers ignore SEO.

I love Adwords. If you do it right this will be your most important marketing source. But don’t outsource this. Most adwords firms are greedy, and make incentive agreements that you will lose on. Complete the adwords training Google provides, or hire a person fulltime to do this. It is very hard to outsource.

Customer service
A lot of companies see customer service as a cost, not as an investment. But many of the companies that see customer service as an investment or after sales, have very high conversion rate on calls, or huge return rates on customers.

Logistic & Packing
I would estimate that Logistic & Packing is about 50% of the total cost in most E-commerce companies beside cost of goods. There are cases where E-commerce companies cut off 2/3 of their packing time per packet. That makes a huge difference in the company’s performance.

like to think that people shop online primarily because of the huge selection and its convenience. But the fact is, prices are the most important factors and without competitive prices, you will have a hard time getting good conversions.

A newsletter is a good and effective tool to reach existing customers. There are standard systems that will be almost for free and meet all your needs. So don’t make it too complicated.

Returning customers
A saying in offline marketing goes like this “Acquiring a new customer can cost 6 to 7 times more than retaining an existing one”. Why should it be different online? The best trick to get returning customers is to meet the expectations of the customer. Returning customers are also affected by your newsletter and remarketing. In e-commerce the number of returning customers can be the most important factor in the long run.

So what buzz words did I miss and what words did I place wrong?

Enter each new market as a champ

“Second Place is just the first place loser” – Dale Earnhardt

When you enter a new market with your online shop, you can choose to aim at becoming #1 or not. The two models for entering new markets are:

  1. Enter as many markets as possible and as cheap as possible, and make your shop reachable to anybody who wants to buy your products.
  2. Enter each market as a champion, with the aim of becoming #1 in your category..

If you ask me, I recommend that you enter like a champ!

And this is the reason why: Everybody remembers the winner in a race. It is the same for customers, they return to Amazon because Amazon is #1. And E-commerce is about returning customers. Anything done mediocre in business or e-commerce is a loss. And in 2012, it is not enough just to make your products available to everybody, but you have to serve them too.

So how should you enter a new market? You should enter in steps. Nobody becomes winner overnight and it can be really expensive to “go all” in on a new market you don’t know as well as your home market. Start your shop abroad, when you believe you have a chance to make the first sale, keep improving and localizing your shop. Even if you are the last shop to start in the market, keep aiming for the first place. Don’t try it if you don’t have the resources (Money and time) to become number (#) 1. It will be a waste and drain your energy and efforts in your domestic market.

I write this post because I see a lot of e-commerce companies who enter new markets, just for entering sake. It is like, the more flags your shop has the better you are in e-commerce, but if you don’t take the foreign customers place and aim at being their #1 servant, then you will fail abroad. The #1 reason why E-commerce companies don’t succeed abroad, is because they don´t listen and serve their foreign customers as well as their home market. Do you have the resources to do that?

NB – if you are selling a total unique product, and therefore have no competitors abroad, enter as many new markets as possible, and as cheap as possible, but for companies that have competition, aim at becoming #1.

eCommerce brand value – part two: The cheep eCommerce branding guide

Introduction from part one which can be read here ( “… Can you taste the difference between a Coca Cola and a Pepsi Cola? I am sure that you think you can. But most people cannot. Customers buy the brand – not the product. It is branding that creates returning customers. It is branding that makes the different in the cola business, and so it is in eCommerce.” This post was original posted on the Klarna blog in Swedish, so if you prefer Swedish you can read it her.

How do you build up you brand value as internet retailer? Here is a small guide of 15 small tips to increase your brand value without buying expensive TV ads.

Branding to existing customers

The most relevant audience, the most likely people to be effected by your branding, is your existing customer. Make them know and recognize your logo and shop name. Here are some small tips to increase your branding towards those:

1) Have your logo on the packets you send out (or at least on the tape).

Knowing that the packets is from your shop makes your customer exited to open your packet and is good customer experience. Besides that, often the person receiving the packet is not the final customer, but could be the customers colleague, neighbor, mom, spouse or a friend collecting the packet for the customer. And now that friend/lover/colleague will also know that you are a real company.

2) Get your logo, or a sticker with your logo on each product packing you send out.

Often the brand of the product you are selling, (Nike, Appel or whatever) have the product in a nice inner box with their logo on. That inner box are more likely that the customer keep, than the external one. Add your logo sticker to that box too.

3) Include a small catalog or flyer in the packet.

Include something with your logo on in the packet that the customer might save. It might be leaflet, a candy, a catalog with more products or a note about how to return the product in case of reclamation (customer save that one). iPhonebutiken does this with candy and even get blog post about this.

4) Have the same email signature template for all employees.

Include your logo and a link to you Facebook fan site and to the shop. does it the right way.

Other corporate standards your should consider implementing online:

5) Decide max. 3 “corporate” colors, that you use everywhere in your design, logo and more.

Use standard colors in your logo, in your banners, in your web design and everywhere that you use colors. Especially use the same colors in your banner as on your website. That is the “Scent” Brian Eisenberg talk so much about. ” we’re a bunch of scent following animals, and as soon as we lose the scent we drop off. Keep all design on brand and in line with the campaign* uses red, white and light blue everywhere and you recognize it.

6) Print the invoice in colors

It cost money, is bad for the environment, but is good for your business. I am sure your logo not just is black and white. So don’t send out invoices or other letters with your logo in black and white.

7) Have a letterhead and get your logo on any letter you send out.

Your suppliers, your bank, your business partners, they are all very potential customers, and of cause they should be brainwashed to memorize your logo and slogan.

8 ) Standard logo

Have a standard logo that you uses everywhere. Don’t use one in 5 different formats.

9)High resolution

Have the logo in high resolution and in vector format.

10)Make something out of your logo.

Many shop only have a text stating their name and no logo. From Zappo’s logo you see that they sell shoes. From’s logo  (monkey helicopter above at point 5) you see they sell toys.

11) Be a sponsor

But only at relevant events, that matches your audience. Often all you have to pay is some free products, and you might even be able to have your supplier pay for the free products :-)

12) Business cards

Have business cards, and hand them out everywhere. Your friends, family and business partners could be your best sales people.

13) Avoid a SEO shop name.

Customers don’t remember the difference on e.g. or, but customers remember a name like ASOS, Zappos or Amazon. Also notice that those big shot eCommerce companies have names that can be used across borders. Don’t use a shop name that include Swedish or other local language.

14) A big sign on your door/building/car

You know who! And where other eCommerce people would get a picture with their boring storage, he get's his car with his logo in

Put a big sign with your company name outside of your building or on your company car. Why hide your company from your neighbors that are potential customer.

15) Free random sits people might see your name

Add your name every where it is for free, especially online – google maps, google plus, any online site or on a blog you own and so on.

A couple of issues to remember when doing branding.

  • Remember it is not about getting everybody in the hole world to see your logo at once, it is about getting everybody who really needs your products to see your logo again and again and then remember it. Then they will be a lot more likely to respond to your (Search) marketing.
  • The larger your business is the more important is the points above.
  • Branding can be very very expensive, especially if it is external branding like TV ads and so on, but it can also be done cheep. Be carefully not to spend too much time or money on branding.
  • Branding is a lot about being consisting (scent). That the customer knows what this brand stands for and what this brand will deliver. Make sure your customer gets the same experience every time they shop at your shop. A consistent “good customer service” is better than 50% extreme good customer service and 50% mediocre customer service. CDON only have customer service via email, and I believe that is better than have phone customer service that they might only answers every second call. It is consistent.
  • Branding becomes more efficient if people see your logo via different channels. The person who see your web banner and then your logo on your door/on a packet/on google maps/in a tv ad or anywhere else, is more likely to buy you product than the person who just sees your web banner twice. It is very powerful if your audience see your logo and name difference places. That is possible if you know who your target group is and you target one group at the time via different channels.
  • The effect of branding is very hard to measure. Anyway one indicator can be the percentage of direct traffic you get to your shop.

Summery. Be consistent in your branding, and use your logo everywhere possible, and especially when it is internally and you can print your logo for “free”.

eCommerce brand value – part one: Are you giving your brand value away?

Can you taste the difference between a Coca Cola and a Pepsi Cola? I am sure that you think you can. But most people cannot. Customers buy the brand – not the product. It is branding that creates returning customers. It is branding that makes the difference in the cola business, and so it is in e-Commerce.

The Coca Cola brand is worth billions and there are tons of books about branding in the offline world. Branding is an essential part of marketing and business in general. But when it comes to e-Commerce, branding is newer and not really a hot topic, but I believe that branding is the difference between success and failure in ecommerce.

My issue is that many e-Commerce people don’t understand the importance and value of branding. Most e-Commerce people hunt the next CPA or SEO sale, and ignore the branding effect. E-Commerce people often don’t understand that the brand value of their shop is the single most important asset in an e-commerce company, and that the brand is what will be important if the company one day is sold. Because of the brand value, customers recognize your shop logo and name, identify themselves with your brand and returns to your shop at next purchase. And for most online shops, returning customers is what success is all about. In the offline world there is a marketing rule of thumb, that ” Acquiring new customers can cost five times more than satisfying and retaining current customers”, and I have no reason to believe it is different online.

But online shops have the tendency to get the next sale at any cost. They do anything to get a sale as long as the CPA is low. But I believe this is a huge mistake. CPA is a relative thing, and should not be used as the only guideline to allocation of online marketing budget. It is a great method if the only objective is to grow business fast (which still often is the case in e-Commerce cases), but if the goal is to be profitable in the long term (which is a hot topic these days – when Mats Ingelborn , Urban Lindsted, Parvolito and Nolingo discus this), then you need customers to return directly to your shop, because you don’t want to pay for the custom each time. If you list all your products in different price search engines, then you train your returning customer to return to the price engine instead of your online shop at next purchase.

Every time you get a sale through a 3 part search engine via your data feed (affiliate site, price comparison, Google – seo and sem, facebook, ebay, kelkoo, pricerunner, amazon, fyndiq, blocket,, the search engine gain brand value, brand value that they would not have gotten if the customer came directly to your shop. You help them build their brand, and you are even paying for it. Look at the big online shops, almost none of them sell on ebay or through other third party sites.

Example: amazon bookstore. Do they list their books in all kinds of data feeds? Do amazon buy ad words on the book titles? No, they have build up a brand so strong, that you and I go directly to, when we want to buy a book. Abound and other Nordic shops that go hard for branding are Nelly and Smartguy. People don’t search “red jersey” and then buy it where they find it. Customers go directly to Nelly and Smartguy and check out what products they have.

Summary: Prioritize Branding. It is underestimated in e-Commerce. Also re-consider all your data feeds, and consider if any of them are mainly targeting your returning customers. If so, reconsider the cpc you are paying for that traffic source and consider if you are giving away your brand value.

Ps: personally I like Pepsi more, but I prefer cola in cold cans, which is difficult to get with pepsi, and that is why I always buy coca cola:-)

Profitable Multichannel E-commerce doesn’t exist

I try to make life easy for myself. That is why I avoid project involving multichannel. Fact is, that I know very very little about multichannel, but just from a logical perspective it doesn’t make any sense to me.

This is how I define multichannel: Selling products through more than one channel. E.g. having both a online shop and a physical shop.

I write this blog post because I all the time hear ecom experts recommend multichannel for God and everybody.

I only believe in pure play e-commerce. Because succes with ecommerce is all about focus, and focus is lost when more channels are added to the business mode. E.g. Let’s say that you are skilled in making a selling shop window in a physical shop. That don’t make you an expert in web design.

My issues with multichannel:

  1. Selling online and though a physical store is two completely different business models. There are almost no synergies. From purchasing, logistic, customer service, marketing, HR, this is two completely different business model. I don’t see one function that would be the same. Purchasing? No, you would have different products in your online store (larger selection/long tail) than in you physical shop.
  2. The reason that brick and mortar chains enter E-commerce, is not to create value for their customers, but just because E-commerce is growing faster, and they want a piece of the cake. They enter because E-commerce is a hot buzz word, not because they have some special skills in creating value in e-commerce.
  3. The largest issues is the different skill set that you need, when running a Pureplay ecomemrce shop or a physical store. Online you have to be good at SEO, usability, SEM, webdevelopment, Logistic, Remote customer service and national marketing. Offline you have to be good at face-to-face customer service, store management, local marketing. The required skills that you need for both models, is accounting and other adminitrative function, but they are not any larger synegies tham between any two random companies.
  4. I don’t know about any multichannel company that succeeded for real. E.g. IKEA stopped their online business, and ask your self if you believe you will be better in Multichannel business than IKEA? The other problem it that you can not see any financials, that shows what part in a multichannel company that are profitable. I believe Ecommerce is about making profit, and that I believe is hard with multichannel.

With two completely different business models the strategy becomes really difficult, because you can not make the perfect strategy for either of the business models. The perfect business plan for the worlds best pureplay ecommerce company will be very different from the business plan for the worlds best retail chain. It is like sitting down between two chairs. #Fail

What advantages are there for Multichannel? This is what is often agued.

  • “Your customer expect you to be online”. So true and I think brick and mortar should offer there products online, but they will not be profitable or competitive to the pure players. And as a pureplay e-commerce person, this will not be a argument for me.
  • “it create trust to have a real shop” – Yes, but there is million other methods that will give you more trust easier, like e.g. customer reviews.
  • “You can sell more if you open a store” – You can only sell to the people who live close by you store, with is like few compared to online.
  • “The customer can pick up his product right away” – True, but one of the main advantages of e-commerce is that you can have all you products in one central storage, and thereby save a lot of cost. Having your complete assortment in every single physical store sounds expensive. Beside that I have seen more examples where a multichannel store have storage and shop in the same (ala Ikea). That makes the physical shop look ugly and makes the packing less efficient. = Goodbye to efficient business model.
  • “you have synergies from customers knowing you brand” – Yes, but I believe the synergy almost always will be smaller than all the cost in time and money it takes to start up a new channel.

That was the advantages. All the other disadvantages, you can have the consultants explain to you, that is what they get their money for. (



Maybe some old catalog firms will be able to evolve into E-commerce, since that almost is the same business model. There might be a lot of synergies (but if they did not do that already, it might be to late.)

The different business models in E-commerce

Every day I get “brilliant” ecommerce tips on twitter. The problem is that few “5 tips to increase your conversion rate” lists really add value to me. The thing is that e-commerce tips often works for one etailer, but not for the next, because we all have different e-commerce business models. So here are the different business models I see in e-commerce.

Drop shipping
Critical to success: Reliable suppliers.
Disadvantage/risk: same suppliers as your competitors, low margins.
Main traffic source: Varies a lot
Value creation: Marketing of a product

High margin products based
Critical to success: Efficient sourcing from e.g. China. Own brands. Also the ability to use the 80/20 rule, and cut out products generating less profit.
Disadvantage/risk: To Keep focus and to get returning customers, when you sell unrelated products
Main traffic source: campaigns
Value creation: Importing

Product Brand based
Critical to success: Having the right brands, which generate the traffic to your store
Disadvantage/risk: low margins, high supplier power
Main traffic source: varies
Value creation: Marketing

Price dumping
Critical to success: To be listed in prices search engines, like kelkoo, prisjakt and more. Also very high volumes are needed to do this in a profitable way. And of cause lower prices
Disadvantage/risk: To make a high enough margin to run you business
Main traffic source: Price search engines
Value creation: offering lower prices

Critical to success: Taking advantage of the physical presence/brand.
disadvantage/risk: People want to select a pair of “red pants” from all brands, not only Jack and Jones. To be competitive against the pure players
Example: Jackjones
Main traffic source: Direct
Value creation: making the product available online

Financed growth based
Critical to success: to reach sustainable size and turn into a cash cow before the investors run out of cash.
Disadvantage/risk: keeping focus on developing a profitable company might be hard when investors is putting ridicules amount of money into the company. Why then make profit.
Main traffic source: bought traffic
Value creation: varies

Media based
Critical to success: Access to cheap quality branding marketing
Disadvantage/risk: one day the media company realize it have to focus on their core business, and sell off the e-commerce company, which then have to make it on its own.
Example:, that used to be part of MTG. They have/had access to cheap branding, why they did run a lot of commercials on TV.
Main traffic source: Direct traffic from media marketing
Value creation: marketing

Long tail based
Critical to success: Large unique assortment, and large market (e,g, us) to reach profitable level.
Disadvantage/risk: expensive to keep large assortment on storage
Main traffic source: Search
Value creation: offering more relevant products

Niche based
Critical to success: Need to be market leader in its category. This also implies that they need all products in this nice, not only the profitable ones
Disadvantage/risk: to be in a too small niche, that won’t turn profitable
Main traffic source: Forums, broad search on the niche, traffic from related products
Value creation: product expertise

Subscriber based
Critical to success: Returning customers, assortment that customers needs on a regularly basics.
Disadvantage/risk: expensive to gain new loyal customers,
Main traffic source: email marketing
Value creation: convenience

Returning customer based
Critical to success: Customer service, collecting relevant information about the customer, and offering relevant offers
Disadvantage/risk: hard to get that loyal customers, and most customers will cheat a lot on you.
Main traffic source: direct, remarketing
Value creation: safety – Customer know what he gets

Unique products based
Critical to success: PR and buzz around the product
Disadvantage/risk: few returning customers
Example: (was selling a pink coffin),
Main traffic source: Media Buzz, happenings in the real world. Product placements
Value creation: offering unique products

Point is, that in E-commerce there are many different business models, and a good advice for one of those categories, will often be bad advice in another.

Remember many shops will be in more than one category. E.g. it will be likely to have a “retuning customer” setup together with a “brand based” setup

Køb dig til troværdighed på nye markeder!

Note – dette er ikke et debat indlæg om hvor vidt, Trygg Ehandel eller E-mærket er pengemaskiner, spild af penge eller utroværdige. Pointen er, at effekten af disse mærker for udenlandske online butikker, eller for din shop når du sælger til udlandet.

Når du lancer din online shop på et nyt marked, er du for kunderne et nyt ukendt brand. Forskellen mellem din shop og en russisk “get a new hot wife” sides troværdighed er ikke-eksisterende. Situationen er at du som ny shop:

  • ikke har returnerende kunder. Dit brand eksister ikke som det gør på hjemmemarkedet.
  • ikke har tilfredse tidligere kunder som kan gøre “word of mouth” marketing for din shop
  • har ingen facebook fans
  • ikke har kundeanmeldelser fra eksisterende kunder
  • har små lokaliserings og sprog fejl. Det har alle shop i starten på et nyt marked som(store som små)
  • ikke tilbyder samme handelsvilkår som lokale shops.

Som kunde kigger man efter elementer (som dem her over) man kender fra andre lokale shops. Når kunderne ikke finder de elementer som de forventer at finde i en lokal shop, mister din shop sin troværdighed. For 2 år siden var en shop på forkanten hvis den havde en facebook fanpage – idag fremstår en butik uden fanpage, som en virksomhed der skiller sig mystisk ud.

Resultatet af dine mangler i udlandet er en ekstrem lav konvertering på det nye marked, din markedsføring bliver rigtig dyr og din forretningsmodel uprofitabel.

En del af løsningen er “just do it”, at lancer på et nyt marked uden at have din shop perfekt (din shop bliver aldrig perfekt). Derefter må du tilpasse din shop til det nye marked i takt med at du får de første kunder og deres feedback. Evolution! Kundefeedback, er hvad gjorde din shop succesfuld på dit hjemme marked og det er med samme metode du bliver succesfuld i udlandet. Men der er en genvej til hurtige forbedringer af din shop på det nye marked og til hurtigt at kunne følge normerne i udlandet.

Få et lokalt trust logo!

Jeg ved at mange e-handlere synes det er idiotisk at man skal betale penge for et eksternt sikkerheds logo som egentlig ikke skaber nogen værdi. I tænker, “det er falsk tryghed for kunderne”. Men tænk ikke på det som en sikkerhed. Tag det for hvad det er – simple markedsføring. Det er et signal til kunderne om at du tjener nok penge i din shop til(er dygtig, effektiv og leverer varen), at du kan bruge lidt penge på et fint logo. Hvis du havde utilfredse kunder, så tjente du ikke penge nok til det “fine” logo. (lad os lige aflive myten om at webshops der tjener penge er onde. Shops der tjener penge er dygtigere end dem der ikke gør. Det er de fordi de leverer varen til kunderne effektivt)

Men i forhold til internatonal e-handel, er et lokalt trustmærke så meget mere end blot markedsføring. Basalt set kræver e-mærket/trygg ehande/trusted shops, at du følger lokal standard og lovgivning. Røv irriterende at du som svensk shop ikke bare kan følge svensk returret, men dette skaber stor værdi for udenlandske kunder som handler i din shop, at du følger lokal lovgivning og normer. Online kunder forventer at du overholder lokal lovgivning omkring f.eks. returret. Og glad kunder er cash.

Som shop er jeg sikker på du gerne vil følge udenlandsk standard, og få tilfredse udenlandske kunder, men problemet er at du ikke forstår hvad der kræves i udlandet. Men her hjælper diverse trustmarks. Trygg ehandel, E-mærket og Trusted shops. Alle trust marks har en checkliste/kravsliste til de respektive markeder som kræves du implementer for at få mærket. Et trustmark er uendelige meget billigere end en internationaliserings e-handels konsulent :-)

Link til de forskellige mærkers krav.


Eksembel på krav som gavner både udenlandsk kunde og din butik –

“Når du handler i en e-mærket netbutik, bestemmer du selv i hvilket omfang, du ønsker nyhedsbreve – du skal nemlig aktivt tilmelde dig ved at sætte et “flueben” i Ja tak… feltet.”
Altså en lille forskel på dansk og svensk standard som E-mærket hjælper dig med at få styr på

Trusted shop (tyskland mf)  (tysk)

– i tyskland er der advokater som arbejder fuldtid med at finde udenlandske webshops som ikke følger tysklovgivning, for efter følgende at sagsøge dem. Når du har trustedshops, betyder det du 99% allerede følger tysklovgivning, og du slipper for disse parasitter af tyske advokater.

Trygg e-handel

Pointen med dette indlæg:

Min point er at trustmarks har en stor værdi for online shops som sælger i udlandet.

Tysk E-handel – Sådan får man 15.922 Tyske kunder (og taber penge alligevel)

Mit nytårs forsæt for 2010 var at lykkes med lanceringen af CoolStuff i Tyskland (CoolStuff blev lanceret under brandet ““, da domainet ikke kunne købes for penge). Jeg ville bevise at jeg kunne lancer en Nordisk online shop succesfuldt på det tyske marked og jeg ville sælger gadgets til det tyske folk. Det ville være en dejlig track record, og et godt lille ekstra punkt til CV’et nu hvor det har været svært for andre nordiske online shop at komm ind på det tyske marked. F.eks. tabte NetonNet ca. 15-20 millioner SEK i Tyskland.

Tanker om lanceringen

Jeg tænkte, hvor svært kan det være? CoolStuff er et godt veludviklet E-handels koncept som tjener gode penge i både DK og SE og Tyskland er det største E-handelsmarked i EU.

Fra begyndelsen mente jeg også at tænke på udfordringerne ved Tyskland. I Norden er der basalt kun to konkurrenter (hvoraf den ene er evil Dan Nielson:-) ), mens der i tyskland er over 20 gadgets shops som konkurrer på de samme produkter. Jeg tænkte også at det ville være svært at blive et kendt brand på et stort marked i stedet for i SE og DK, men igen, jeg havde fået godkendt et markedsføringsbudget på ca. 3 Millioner SEK.

Derud over tænkte jeg også, at produkterne som CoolStuff sælger egnede sig til det tyske marked, da det er Long-tail produkter. F.eks. er CoolStuff den eneste virksomhed som sælger ”cat doorbell” i Tyskland, og med unikke produkter på et stort marked, et godt setup og med et stort markedsføringsbudget var det bare at gå i gang. Vores budget var at omsætter for ca. 10 million SEK i 2010 i Tyskland!

*Vores Evil plan var faktisk bedre end mine billedebehandlings evner!


Vi startede allerede oktober 2009 og fik julesalget med. Vi havde ansat en tysker til kundeservice og fik egentlig en ok start med julesalget. Januar 2010 var dog den rigtige start, hvor vi kunne se hvordan salget ville være uden for jule-peaket.

Januar 2010

En hård start. Der blev brugt 12.700$ på 220 adwords salg, altså en CPA på 58$ (ca. 391 SEK) mens gennemsnit ordrestørrelsen var 300 SEK. Auch. Konverteringen var 0,62% og bounce rate var på 71%. Endnu mere auch. Endnu er problem var at der var minimum fragt omkostningerne med Bring, på 20 pakker omdagen, så selv om vi kun sendte 10-15 pakker om dagen betalte vi for 20 pakker. Og fragten til Tyskland var også meget højere end til DK og SE. Auch. Alt i alt, det gik ikke godt

Foråret gik, og ved nordic E-comemrce summit i Stockholm i maj, havde jeg en samtale med Urban Lindsted, hvor jeg fortalte at det så rigtig svært ud med Tyskland. Vi havde også snart været i gang i 8 måneder, uden rigtig at få business i gang. Vi forsøgte markedsføring på tilfældige medier, og forsøgte at forbedre vores hjemme side på alle mulige måder. Men i stedet fik vi 6 måneders Google penanalty (Selv om vi brugte et kendt dyrt svensk SEO firma), hvilket betød slut med organisk trafik. Alt i alt, så tingen rigtig dårlige ud.

Internt i CoolStuff begyndte spredte samtaler om vi brugte for mange penge i Tyskland, om Tyskland ville være grunden til et katastrofe år for CoolStuff. Alting blev endnu dårligere af at DK, SE og NO gik super godt, hvilket fik Tyskland til at se endnu dårlige ud.

Omkring september-oktober forsvandt vores google penalty. Vi havde også byttet SEM partner fra en svensk virksomhed til en tysk (E-wolff). Langsom gik det frem af med Tyskland. Alt blev lidt bedre, vi brugte mindre penge på tilfældig markedsføring og forsøgte os lidt mere forsigtigt. Vi fik mere og mere organisk trafik, og en af vores Youtube tester fik test af vores produkter vist 8.484 gange!  Vi laver en aftale med UPS om 24 timers levering til hele Tyskland, som en ekstra valgmulighed for tyskerne.  Vi testede også en lille  konkurrent til Groupon, den gav ca. 200 tyske ordre på en dag. Derefter gik vi videre til Groupon’s største konkurrent, Dailydeals, som gav os 1.400 ordre på 48 timer:-) Også vores affiliate aftale begyndte at virke og give lidt ekstra salg.

Timingne kunne ikke være bedre. Det er lige op til jul, og vores salg i tyskland begynder at rulle.  Julesalget begyndte lidt langsomt, men slaget blev ved med at øge i Tyskland, og på den bedste dag kom vi op på 413 tyske ordre.

Resultatet blev et OK julesalg men stadig rigtig langt fra det oprindelige mål. Slaget i tyskland blev 3.750.000 SEK. Det er godt i forhold til starten af 2010 var så dårlig, og katastrofen udeblev. Det oprindelige salgs budget var ca. 10.000.000 SEK i slag, så målet blev langt fra nået. Men i julen og nu også i Januar, har markedsføringsomkosningerne i forhold til salget være ok, så det ikke rigtigt går meget i minus mere.

Min point er; Tyskland er svært. CoolStuff havde gode forudsætninger for at lykkes, men det var svært, og succesen er ikke sket endnu.

Hvis du også overvejer tyskland, så er her de ting som jeg synes vi gjorde godt:

  • Vi gjorde en 100% tysk satsning. Tysk bolag, Tysk bank, tysk tlf, tysk site, tysk betalingsmethoder, tysk kundeservice, tysk returadresse, ekstra god service på tyske kunder og rigtig billig levering til tyskland. Som tysk kunde bemærker man ikke det er en svensk virksomhed bag
  • Vi fik en faktura aftale med Klarna på plads. Dette er 50% af vores tyske kunder
  • Vi fik en paypal konto
  • Vi kørte en kampange med to Groupon konkurrenter
  • UPS express levering gav os mulighed for at sælge 2000 ekstra julegaver, da vores deadline for bestillinger i tyskland var 23. December, mod den 20. I sverige og den 21. I Danmark.
  • Vi fik levering med DHL (mest udbredte pakke leverandør i tyskland) via Bring
  • Vi prioriterede det tysk marked hele året igennem
  • At vi fik ansøgt om “Trusted Shops”, hvilke gjorde at vi bla. fik styr på alle tyske regler, og derfor ikke blev rigtig sagsøgt. (designonline blev sagsøgt og tabte 500.000 SEK ved deres lancering i Tyskland)

Hvad vi gjorde forkert

  • Vi forsøgte selv at gøre SEO og SEM inhouse, hvorefter vi outsorced det til en svensk virksomhed. Først da vi skiftedet til Tysk SEM partner fik vi vores adwords rigtig op at køre. SEO dele gav også en Google penalty
  • Vi troede det ville være nemmer end det var
  • At vi ikke ansatte en tysk manager, med det rigtige netværk til det tyske site

Hvad du bør tænke på

  • Er der andre markeder som er nemmer at gå ind på først?
  • Har jeg råd til at tabe en million kr, eller to?
  • Kan jeg få det rigtige personale til at lancer i Tyskland
  • Har jeg virkelig produkter som tyskerne ikke kan købe i en tysk butik i stedet (fordi det vil de hellere)

Var det værd at gå ind i Tyskland? Nok ikke i forhold til hvor nemt det var at gå ind i Danmark og Norge. På sigt kan tyskland sikkert blive en god business, men hvis valget er mellem at gå ind i Danmark, Norge og Tyskland, så er Tyskland ifølge mig sidste prioritet.

Jobb på
Rapunzel of Sweden söker:
NordicFeel söker:
Market Manager NO/FI/DK
Bangerhead AB söker:
Country Manager Norway
E-Commerce Manager till Röhnisch söker:
E-Commerce Manager till Röhnisch