Amazon’s Swedish language website has been blighted by translation problems, but what does it mean for businesses that want to use the channel?
Late last month (28 October), the online retail giant launched its Swedish language store. After some embarrassing translation mistakes were pointed out, sellers have had time to reflect on the ecommerce giant’s entry into Sweden.
Before the launch, people in Sweden could shop on Amazon via the UK or Germany, but had to pay high delivery charges and there is limited product availability.
“We are pleased to open the doors for Amazon.se and offer Swedish consumers a selection of more than 150 million products, of which tens of thousands come from local Swedish companies,” said Alex Ootes, vice-president for European expansion at Amazon. “[This] only marks the starting shot for Amazon.se, we will work hard to win the trust of Swedish consumers by building on the product range, keeping prices low and offering a comfortable shopping experience they can trust.”
Like the opening of a new physical shopping centre, distributors are flocking to the gigantic market aimed for Swedish customers.
Alexandra Dornérus, business development manager at Swedish e-commerce giant Ellos Group, said the company’s investment with Amazon supports its European expansion.
“We continuously evaluate external sales channels,” she said. “We already sell our own brands on other e-commerce platforms in the Nordic region and Europe, and we have seen a strong development and reached even more customers.”
Ellos Group sees sales on Amazon.se as an opportunity to reach new and more customers both in and outside the Nordic region.
“The fact that Amazon has entered the Swedish market will drive ecommerce development in general, which we and other players in the market have in common interest.”
She said selling on Amazon from a technical perspective is broadly the same as against most other ecommerce sites.
Could this be a big step forward?
Computer Weekly spoke to Pierre Magnusson, head of ecommerce for a healthy snack developer Nicks. The company has its own online sales channel but has used Amazon’s sites in other European countries for several years, which he said this has been profitable.
“This gives us more dimensions and opportunities in the long run. We have to be where the clients are, and this has been especially important during the Covid-19 pandemic, when users stay home and less time is spent in physical shops,” he said.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic, where online sales have increased significantly as lockdowns forced physical shops to close temporarily, has accelerated ecommerce.
”It’s probably been in the works for Amazon for a long time, but seemed important and was brought forward because of the circumstances this year,” said Magnusson.
Becoming a seller
On the process of becoming a seller on Amazon.se, Magnusson said: “More or less anyone can be a reseller on Amazon.se. Everyone from big companies to private individuals. You need to register and within specific categories and a permit to guarantee the quality of the sales process.
“Some see this as ‘demanding’ and prefer to stay away, but should you opt to do it, it’s normally not a problem. Amazon has also many regulations which are sometimes hard to fulfil. Should a reseller not oblige they can be turned off.”
He said Amazon uses metrics to observe this. “This concerns both quality of products and security of deliveries,” said Magnusson.
Magnusson said it was important for Nicks to get on the Amazon.se site early to start working on skills. This includes building listings and learning how to trigger search algorithms. “It’s possible also to get on later on but first mover skills are always good to reach – especially should you have a mixed bag of goods”, says Magnusson.
“In Sweden, Amazon sees us as one of the success brands of this country with localised know-how. We help them localise Amazon.se,” he added.
Another Swedish company that favours Amazon is underwear manufacturer Miss Mary. Jörgen Sandström, a marketplaces manager at the company, said Amazon is already important for sales outside of Sweden, and it has no complaints.
”We haven’t experienced technical problems,” said Sandström. “At Amazon they are usually very fast and helpful if we have technical questions. We hope that Amazon.se will be just as important a partner for Miss Mary here in Sweden, our own home market,” added Sandström.
A retailer’s digital checklist for a post-Covid world
- Click and collect to give customers more delivery options and to encourage in-store spend on pick up.
- Endless aisle to give in-store customers visibility of all available products from the online catalogue.
- Remote shopping assistants using video technology engage online customers.
- Appointment booking to alleviate bottlenecks at busy periods in store.
- Digital wish lists which can be accessed in store.
- Virtual try on of clothing to prevent online returns.
- In-queue engagement and virtual queuing to prevent long queues to enter stores.
- Mobile point-of-sale payments to alleviate in-store checkout queues.
- Inventory accuracy to allow online shoppers access to in-store stock and in-store customers access to online stock.