The world’s biggest online retailer has opened a Swedish store after years of preparation. Small Nordic retailers are bracing themselves for an uncertain future.
Following many years of speculation, the U.S. giant finally confirmed plans to open a Swedish language store earlier this year. Swedish customers could previously shop on Amazon via the U.K. or Germany, but often faced high delivery charges and a limited selection of products available with international delivery options. Now, Sweden’s population of more than 10 million will have a much easier time.
The new website at Amazon.se offers more than 150 million products across more than 40 categories. Products from Swedish businesses and thousands of European retailers will also be on sale.
Challenges ahead for Amazon
Success is by no means guaranteed for Amazon, however. The company has to deal with a new language, a different currency, and a relatively small population spread over a large area with different buying habits.
Amazon spokesperson Alex Ootes is naturally is naturally confident about the future: “We will continue to work hard to earn the trust of Swedish customers by growing our product range, ensuring low prices, and providing a convenient and trusted shopping experience.”
The impact on shopping in Sweden and beyond
The Swedish store offers free delivery on orders above 229 Swedish kronor ($26) on products fulfilled by Amazon. This has the potential to make a major impact on the online shopping scene in Sweden as free delivery in much less common in Scandinavia than in other parts of the world.
However, most media commentators in Sweden agree that physical stores will be more likely to feel the impact first. “Those are going to be the big losers. If you’re not already in a tough situation, you’re going to get one now,” said Pricerunner CEO Nicklas Storåkers earlier this month.
While delivery is not possible to customers outside of Sweden, Amazon is investing in a substantial logistics network. Earlier this year, logistics group Kuehne and Nagel told Reuters it was building a facility in Eskilstuna, a central location about 100km west of Sweden’s capital Stockholm. Such investment could ultimately ease the path to launching in neighboring Finland, Denmark and Norway.
In an opinion piece for The Local, tech entrepreneur Sïmon Saneback said that Sweden is a real catch for Amazon and it could ultimately “shake the entire Nordic market” with its approach to online retailing. “Nordic culture is quite Americanised and it would not be surprising if, in a few years, Amazon’s ecosystem becomes part of common life,” added Saneback.
Source: Forbes – Business