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Norwegian retail chains are losing out to international competitors

henrik charlesen | Finansavisen | 2 january 2017

Read the article in Norwegian

PA’s Olav Lydersen, a retail expert, has been quoted in an article in Finansavisen discussing the findings of PA’s and Fit for Commerce’s (FFC)  omni-channel survey – in which 80 well-known retail chains were mystery-shopped and evaluated. The criteria for the benchmark were based on over 200 points of omni-channel best practice, covering the entire customer journey across mobile, web and in store.

Olav says: “We can see that half of the Norwegian population are using foreign online shops which is leading to a loss of sales to our international competitors.”

Olav believes this is due to the combination of a poor buying experience in Norwegian stores, higher prices, fewer products to choose from and customs regulations. Norwegian retail chains must therefore provide a better customer experience online to prevent foreign players from winning Norwegian customer loyalty.

The article highlights how Norwegian retailers systematically score worse than Swedish, Danish and British retailers on omni-channel maturity. Retailers in the UK and Sweden come out best with a maturity of 43 per cent, followed by Denmark at 38 percent and Norway at 32 percent. This means Swedish stores are better at using customer information available online and offer a greater variety of tools and services such as QR codes via apps.

Olav says: “Norwegian clothing chains Cubus, Dressmann and BikBok are far less digitally mature than the Swedish H&M. And we see the same in the building materials sector, where Sweden-based Byggmax is far better than Maxbo and Coop Obs Byggevare. It’s also clear from the study that Norwegian retail chains are charging different prices in store and on the internet for the same item.”

The article explains how Norwegian retail chains are poorer at using customer data and exploiting the use of social media. Many Norwegian online stores encourage customers to share products on social media with visible links to Facebook and Instagram but foreign competitors are better at actively making use of customer reviews, blog posts etc. In addition, Norwegian retailers exclude foreign consumers.

Olav concludes: “Only 16 percent of the Norwegian retail chains surveyed target foreign consumers on their website. The remaining don’t support multiple languages, currencies or ship internationally. Norwegian chains must recognise the market they are targeting is international, not local, and set a clear strategy across all channels the business wants to operate in.”

 
Thomas Bjørnstad

Thomas Bjørnstad, PA in Norway Connect Email

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