Bol.com is now one of the largest webshops and marketplaces in the Netherlands and Belgium. They have over15 million visitors per month and more than 50,000 sellers. But how do you sell on bol.com and what exactly do you have to do to get started?
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Bol.com as a marketplace
More than 12 million products are sold on bol.com within hundreds of product categories. Bol.com is known for its wide variation in categories and many consumers in the Netherlands and Belgium regularly order via bol.com.
Despite the fact that bol.com once started as a webshop for books, they gradually expanded their product catalog and did delivery themselves. Since 2011, bol.com has transformed its webshop into a platform where other sellers can offer their products. We call this a marketplace.
Bol.com is still the ‘holy grail’ for the Dutch webshop owner to gain more brand awareness or achieve more sales. But what exactly does that mean, selling on bol.com?
Business model of bol.com
One of the biggest advantages of selling on the bol.com marketplace is the business model. You have no set-up costs and only pay a commission per sale (CPS).
The commission is a fixed amount of €1.00 and a percentage. The percentage depends on the product category and can vary between 5 – 25%. Read here what the exact percentage is, in the product category of your preference.
Some webshop owners believe that the percentage is too high. Of course, this depends on the way you purchase products, the selling price and the competition in the market.
Bol.com as a marketing tool
Approach bol.com as a marketing tool, which you only pay for if you actually have sales. After all, the primary goal is to gain more brand awareness or achieve more sales. Both will result in more direct sales in your own webshop.
Would you rather pay a Cost Per Click (CPC) for Google Ads or would you rather pay a commission at bol.com? A combination of both would of course be perfect 😉
Start selling on bol.com
Let’s start selling on bol.com, by creating a seller account. For this you at least need a Dutch or Belgian Chamber of Commerce number.
- Create a seller account at bol.com
Go to https://partner.bol.com/sdd/registration/start and create your seller account. You will receive a verification code by post within 3 working days to the address you provided during your registration. NOTE! You cannot immediately start selling on bol.com.
- Activate your seller account
Once you’ve received the verification code, you’ll need to enter it to activate your seller account. You do this by logging in via https://login.bol.com/login?client_id=gatekeeper.
- Set up your store details, financial data and return settings
Before you can actually start selling, all formalities must be completed. The bol.com seller account walks you through all the steps.
- Start selling!
All done? Then you can immediately start selling. But what do you need to be able to sell products via bol.com?
This is what you need to sell on bol.com
A valid EAN/GTIN code
What is an EAN/GTIN code?
EAN is the abbreviation of European Article Number. It is the number that is often under the barcode of a product and has 13 numbers.
GTIN is the international variant of the EAN and stands for Global Trade Item Number. The number is also shown under the barcode of a product, however the GTIN has 14 numbers.
Why do you need an EAN/GTIN code for bol.com?
The EAN code identifies the product you want to sell. Bol.com determines the content of the product based on the EAN/GTIN. By content we mean images, descriptions, specifications, etc.
In addition, bol.com often has several sellers per product. The EAN/GTIN helps to prevent the same products appearing multiple times on the website. In that case, the sellers are all linked to that specific product.
What if I don’t have an EAN/GTIN code?
Normally you will receive the EAN/GTIN from the producer or supplier of the (existing) product. In some cases, however, there is in-house production or white label products. In that case, you must take care of purchasing new EAN/GTIN codes, which are also registered in the general barcode database of GS1.
Examples of websites where you can purchase official EAN/GTIN codes are:
Read the rules of bol.com
Bol.com offers many options for both starting and existing webshop owners. However, this does not mean that you can sell on bol.com without rules and conditions.
Each partner receives 100 policy points per year from bol.com. Policy points are deducted after a violation. Have you run out of policy points? Then your bol.com seller account will be (permanently) blocked. Examples of violations are:
- Self promotion
- Product and content deception
- Infringement of property right
- Delivery from outside the EU
And many other reasons that can result in a violation. To prevent this, read the bol.com policies carefully before making your products available via the platform.
There is general legislation regarding the online sale of products in certain categories. Europe has a so-called Safety Gate list for this, of products that may not be sold.
In addition, bol.com itself excludes products outside of the law. You must also adhere to this. Examples of this are:
- Products that contain fur
- Products where child labor is or is demonstrably used
- Products that have no functionality other than criminal
Plus a number of other obvious reasons why bol.com does not accept the products on its sales platform.
Finally, bol.com focuses on the consumer. Customer expectations are therefore an important element for bol.com. In principle, bol.com assumes that you deliver products that meet the expectations and delivery time. By means of returns and feedback from customers, it is checked whether your company meets up to these expectations.
If this is not the case, you will receive a notification that your product performs below the standard and you will have 48 hours to adjust the content of the product to reality. After 28 days, another evaluation will take place to determine if the performance has improved.
So make sure that your product content is correct and matches the customer’s expectations.
The brand and pricing policy of selling on bol.com
Register your own brand via bol.com
Are you planning to sell your own brand via bol.com? Then you have a number of challenges as a seller. As long as your brand does not meet the requirements below, literally anyone can (pretend) selling your product and profit from your success. It is therefore important in case of having your own brand, to have it registered at bol.com.
Brand guidelines bol.com
- The EAN code is in the name of the brand and is registered with GS1.
- The trademark is registered in the trademark register of BOIP, EUIPO or WIPO.
- The brand is visible on the original packaging of the product.
Bol.com pricing policy
How do you determine your selling price on bol.com?
bol.com focuses on fair sales prices through its platform. In concrete terms, this means that a sales price must be in line with the market and equivalent to that of the competitor. This pricing policy is independent of the policy that your manufacturer or producer may impose on you.
Commission reduction on bol.com
In addition, bol.com rewards sellers who offer the “perfect price” with a commission reduction. This means that bol.com advises a price that is perfectly in line with the market and compared to the competition. If you decide to use this price, you can sometimes even halve the commission that you have to pay too bol.com for every sale on that product.
In this way bol.com stimulates a fair price for the consumer, which also leaves the seller with sufficient margin.
Sell on bol.com and an own webshop?
Bol.com WooCommerce plugin
Have you decided as a result of this article that you want to start selling on bol.com and do you also have your own webshop aside? Then it is necessary to automate all processes. There is a lot at stake with multiple sales channels.
- The stock must be updated in real time;
- Orders must be processed from different platforms;
- Pricing needs to be streamlined;
- Content must be equivalent across all sales channels;
- I could go on like this for a while.
Ideally, you have (fully) automated all these processes, so that you no longer have to worry about them.
WordPress, WooCommerce webshop with bol.com
Does your webshop run on WordPress with WooCommerce? Then take a look at our bol.com WooCommerce plugin. You can literally automate all processes and set up your WooCommerce webshop as the basis for all external sales channels, such as bol.com.
You seem crazy not to use bol.com as an additional sales channel. 15 million visitors per month is immense and can give you a nice budget to reinvest in other marketing purposes. In addition, you will have no risk, since you only pay when you have sold something.
That’s a no-brainer right?