Brandsom Aug 14, 2020 2:59:50 PM 29 min read

Selling on bol.com | Explanation, tips and tricks

Do you have a store or webshop and/or do you sell a physical product? In that case, you can sell your products via bol.com. You will then benefit from name recognition and the popularity of the largest webshop in the Netherlands and Belgium. This might give you a lot of extra customers and sales. But you’ll have to do it right! In this article, you will find everything you need to know about selling as an external seller on bol.com.

About Bol.com

In 1999, bol.com was born. More than twenty years later, the online store has 10.5 million active customers in the Netherlands and Belgium. The webshop started as a small-scale online book store but has grown into a gigantic online department store.

At the launch, the range consisted of 140,000 Dutch books. Today, some 22 million items are sold, in more than 20 product categories, including books and e-books, movies, games, electronics, and toys. You will also find baby items and garden and DIY items, as well as everything to do with lifestyle, animals, sports, leisure, and personal care.

External sellers on Bol.com

Since 2011, bol.com has opened its webshop to the product range of external sellers. As an external seller, you can offer your articles to a large audience via bol.com. As a result, bol.com customers can choose from an even wider range. Retailers can increase their reach and thus their turnover via bol.com. And bol.com will of course benefit a bit as well; they receive a small commission per product sold.

Advantages of selling via Bol.com

Since the introduction of 'Selling via bol.com', more than 20,000 entrepreneurs have sold via bol.com. What are the benefits of selling your products through this online marketplace?

  • You increase your reach: more than 10 million customers buy via bol.com. About 2.5 million people visit the website every day.
  • You have no start-up costs. You only pay when you sell products.
  • Bol.com offers various advertising options to increase the visibility of your products.
  • You can link your bol.com sales account to your internal sales system.
  • Bol.com offers its partners services through the partner platform, where your questions will be answered, and you’ll get support and advice. Bol.com also offers services through events and the growth program.
  • With Logistics via bol.com, you can outsource the entire logistics process (storage, shipping, and handling of returns).

Start selling on Bol.com: checklist

Are you enthusiastic and do you want to sell your products on bol.com? Firstly, check whether you meet the following conditions:

  • You are registered with the Chamber of Commerce or the Belgian Trade Register and have a Dutch or Belgian VAT number.
  • Your articles fit within one of bol.com's existing categories.
  • Your articles have a GS1 code (formerly EAN) or ISBN.
  • Your customers can return your items for free within 30 days.
  • You meet the bol.com service standards (see below). For example, you must deliver your products within 8 days and be available on working days between 09:00 and 17:00 for questions from customers.

Register as a seller on Bol.com: step-by-step

Do you meet these requirements? Then you can start selling your products via bol.com in four steps:

1. Create an account

You need an account to be able to sell on bol.com. This can be an existing private account, or you can create a new bol.com account for this.

2. Check and accept

Check carefully whether all information has been entered correctly. Read and accept the terms and conditions.

3. Confirm your registration

You will receive an e-mail with a validation link. Click on the link, log in, and fill in additional information such as your bank account and address.

4. Verify your account

You will receive a letter with a verification code to the address where your company is located within three working days. Once you have entered this you can start adding items to your webshop!

Apply for a Dutch or Belgian VAT and Chamber of Commerce number

Do you have a company outside the Netherlands and Belgium? Then you’ll have to keep in mind that you need a Dutch or Belgian Chamber of Commerce registration and VAT number to sell on bol.com. You do not necessarily have to be based in the Netherlands or Belgium for this.

Foreign companies that are not based in the Netherlands have the option of registering in the Dutch trade register if they are engaged in business activities in the Netherlands. Please contact the Chamber of Commerce for more information.

Barcodes for Bol.com products: GS1, EAN, ISBN

Products sold online - just like products in regular stores - need barcodes. These codes are a kind of 'passport' for your product. With this code, you can sell your products anywhere worldwide. There are two types of codes for selling on bol.com: GS1 codes (formerly EAN) and ISB numbers. You only use ISB numbers for books. For all other products, you use a GS1 code.

When your products do not yet have an ISBN or GS1 code, you need to request this from GS1 Netherlands. Visit the GS1 Netherlands website for more information.

Service standards Bol.com

To be able to (continue to) sell on bol.com, you must meet the following service standards as best as you can:

  • You must deliver your products within 1-8 days. Are you unable to deliver your products to the customer within 1 to 8 days? Then use Logistics via bol.com: storage, shipping and returns will then be handled by the webshop. (You can read more about Logistics via bol.com here).
  • A maximum of 2% of your orders can be canceled.
  • You must answer customer questions within 24 hours, in Dutch.
  • You must deliver orders on time (within the promised delivery time). This should work for 98% of your orders.
  • All your shipments must have a track & trace number.
  • You must process cancellation requests within 24 hours.
  • You must process returns within 24 hours of receipt.
  • You must be available by phone for customers on workdays between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM.

Tip: the better you meet the service standards, the higher you score within bol.com's algorithm. This means that your products will end up higher in the search results. This ensures that more customers see your products and that you will sell more!

Do you not meet all of these standards? Then you will first receive a warning. Note: If your score is too low, you can be thrown off the platform.

Logistics via Bol.com

As an external seller, you can also choose to outsource the logistics process. Your order will then be handled from A to Z by bol.com. These are the benefits of logistics via bol.com:

  • You can store your products in the warehouse of bol.com.
  • Bol.com arranges the processing, packaging, and shipping of orders.
  • Any returns are handled by bol.com.
  • Your customer will use bol.com's customer service: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • You automatically meet all bol.com service standards.
  • Your orders are delivered quickly, often within 1 working day. Select customers can sometimes have your products delivered the same day.
  • You use the large-scale logistics network of bol.com, which makes it easy to sell in the Netherlands and Belgium.
  • Your products will be shown higher in the search results and there will be more conversion.
  • All in all, you save time so you focus on what you are good at.

More sales on Bol.com: optimization tips

Selling on bol.com offers you as an entrepreneur many opportunities to grow. The greatest opportunity lies in increasing your reach and thus attracting more customers. However, with more than 20,000 entrepreneurs from the Netherlands and Belgium who are active as external sellers on bol.com, the competition is fierce. How do you ensure that your presence on bol.com leads to more sales and more profit? Below we give you some tips:

  • Write interesting product descriptions and improve your product information (see below).
  • Consider search trends (see below).
  • Use high-quality images.
  • Keep your feed up to date.
  • Make sure you meet bol.com's service standards. Bol.com gives you a score for this: make sure that it is as high as possible.
  • If necessary, use the advertising options (see below).

More sales on Bol.com: improve your product information

Good product information ensures that your products are better found and sold more often. The product information helps the customer to form a good picture of his possible purchase. How you improve your product information:

1. Choose a clear title for your product. In the title, you fill in the brand of the product (if applicable), the model or type number, and the product group. Separate the various parts of the title with a hyphen. Use up to 70 characters (including spaces). Do not use full words in all caps, English words, different spellings or synonyms, or excessive adjectives.
2. Provide correct and complete product specifications. Fill in all characteristics that apply to your product.
3. Give a clear description of your product. Give the important details of your product and write promotional. A good description ensures a lower return percentage and a higher conversion.
4. Check the quality score of your product information. When you view an item in your sales account, you can see from the status what the quality of the product information of this item is. There are five possible statuses from "weak" to "very strong". The higher the quality of your product information, the easier your products can be found, and the faster a customer will purchase your product. So make sure your status is at least "strong".
5. Make sure your product description is unique. Do not exactly copy the description of your website. This ensures that your product page scores better on Google.

More sales on Bol.com: search trends

As a seller on bol.com, of course you want your products to score high in the search results. Because the higher you score, the more customers see your products, and the greater the chance that they will buy the product from you. In addition to improving your product information and product descriptions, responding to search trends can also contribute to this.

Search Trends is a new tool in the bol.com sales account. With this tool, you can find information about the search behavior of visitors to bol.com. You can also see exactly how many visitors use a certain keyword and what the trends are. With these insights, you can get more out of your sales, because you can better meet customer needs.

These insights can help you:

  • Improving your product information and the title of your product. You can match the title and description of your product as closely as possible to the words your potential customer is looking for. For example, you can decide whether to name your product a "coffee machine", "coffee maker" or "coffee dripper" by looking at which term is most searched for by visitors.
  • Spotting seasonal trends. The tool can help you better estimate when potential customers are looking for a certain type of product. This way you can better respond to seasons and emerging trends.
  • Product/market research. The search volume indicates how much interest there is from customers for a certain product type, of a certain brand, or in a certain color. You can adjust your product range accordingly.

More sales on Bol.com: advertising

Another way to generate more attention for your products on bol.com is through advertisements. You can advertise on bol.com in different ways:

1. Display advertising

Display advertising, also called banner advertising, is advertising with digital banners. This can be a banner on the bol.com website, or a banner outside bol.com, on another website, app or on social media.

2. Sponsored products

With Sponsored Products you can reach visitors to bol.com in the various purchase phases, where you can put your products in the spotlight. When a potential customer enters a search query on bol.com, he will see a whole list of results. Often the first page contains some sponsored results. With Sponsored Products you can therefore ensure that your products end up higher in the search results. You decide what you spend on the ad and only pay if someone clicks on your ad to visit the product page.

3. Online magazines

Bol.com offers various online magazines. In these magazines they provide information, inspiration and tips to (potential) customers of bol.com. There are magazines on various topics: style, tech, home, reading and kids. They use social media to find readers for the online magazines. You always purchase a magazine campaign in combination with a social media campaign.

4. Bulk moments and Sinterklaas

A so-called "Bulk moment" takes place three times a year for 10 days. During this campaign you can request a special media package, where you can even be featured in bol.com's TV commercials. There are also special advertising opportunities in the ten days around Sinterklaas.

5. Social advertising

Finally, you can also advertise with Touch ads on Facebook or Instagram. A social media campaign always consists of two phases: in the first phase, your ad is shown. In the second phase, people who have clicked on the ad are reminded of your product again through retargeting.

Automation via Bol.com

With Automation via Bol.com you can link your internal computer system and your Bol.com sales account, so that you can manage all your outlets for sale from one place. You can do this with an integrator.

An integrator is software that links your internal systems (for example: PIM, ERP, WMS) to your sales account of one or more marketplaces. This allows you to efficiently track and improve all marketplace-related matters. Think of: number of sales, number of shipments, stock management, returns, income, etc.

Especially if you want to sell on multiple marketplaces, it is wise to use an integrator. This allows you to save a lot of time and you have all the knowledge in one place.

Help with automation: integrators

To use an integrator, you need ICT knowledge. Do you not have enough ICT knowledge yourself to make this link? At Brandsom, we have experience integrating brands with all major integrators including: ChannelEngine, Productflow, EffectConnect, Vendiro and Tradebyte. We can therefore help you with:

  • finding the right integrator;
  • linking your systems;
  • and onboarding and mapping your products.

What does selling on bol.com cost?

Selling you products on Bol.com can bring you a lot, however there are also costs involved. We discuss these costs below.

Costs for an account

Let's start with the good news: creating and managing a sales account on Bol.com is completely free. Where at some other online marketplaces you pay a monthly fee for offering your products on the website, this is free at Bol.com.

Sales commission

You do pay a commission on the products you sell. This committee consists of two parts:

1. a fixed amount per product (fixed commission);

2. a percentage of the selling price (variable commission).

The fixed amount that you pay per product is usually € 0.83. For items under € 20, this is € 0.40 and for items under € 10, this is € 0.20. Different costs apply for some categories.

The percentage of the sales price that you pay to Bol.com is 12.4% (excluding VAT) for many items. However, here too, there are lower or higher percentages maintained for some categories.

Margins

Suppose you sell pet food. The product you sell costs € 25 including VAT.

What you have to pay to Bol.com:

Fixed commission: € 0.83 / product

Variable commission: € 12.4% of € 25 = € 3.10

Total costs per product: € 21.07

So of the € 25, you still have € 21.07 left. This is not yet your profit: you still have to deduct the VAT and your own costs. Before you start selling on Bol.com, it is therefore important to be aware of the margins on your products. Only when your margins are high enough, selling via Bol.com is profitable.

Optional: Logistics via Bol.com and advertising

Of course you pay extra when you choose Logistics via Bol.com, or when you use one of the advertising options.

Help with selling on bol.com

Are you interested in selling your products on Bol.com and could you use some help? Then contact us. For example, we can help you with:

  • the onboarding of your products via various integrators (automation)
  • improving your product titles and descriptions (optimization)
  • the successful use of the advertising options (advertising)

Contact us for more information.