From the beginning of next year, Dutch web shop bol.com intends to expand into fashion, anticipating the arrival of Amazon.
Looking for deals
Bol.com is said to have talks with various fashion brands, according to Dutch newspaper FD. Insiders mention G-Star and Tommy Hilfiger, but the latter brand has issued a denial that it is in negotiations with the online shop. "It is possible that we have been approached, but we are not one of the brands that bol.com plans to use", a spokesperson says to Dutch television channel RTL Z.
The fact that the Ahold Delhaize subsidiary is now also intending to sell women’s and men’s fashion has everything to do with the arrival of Amazon, experts say. After all, the American online giant is to open a complete Dutch online shop soon, whereas currently only books are sold through Amazon.nl.
Bol.com did not want to respond to the reports, but called expanding into the clothing sector "logical". After all, the largest online shop in the Netherlands already sells sportswear and shoes. RetailDetail founder Jorg Snoeck sees one big advantage that bol.com has and Amazon does not: at its sister chains Albert Heijn and Delhaize, bol.com already has physical pick-up points that could eventually accommodate fitting cubicles. In this way, it could save a lot of money on extremely expensive returns.
Retail experts are expecting a fierce competition to unfold in the Dutch online fashion market next year. In addition to Amazon and bol.com, it seems certain that Zalando will also take up the fight. Furthermore, the German Otto Group, through its subsidiary About You, has recently become active in the Dutch online clothing market. Observers believe that Wehkamp might become the biggest victim of this showdown.
Sacha Buyck, the manager of bol.com for Belgium, is one of the speakers at the RetailDetail Night on 28 November. Will he shed some further light on these new plans at that time? Only one way to find out…