Dutch bol.com has emphasised its expansion plans for Belgium by opening a new head office in Antwerp, where current and future partners can meet. By 2021, Dutch and Belgian partners will account for more than half of all sales on the platform that is part of retail giant Ahold Delhaize.
Fighting international platforms
The office, next to Antwerp's second railway station, will allow Belgian retailers and bol.com employees to meet, exchange advice and start collaborations. "An online store like bol.com is a heavy retailing machine, with a lot of technology to ensure our customers a personal experience", general manager Huub Vermeulen says. "But at the same time, it is all about cooperation: what we do together with the customers, but also what we do together with retailers. We believe that if you want to work together, you have to be able to look each other in the eyes and engage in a conversation."
The more than 20.000 Belgian and Dutch partners currently offer bol.com customers some 18 million different articles: "We see that partners' turnover grows a lot faster than our own turnover does", Vermeulen says. "We embrace that and think it is a great development, because these partners have a unique product range and a lot of product knowledge." That is why bol.com wants to "build a platform that is as strong as possible, also in order to fight the large international platforms."