Partner with Bol.com or Partner with Amazon? Part 2
Bol vs. Amazon: Marketsizing
These two large sales platforms are popular among online entrepreneurs for a reason: they take a lot of hassle off your hands and, thanks to their high number of daily visitors, make it easy to bring your product to the attention of your target group. The same result is (almost) impossible to match with your own web shop, even if you try to be as present as possible on Google and social media. The basic difference between Bol and Amazon? Bol.com is only active in the Netherlands and Belgium with 15 million customers. Amazon sells to more than 300 million customers worldwide. An important question that you can immediately ask yourself when considering whether to sell via Bol or Amazon: do you want to launch your product mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium or do you see more opportunities on the international market?
Then let us have a look at the costs of selling on these two platforms. No, let’s be real. We do not say that Bol.com charges much less commissions, but Amazon demands $39/m per seller if they sell more than 40 products per month. This seems a little unnecessary, as normally the commissions are about equal, but for 40 products, the chance that a product sold for over 1$ already means you can afford the additional cost.
However, what many people do not know is that Bol.com always shows the commission prices excluding VAT (between 9% and 21%). This makes them appear lower than they are. In addition, Bol.com charges the commissions on the sales price including VAT. This means that the VAT that you as an entrepreneur must pay, is over-charged by Bol.com. In fact, you pay a partial commission for an amount that you do not receive.
In the end, all things considered, the difference based on commissions is not great. That is also not possible in an efficient market, because then everyone would rather choose only one of the two parties: the cheapest. And apparently that's not happening, right? Right!
Fulfillment by Amazon or Fulfillment by Bol
LVB, or delivery via Bol, is the option of Bol.com offers for its partners to not only be the marketplace, but also the one who packs your packages and sends them to your customers. This means that you are no longer at home dealing with inventory. Amazon offers the same service, called FBA, or Fulfillment by Amazon. They are the same types of setups, but there are a few snags on both parties.
You can easily outsource shipping and returns, order picking, packaging and customer service with these parties, but don't forget: everything at a cost! Bol.com is more tolerant with their storage costs for your products, which they store in Waalwijk. They only charge you for sold products. Parking in their department store should, therefore, become cheaper than Amazon's department stores. In addition, Amazon has only been in the Netherlands for a short time. That brings great opportunities! But there are also drawbacks. For the time being, FBA used to run through German fulfillment stores, because Amazon did not yet have a logistics network in the Netherlands. Nowadays, it has a network and logistical distribution center in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Also, each product and category, size and weight, come with different pricing measures. Luckily Amazon and Bol both offer calculators for these storing and order-picking costs, as the calculations are complicated and have all sorts of exceptions. To check what the storing costs would be for two identical products, check out their websites.
Want to know more about the differences between Bol.com and Amazon as sellers?