215 Luxembourg businesses have subscribed to national ecommerce platform Letzshop
Shopkeepers in Luxembourg using Letzshop to sell online should also explore options with ecommerce giants, the country’s sales confederation general manager has said.
Earlier in June, Luxembourg small and medium sized enterprise minister Lex Delles (DP) issued a positive report on the local platform, saying some 215 Luxembourg businesses had subscribed.
Contacted by Delano this week, the Conféderation Luxembourgeoise de Commerce’s Claude Bizjak said Letzshop was a “good starting point for retailers that are still lacking a reasonable online presence.” But it was not a be all and end all solution, particularly when faced with the dominance of ecommerce rivals like Alibaba and Amazon.
“There is no way for Luxembourg to compete with these guys! But you can use their services in a smart way!,” he said, urging retailers selling a product with high added value to try out these other platforms and acquire new customers on the other side of the world. “You don’t need to put all of your products on these platforms but they are a sales channel, which should not be neglected.”
As consumer habits shift to online shopping, the online platform was created to assist Luxembourg retailers in the digital transition. Indeed some 13.7% of global retail sales was expected to be generated online, rising to 95% in 2040. Launched in mid-September 2018, Letzshop is a collaboration of the economy ministry, the chamber of commerce, CLC, Luxembourg City and 15 other towns and communes. Retailers pay €500 to ply their wares through the online platform, which also offers a transaction function.
Ten months into the project, retailers Delano contacted had mixed experiences. Harald Sven Sontag of fresh juice company Tuki said that while he found the Letzshop team professional and supportive, he has yet to receive a single order via the platform. “It’s true we’re selling fresh juice which is not the easiest product to sell on the internet,” he said. “I don’t think that Luxembourg residents have the reflex yet to look at Letzshop,” he added.
“People found us thanks to the website”
Angélique Supka, co-owner of concept store Unicorner, was satisfied with the accessibility of the platform for SMEs and the exposure it gives them. “We had people who found us thanks to the website because they were looking for a specific brand,” she said, explaining that known brands sold best through the platform. In future, she hopes to find a way to automate the uploading of products onto the platform.
According to Delles, the most sought-after products on Letzshop during its first nine months were drinks and books. Pedro Da Silva of Luxembourg bookstore chain Ernster confirmed books were proving popular. “I expected four orders per week, but we’re getting 4-5 orders per day,” he told Delano.
Ernster lists over 200,000 articles on Letzshop, a list which is updated automatically based on its inventory. The biggest win for Ernster was the fact that “80% of customers who order from us are new customers […] who never ordered from our site or shop before. It means that it attracts new customers,” Da Silva said. He believes the free delivery service Ernster offers for domestic orders was among the attractions. He suggested the best approach was to “propose a choice and an attractive price.”
Bizjak said improving the platform was a process of trial and error. “You need to test different approaches, keep what is working and change what is not. An online platform needs to adapt itself permanently to the needs of the customers.”