Amazon’s European Invasion: Threats and Opportunities

This guest post comes from Shaun Bossons, Chief Revenue Officer for Trace One.

To grow beyond North America, Amazon is steadily expanding across Europe. While international sales account for 30% of the retailer’s total revenue, Europe is Amazon’s largest foreign market.

Amazon’s investments include 1,300 new warehouses, spanning the continent from Ireland to Romania and Turkey. To make Prime membership enticing, Amazon has strengthened its logistics and delivery infrastructure for fast service, including same-day (Prime) and 2-hour (Prime Now) deliveries.

Key European markets include:

  • Germany: Amazon is the online store on which Germans spend the most time. To meet demand, Amazon relocated a German fulfillment center to a new state-of-the-art facility.
  • UK: Amazon’s revenue is growing at its fastest rate since 2011 and will soon have Tesco in its sights.
  • France: French consumers can now use Amazon’s smart speakers, including Echo devices, and a French version of Alexa for conversational commerce.
  • Italy: Amazon announced $550 million in investments in Italy.

Threats of Amazon’s encroachment on European retail territory include its data mastery to personalize service and boost sales. Amazon may further influence consumer habits, so shoppers expect the speed, convenience, and simplicity of online and voice shopping.

Yet opportunities for existing European retailers include leveraging their brand trust, and long history of serving consumers and local suppliers. (Meanwhile, Amazon must still adapt to the continent’s diverse languages, customs, and shopping habits.) Also, retailers’ pervasive physical stores – which Amazon currently lacks – deliver immediate access to products, and multisensory experiences like the smell of heavenly freshly-baked bread.
To protect against Amazon, European retailers can adapt their private brands to their rich consumer insights to deliver innovative products linked to hot trends, including sustainability, organic and local. In addition, more European retailers are connecting with retail leaders to understand emerging trends, grow their network, and collaborate to boost private brand visibility.

Shaun Bossons, Chief Revenue Officer, Trace One

Shaun has been Chief Revenue Officer at Trace One since 2016 and before that served as Executive Vice President of Global Sales. Based in Chicago, IL, USA, he is a thought leader in the areas of Private Label Management, category management and consumer loyalty for the retail landscape.

Shaun has a deep background in retail optimization and collaboration, having worked in the industry for over 20 years in a number of executive leadership roles. During this time he has created, evolved and executed sales, marketing and partner strategies for a number of global, market-leading solution providers.

Previously, Shaun served as the Head of Apollo at Aldata Solution Oyj and as a key contributor to its Member of Management Council since 2009. Prior to that he served as Global Senior Vice President of Apollo Solutions Group at Information Resources, Inc. (formerly, SymphonyIRI Group, Inc.) and had growth, development, and management responsibilities for the IRI Apollo space management platform of retail optimization solutions.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.