This is is a re-publication of the article/interview with me that was published on the aheadWorks blog on Februari 21st, 2013.
Since 2003 I was involved in several open source projects, doing mainly consultancy and some project management besides my Psychology studies. I started the online Dutch Joomla! community in 2004 and also organized national events for that community. In 2008 I came into contact with Magento and was really enthusiastic about it right from the start. Since people with webshops on Magento purposefully earn money with it (which is not always the case with a regular Joomla! website), budgets for developing Magento webshops are much higher, and thus, it is more interesting market.
I copied the Joomla! model to Magento and started a local online community, organizing national events and doing consultancy work.
Magento position in the Netherlands
Despite the economy being at a low point, eCommerce is still growing in the Netherlands. There’s a great interest in the Netherlands for Magento and related services. For instance, if you use Google Insights to track interest for “Magento” in the last 12 months, you’ll see the Netherlands on top.
The difficulty in our region is to sell outside the boarders of the Netherlands. International legislation, logistics and customers are often focused on buying from within their own country, and that can be a challenge for foreign eCommerce companies.
The great thing about the Netherlands is that the average wages are high and many people have access to 3 or more internet-enabled devices. Shopping online is a regular thing to do for a large percentage of the population.
If you want to open eCommerce business here, you’ll need to get into some local laws (for instance, currently our cookie law is much more strict than anywhere else in Europe) and offer the predominant local iDeal payment solution.
You also need to keep in mind that we only have around 16.7M residents, so if your business model requires scaling beyond that, you should be active in other countries.
Dutchento basis: people like to do business with people they’ve met in real life
Dutchento is Magento fraternity in the Netherlands. It feels like a natural extension of the online community we have. Once a year we bring together the brightest minds on eCommerce and Magento and show the greatest showcases. But more importantly people like to do business with people they’ve met in a real life. Dutchento is a catalyst of Magento business in our country.
We have been organizing events like Meet Magento NL for a couple of years and the organizational part is worked out well. The most difficult thing here is to battle rising costs on the one side and getting sponsors on the other. Despite eCommerce being on the rise, we do notice that sponsors are on a tighter budget than before.
Dutchento helps us connecting people. The most important part is to link the people who want to build a new webshop (or build upon their current shop) with the right Magento partners and third party service providers like e-mail marketing, payment providers, logistics, etc. The sessions we have during the day (around 25) and business marketplace are also meant to show visitors which party has the right credentials for their needs, and what are the best showcases in their branch.