Major project to boost e-exporting by Danish companies

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Only a handful of Danish companies use online marketplaces such as Amazon and Alibaba to sell their products, according to figures from Eurostat. A new research project wants to change this. The Danish Industry Foundation has approved a grant of DKK 8.8 million to fund a collaborative project between the Confederation of Danish Industry and CBS.

 
03/07/2018

Danish companies need to become better at generating exports via digital channels, including online marketplaces, which are essentially virtual shopping malls – digital meeting places open to buyers and sellers 24/7.  

According to Statistics Denmark, only a mere two percent of total revenue generated by Danish companies comes from online sales abroad, since only one third of Danish companies operating digital sales sell abroad. Consequently Denmark ranks 26th in Europe, trailing behind Greece and Croatia.

One of the aims of the new research project "E-exporting via online marketplaces" is to establish a platform to facilitate IT integration for companies through sales on Amazon or eBay, for example.

"In the project we will tackle the principal challenges faced by Danish businesses when selling via global marketplaces. We want to build a platform and gather relevant knowledge to make it easier for Danish companies to utilise the benefits offered by global marketplaces", says Professor Jan Damsgaard at CBS' Department of Digitalization.

In tandem with the establishment of the platform, various publications, guides and templates will be developed for companies to assess the business potential and opportunities of these marketplaces.

Danish companies must be able to navigate new sales channels
The Danish Industry Foundation believes online marketplaces offer considerable potential.

"Online marketplaces are very prominent on the digital landscape and can be an avenue into export markets. That's why it is important for Danish companies of all sizes to be able to navigate this type of sales channel," explains Mads Lebech, managing director at the Danish Industry Foundation.

An opportunity with multiple challenges
The challenge for many Danish companies is that they lack knowledge about how these marketplaces function in practice. This was the experience of Jesper Christensen, CFO at the wholesaler Dacapo Stainless A/S:

"There may be potential in sales via online marketplaces, as they have customers and also structures that could be of interest to us. It's just difficult for us to precisely evaluate this potential, as our knowledge about these marketplaces is limited. We simply don't have the concrete knowledge or tools to draw up a business case to assess this channel the same way as other sales channels. What's more, we’ve tried to set ourselves up on Amazon but had to abandon our efforts because it was too complicated IT-wise," explains Christensen.

Removing obstacles
The new collaboration between CBS, the Confederation of Danish Industry and the Danish Industry Foundation will equip Danish companies with the know-how and skills to make qualified decisions about the extent to which they wish to boost sales via online marketplaces. The companies will be given tools and methods to assist them in making an active choice and establishing themselves in online marketplaces.
 
"We need to remove obstacles to enable Danish companies to use online marketplaces. Qualified knowledge is the key to companies being able to make the right business decision. Online marketplaces are a competitor, but also offer great potential to Danish business and industry. That's why we welcome the Danish Industry Foundation's involvement in this project," says Annette Falberg, a managing director at the Confederation of Danish Industry.

Through its call for proposals with the theme "New digital business models", the Danish Industry Foundation has granted DKK 8.8 million in project funding.

Read an article on the grant at Finans.dk (in Danish only)

For further information contact:
CBS Professor Jan Damsgaard
CBS journalist Matilde Hørmand-Pallesen

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The page was last edited by: Communications // 03/07/2018