Consultancies showing how to sell like the Swedes

Swedish consultancies springing up to get Danish retailers in touch with customers

Upwards of ten Swedish marketing consultancy companies have opened branches in Denmark in the past year, many advising on a field that is new in Denmark but old hat across the Øresund: loyalty.

The questions arise: what is attracting Swedish consultants to the Danish market, and why is the Danish corporate sector buying in?

High demand
Kaplan RM, one of Sweden's top CRM and loyalty management firms, is one of several Swedish bureaus and consultancies to have recently opened a branch in Denmark, along with firms like Talilify, PlayAd, Widespace and Relevans.

Nikolaj Nørgaard, the CEO of Kaplan Denmark, the Danish branch of Kaplan RM, explains the growing importance of knowing your customer. “There’s a high demand in the Danish market for consulting on customer loyalty,” he said.

Get back in touch
“Historically retailers knew exactly who their customers were. If you think about the local greengrocer, he would greet his customers personally and know what kind of products they usually buy. But as companies have become bigger and bigger, they’ve lost touch with consumers.”

The main tools at the disposal of the modern retailer to ‘get back in touch’ with its customers are technologies that integrate between point of sales and digital touchpoints. Nørgaard described a consultancy process as comprising an assessment of where the client already stood on loyalty, followed by the implementation of a platform to gather and aggregate data. The platform can, for example, be a system whereby customers present a loyalty card when making purchases.

According to Nørgaard, companies like his fill a niche that is otherwise inadequately catered for in Denmark. “There are other consultancies that can provide general management consulting and IT consultancies that can implement some of the technical aspects of managing customer loyalty, but Denmark is in a maturation stage when it comes to loyalty,” he explained.

Loosened legislation
For many years, legislation in Denmark concerning the gathering of data by retailers has been highly restrictive. It has been loosened for some years, but according to Nørgaard, loyalty consulting is still in its infancy in Denmark.

By contrast, Swedish companies have a long history of such programs. “Sweden has 30 years of experience in this field that native Danish consulting companies just can’t compete with,” he said.

Successful like Sweden
An example of a company that has been helped by Kaplan in Sweden to successfully incorporate a loyalty program is the department store chain Åhléns.

“It is a very large company with a turnover of several billion Swedish kroner per year,” Nørgaard stated.

“When we started it had no loyalty program, but over the course of 15 years  it has built it up so that today 68 percent of its revenue is through its loyalty scheme.”