Interview with Petworld founder, Denice Hagen

Denice Hagen, Petworld.no founder

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For most 15 year old Norwegian girls, life is spent in the great outdoors and socializing with friends. But not Denice Hagen, founder of www.petworld.no, an online pet store who at 15 years of age entered the Norwegian eCommerce market.

Now 19 years old, Denice is not only focusing on the growth of Petworld.no, but is also launching two new projects in the next 12 months.

This is a story of how passion, determination and an implement like hell attitude helped Denice create a 12+ million NOK per year online business.

For those who do not know you, can you briefly tell us about yourself?

My name is Denice Hagen, just turned 19 years old. Living in Tyristrand with my family, a small village in the countryside, approx one hour from Oslo. I am still going to school and this is my last year on high school.

How did you get started with Petworld.no?

Since I was little girl I have always been dreaming about sales and marketing. I got this wish fulfilled when I was 15 years old. I told my dad that I wanted to start an online store and he just laughed at it. Finally he said: “yes, we can try”, but he didn’t believe too much at the idea.

We didn’t know what to sell but the only business dad had good contacts in was in the pet business. So then we decided to go for a pet store since we could get the goods we needed to sell from wholesalers dad knew from before. It was very short time from when I had the idea to we opened the store, approx. three months.

We had no idea at all about ecommerce and no contacts in this business from the beginning.

Since dad didn’t believe in this project from the beginning, we started out with only one small box with goods and an old computer in our living room. I designed our first online store putted in inventory (which we didn’t actually had in stock). I opened the store and suddenly we were selling a lot of things to pets.

How did you launch petworld.no while still in school?

Before we started, we agreed that this should only be a hobby project since I was in junior high school and my dad had another job. It soon became clear that we did something right. We got a lot of orders, and dad had drive to the wholesalers almost everyday and picked up the goods we needed. And I was working on the campaigns, new products, Facebook and design in the evenings and the weekends. It was a lot of work, but funny and the store was growing fast and we worked day and night. After 5 months, dad had to quit his other job and starting full time in Petworld.no and he still do today.

In two months I will finish high school and also work full time in Petworld.no as well. And I can’t wait! The best is yet to come.

How do you promote the website?

We market Petworld.no in Facebook, newsletter, Google and some specialist magazines. In Facebook, we find channel to communicate with our customers and we like the idea of the customer can lead us feedback, ask the questions and sharing pictures of their beloved pets. I manage our Facebook page, which has over 12.000 followers, and I find it very exciting to work with.

Petworld.no Facebook account

Which marketing channels are the most important?

Google is a very important sources of traffic to Petworld.no. The organic search is of course the most important, and we work all the time to improve Petworld.no for the Google search engine. We are lucky to co-operate with a very good company who runs our paid Google AdWords. The ads we have on print in this specialist magazine is more for branding and with a long-term perspective.

Do you have any numbers you can share?

  • Website visitors are approx. 30-35.000 visitors per month
  • Marketing budget is approx. 70,000-90,000 NOK per month
  • We expect to sell for approx 12 million NOK ex. vat. this year

Petworld.no has been growing quite good. We started out with approx. 20-30.000 NOK and a little box of goods and an old computer in our family living room. Petworld.no has no bank loans or investors and the inventory in our wearhouse is paid for.

For young marketers in Norway, what would you suggest they focus on first when launching a new website?

Love what you do, stay focused and work very hard – nothing comes for free. I has dropped many things that young people take for granted, such as. parties and hanging out with friends on Saturdays nights instead I have worked with my passion and I do not regret on taking these choices today. And if you love what you do, I am sure it easier to get success.

What trends do you foresee in eCommerce stores in Norway?

I think in general eCommerce will increase a lot in Norway in the future. The customers are getting more used to buy their stuff online. Norway is perfect for eCommerce because of long-distances to physical shops. I think when the consumers are getting even more used to online shopping, this will also put new demands on the web shops like even faster shipping, larger assortment, better custumer service and of course not to forget that more and more visitors to web shops are now using their mobile phones.

Hopefully we will see new and better ways to shop online with our phones soon.

What are the 3 biggest tips/ advice you can share with young entrepreneurs in Norway who want to launch their own business?

I would say having a good and clear concept, make a good research on your future competitors, find their strong- and weakness and try to do your business better. A lot of work will normally pay off, but remember you’re not going to millionaire tomorrow. Be patient!

What’s next for Petworld.no?

We are continuing to do what we do today; expand the product range, offering super fast shipping and a good customer service which normally are open 7 days a week. We are launching a new and responsive site later this year and looking forward to make our shop even better to our customers. In the close future the customer will also find a wide assortment for horses, livestock and hobby farming.

Outside of Petworld.no, what else you do do?

Outside of Petworld, I have some projects underway. CarlMahon.com coming 2015, this store will be inspired by my Instagram account @interior123, which has nearly 400.000 followers. This account was created in January 2013 and it has grown fast. Beside CarlMahon.com project and Petworld.no, we will also launch a new online store this summer, Hundebur.no. This is an online store we bought a few months ago; the shop was in bad condition so we closed it the same day we bought it. We started to built right away and it soon finish.

Denice Hagen, Instagram

Conclusion

Launching a new business is not an easy feat and yet, at 15 years old Denice was determined enough to succeed.  It just goes to show what you can achieve when you stay focused. A big thank you to Denice for taking the time out to answer these questions. It’s been very inspiring.

For more information, you can connect with Denice on LinkedIn or visit Petworld.no.

Norway´s 50 most important e-commerce stores

A jury consisting of five profiled Norwegian e-commerce experts have picked out what they believe are the 50 most important e-commerce stores in Norway.

The jury:
jury

The Jury: Karl Philip Lund (t.v), Eric Sandtrø, Anne Murstad, Kenneth Dreyer and Ole Martin N. Evensmo

  • Karl Philip Lund: Leading online marketing and e-commerce expert. He´s an experienced speaker and he has worked with several successful companies (Enklere Liv, Netthandelen.no, Blivakker.no og Hurtigruten).
  • Eric Sandtrø: Managing director of Fjellsport.no and co-owner of Jollyroom. Founded and managed Komplett.no, one of Norway´s largest e-commerce stores.
  • Anne Murstad: interaction designer that has worked with e-commerce and digital channels for nearly 10 years. Prior to this she worked in sales and customer service for companies such as British Airways, Eurocard and SEB. In 2005 she started the online store fess.no, which won the “Newcomer of the Year 2006“.  She works at the Norwegian Postal service and Bring as business developer and partner responsible for e-commerce.
  • Kenneth Dreyer Passionate about technology, marketing and design. Organizer of ECommerce Day, partner at digital agency Inevo and part owner of a small shop.
  • Ole Martin N. Evensmo: Editor of Netthandel.no. Has experience with online shopping at several large and medium-sized eCommerce and multichannel companies.

Selection criteria

Defining Norway’s most important online stores is no easy affair and there is also no definitive answer. The criteria to get on the list has been an overall assessment where the jury looked at:

  • Revenue
  • Reputation
  • Ability to innovate
  • Ownership
  • Awards / honors
  • International focus
  • General impression

International online stores like Amazon.com are not on the list. The focus is  exclusively on stores that sell physical goods. Travel sites such as SAS.no, Norwegian.no, Restplass.no and Solfaktor.no are important sites, but they are not part of the list. Marketplaces like Finn.no and QXL.no have also been omitted. The focus is on the consumer market(B2C)

Here is the list of Norway’s 50 most important online shops

  • Apotek1.no: Apotek 1 is the first and largest pharmacy chain with a market share of about 45 percent , and todays pharmacies throughout the country . Opened Shop in 2011.
  • Ark.no: The bookstore chain ARK consists of more than 100 stores, the online shop ARK.no and a  reading app . Owned 100 % of the listed company Gyldendal ASA. If you shop ARK.no and choose their ” Click & Get ! ” Solution, so book you book and can then retrieve the selected store for an hour.
  • Blivakker.no: the largest pure online store in Norway in beauty and wellness. With effective marketing , good purchasing and selling prices , free shipping and great customer focus challenges the traditional physical cosmetics stores. Owned by Netthandelen Holding AS which owns Netthandelen.no and DrLykke.no .
  • Blush.no: Founded in 2009 and quickly became a contender for the big sister Blivakker.no . Owned by Komplett Group and investing heavily in Norway . Growing rapidly .
  • bokklubben.no Bokklubben.no 1961 was Norway’s first book club started . Today the book club book clubs of 8 , 3 series , online shops and bokkilden.no . It is the publishers Gyldendal , Aschehoug and Pax who own book club .
  • Brandos.no : Established in 2006 in Sweden , and established in Norway in 2008. Also present in Finland and Denmark. Brandos was autumn 2013 sold to powerful footway after struggling with bankruptcy ghost for a long time .
  • CDON.no : Scandinavia’s largest online store for music , movies and books. Seller also many other things such as kjøkkenuststyr and toys. Owned by the Swedish listed company CDON Group.
  • ClasOhlson.no : Launched in 2012 a new store in Norway and Sweden. Selling everything from copy paper to tools online.
  • Coolstuff.no: CoolStuff.no has existed online since 1999. They aim to offer their customers the ” coolest, prettiest and most innovative gadgets in the market .
  • Coverbrands.no : Cosmetics shop Cover Brands not match perfectly turnover Blivakker.no and Blush.no , but is a strong contender.
  • Dustin.no / DustinHome.no Dustin was founded in 1984. Started originally with mail order sales of colored disks. Have eventually evolved to become one of the largest online companies in electronics . Aim to be a complete supplier of IT products and services and has approximately 1,000 employees in Sweden , Denmark, Norway and Finland.
  • Elkjop.no: Elkjøp is one of the locomotives in the Norwegian retail and their online store is growing fast thanks to good interaction with the chain’s physical stores . Offering including customers to order online and pay and pick up in any store for two hours . One of the largest online stores. Owned by Elkjøp Nordic which is owned by British Dixons.
  • Ellos.no: Good old Ellos was founded in Sweden in 1947 , and existed in Norway since 1983. Most famous for its mail order sales, but selling now increasingly online. The range can be found primarily clothing and textiles , but also some in electronics , wellness , film and games.
  • Enklereliv.no : Easier Life is a Norwegian-owned chain with more than 30 shops and shop in Norway . Bet now in Sweden with online store Enklareliv.se and 7 shops . Is also present in Denmark online store Enklereliv.dk and one physical store .
  • Expert.no: Expert ‘ve had some difficult years , but now seems to have gotten a little bend on both their physical stores and its online store in the increasingly tough competition .
  • Flust.no: Flust.no is a continuation of online store loyalty program Trumf and has over 10 years experience in online shopping. Selling everything from kitchenware to children’s clothing. Flust.no owned by Norway’s largest trading house, Norway Group.
  • Footway.no : Swedish footway Group is very big in Scandinavia shoes. Bought in April 2013 Heppo of CDON Group, incorporated in the footway and strengthened its position in the Nordic market. In addition, the owner footway Group Brandos.no having bought the popular online store in autumn 2013. Shoes Sale online is the tremendous growth and is expected to increase from the current 6% to perhaps up to 30 % within a few years , predicts the owners of the footway .
  • Gmax.no : Gmax must endure to live in the shadow of XXL. On the web they’ll encounter tough competition from several strong players . The jury nevertheless believes that Gmax with their physical stores will eventually become a major player on the network.
  • Godtlevert.no: Finished dinner dishes where the ingredients and recipes supplied as a package , is becoming more popular amongst us busy Norwegians. Budgeting nearly 200 million in revenue in 2014 .
  • Gymgrossisten.no: Gymgrossisten is the largest supplier of nutritional supplements ,health products , fitness apparel and training gear. Owned by the listed Swedish company CDON Group. Among the contenders we find Proteinfabrikken.no .
  • HaugenBok.no: Turnover amounted to about 130 million in 2013. Started physical store as early as 1929. In 1997 they opened for sale of book content online, the following year opened the online bookstore with full search and product range . In 2009 they chose to focus solely on net and was Norway’s first pure online bookstore. In 2013 Haugenbok.no was voted best online store in Norwegian Kundebarometer examination and the total ended in fourth place in the survey that measures customer satisfaction and loyalty among 186 Norwegian companies . The shop is located in Lviv in Møre og Romsdal and proves that it is possible to conduct commerce at smaller places in Norway .
  • HM.com : Norwegians love Hennes & Mauritz ! Named Shop of the Year Bring in 2009 but a lot has happened since then . Carnegie Bank calculates that the company sells online for approximately 7.5 billion Norwegian kroner worldwide , equivalent to 5.6 percent of their total sales.
  • Ikea.no : The Swedish giant launched online store in Norway in 2012. It will be exciting to see what Ikea can get online soon.
  • inkClub.com: InkClub , including their mini – stores jerk club and battery club , is a leader in inkjet cartridges , toners , vacuum cleaner bags , batteries and similar supplies . Launched in the year 2000. Owned 100 % of the Swedish listed company Ica Group.
  • Interflora.no : In Norway consists Interflora of about 375 fagblomsterhandlere . They are members of Interflora Inc. , the world’s largest flower vendors.
  • Jollyroom.no : The shop Jolly Room sells children’s clothing and children’s equipment in Scandinavia. The company is based in Sweden , but with the complete- founders Eric Sandtrø , Jan Tore Kopperud and Ole Sauar owners. The latter is also the CEO of the company based in Gothenburg. Aiming for about 200 million in total revenues in 2014 and one billion revenue in the long term.
  • Kolonial.no: Started as late as fall 2013 , but the record created an enormous amount of attention paid to selling food online and their online store.
  • Komplett.no : Started selling online in 1995 and has since done very well . The largest online store with nearly 2 billion in revenue . Named Shop of the Year Bring in 2006 and 2007 . Owned by Complete Group.
  • Kondomeriet.no : Since 1989 Kondomeriet been a leader in the sale of erotic articles in Norway . In addition to the online store, 10 physical stores in Norway . 2nd place award in the ” People’s online friends ” by Bring and Post in 2013 , where nearly 13,000 voted for their favorite store.
  • Lefdal.com : Lefdal.com owned by Elkjøp Nordic. Living in the shadow of big brother Elkjøp, but still manages well in a tough electronics market .
  • Lekmer.no : Lekmer aims to become the market leader in Scandinavia selling toys online. Lekmer is headquartered in Stockholm and warehouse in Falkenberg , Sweden. Lekmer was founded in January 2006 and is currently owned by the Swedish listed company CDON Group.
  • Lensit.no: Claims at least saying that they are the market leader in Norway in sales of contact lenses online, but the market is bewildering and includes a sea of ​​competitors who Lensway.no , Extraoptical.com , Lensstore.no and Lenson.no .
  • Miinto.no : When you shop from Miinto.no order goes directly to your favorite store , which sends you the item directly. Miinto.no is rapidly growing with over 400 stores online and collect leading fashion environment in one place. Also available in Sweden , Denmark , the Netherlands and Spain.
  • MoodsofNorway.com : Clothing of the strangest shapes and colors . One of the few Norwegian companies with an international scope . Have both commerce and physical stores . Among other things named ” Company of the Year ” organized by Innovation Norway in 2013 .
  • Mpx.no : Owned by Complete Group and hence bad brother Komplett.no, but still one of the biggest online stores. Seller TVs , computers , photography , and much more in electronics .
  • Nelly.com : Nelly.com is currently one of the leading online stores for clothes for both women and men.
  • Nespresso.no: No advanced network solution , but has a simple and great mobile / tablet order which account for a large proportion of turnover. They opened the store first, then physical store . Also one of the few online stores that offer customers the ability to add multiple addresses to get the goods delivered either at work, cabin or home.
  • NetOnNet.no: Voted Norway’s cheapest online store of Hardware.no summer of 2011 and the second cheapest in the spring of 2012. Named ” year net favorite” under the direction of Posten and Bring in 2013 . Supplier mostly electronics.
  • Netthandelen.no : Netthandelen.no started with its first auction in 2002. Prior to that time Netthandelen.no was a regular store. The company started in 1997 , but in 1999 became the domain http://www.netthandelen.no registered. Owned by Netthandelen Holding AS which owns Blivakker.no and DrLykke.no .
  • Retthjem.no : Retthjem.no was originally started by ICA , but was eventually sold due to lack of profitability. Meetings increasingly tough competition from players such as Matnet.no Matbox.no , Supermarket.no , Matenhjem.no , 123levert.no and Kolonial.no
  • Siba.no : SIBA is one of Sweden ‘s leading household electronics. In a test of online shops conducted by the Times in 2012 was Siba.no voted best in test of 15 Norwegian online stores. Of the three companies that got dice 6 had SIBA best price, fastest delivery and the quickest return . Also voted ” Best Shop ” by Prisjakt.no its readers in 2013
  • Sportmann.no : The old mail order company has managed the transition to the digital world in a good way . They still have their catalog , but increasingly opt for online shopping.
  • Stormberg.com : StormBerg was named the year’s online store in 2010 and 2013 by Bring. Seller sports and Reducing use both online and through physical stores . Bet now also internationally.Stylepit.no : Stylepit.no owned by the Danish listed company Smart Guy. Among many foreign online shops selling clothes in Norway .Tretti.no : Tretti.no selling appliances and home appliances online. Big player in Sweden , but currently relatively anonymous in Norway . Owned by the Swedish listed company CDON Group.
  • Vinmonopolet.no : Vinmonopolet has evolved to become a specialist chain that many believe is among the very best. Substantial resources have been put into the opening of new shops, and eventually a popular online store.
  • XXL.no : the leading sports brand with both a popular online store and physical stores . Launched in 2012 also shop in Sweden. Challenged on the network of archenemy Gmax.no , but also a hundred other competitors , including Sportamore.no , Fjellsport.no and Oslosportslager.no .
  • Zalando.no: Zalando was established by Robert Gentz ​​and David Schneider in 2008, and its headquarters are located in Berlin , Germany. Started in Norway in 2012 and has quickly established itself as the leading players in the category ” Clothing and footwear “.
  • Zara.no : Zara is one of the largest international fashion companies. Owned by Inditex Group, one of the largest distribution groups worldwide. Opened its first store in Norway in 2006. The Norwegian online store was opened in 2011.
  • X – Life.no : Challenging the sports and fitness market . High turnover , creative marketing and skilled people.

Besides these 50 online shops , there are of course many others that are very important . Among online shops that did not reach all the way up , we find Adlibris ,Bildeler.no , Boozt.no , BR.no , Bubbleroom.no , Byttdekk.com , Cubus.no, Deal.no , Epla.no , Fjellsport.no , FotoVideo.no, Getinspired.no , Gina Tricot , Handysize.no , HifiKlubben.no ,Houseof.no , Illusion.no , iPet.no , Jernia.no , Kitchn.no , KomplettFritid.no , Ludostore.no , Onepiece.no ,Oslosportslager.no , Pixmania.no , Platekompaniet.no , Room21.no , Skittfiske.no , VNP.no , Magasinet.no , Rørkjøp.no , Lensway.no , Vita.no , Putfeetfirst.com , Royaldesign.no , Tilbords . com and Toysrus.no to name a few.If you disagree with the 50 online stores jury selected ? Feel free to use the comments below and tell who you miss and preferably who should give way . Preferably with a brief explanation .

See the list of Norway´s 50 most important stores here