Bol.com marketplace guide

// Contents

Commercial Info
How to request an account + costs
Channel features
Channel setup
    Specific Bol.com settings/configuration
    Setup
    Categorisation
    Mapping
    Pricing
    Listed products
LVB (Logistiek via Bol)
Channel-specific F.A.Q / issues

// Commercial Info

Active countries: The Netherlands + Belgium
Monthly visitors: ~ 15 million
Commission: Fixed + percentage  (~15%, depending on category)
Payment: 21-28 days
Product categories: 16 – Media, electronics, toys, etc.
Input language (title + descr.): Dutch
Input currency: EUR
Content creation: Yes

ChannelEngine bol.com marketplace information

// How to request an account + costs

To start selling on bol.com you first have to create a business account at bol.com. More information on creating a business account can be found here (Dutch).

If you are a direct bol.com supplier (1P), please contact your customer success and we will add our bol.com supplier integration. This is a separate plugin next to the bol.com plaza plugin.

While bol.com is mainly an ‘open’ marketplace, there are requirements that should be met before creating a business account and being able to sell products via bol.com. The most important requirement is that your company is registered in the Netherlands or Belgium and you possess a registration at the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel (NL) of het Handelsregister (BE)). A German or French company, for example, therefore can not sell products via bol.com, unless it’s also registered in the Netherlands or Belgium.

If you possess a business account or are able to create one, the following requirements are also of importance:

  • Do your products fit any of the existing categories that bol.com offers?
  • Do your products have an EAN (GTIN) or ISBN number?
  • Is it possible to deliver orders within 1 – 8 working days?
  • Is it possible for your customers to return a product within 14 days, should they desire this?
  • Are you able to answer questions of customers within 24 hours?
  • Do you meet the service levels that bol.com requires?

Please note that products such as food (with the exception of coffee and tea) or gift cards are not allowed on bol.com.

Do you meet all of the above-mentioned requirements? You can convert your business account to a seller account here.

// Channel features

Supported Not supported (yet)
Product offers (EAN-matching) Purchase external fulfillment ("pakketzegels")
Product content Product variations (sizes / colors)
Product status import Pickup point delivery
Orders
Cancellations
Shipments (including carrier-mapping)
Returns (channel & merchant)
External fulfillment (LVB)
Repricing
Fee reductions

// Channel setup

Setting up every channel in ChannelEngine follows the same steps/flow:

// Specific Bol.com settings/configuration

/ Setup

Once a seller account is active, the required information that ChannelEngine needs can be found in your bol.com account. Note: the steps below are needed for the API V3 authentication (OAuth, so you can simply use a one-time 'Authorization' button in ChannelEngine).

ChannelEngine
  1. Go to your bol.com channel in ChannelEngine.
  2. Once in your dashboard, go to 'Setup' (Instellingen).
  3. Click on the 'Authorize' (machtigen) button.
  4. Log into your bol.com account. Note: if you have multiple accounts, please make absolutely sure you login with the correct credentials. If you accidentally (re-)authorize the same account for multiple bol plugins, you will receive duplicate orders.
  5. Click the blue 'Toestaan' button to give permission to connect your bol.com account with ChannelEngine.
  6. Once this is done, the previously 'orange' Authorize button should become green and change to the label Reauthorize.

Verifying access in Bol.com (optional)
  1. If you wish to verify that ChannelEngine has indeed OAuth access to your bol account (and to which one), Log into your bol.com account.
  2. Once logged in, go to ‘Settings’ by selecting your account name in the top right corner > ‘Instellingen' (Services).

  3. Select the option 'API instellingen' (API settings) in the 'Diensten' (Services) section.
  4. Scroll down to the 'Authorized parties' section. Please make sure ChannelEngine is on the list of authorized parties.
  5. If you haven't entered information regarding the technical contact and haven't agreed to the Bol API Terms of Service yet, you can enter this information now. As most likely ChannelEngine is the technical contact regarding the API-connection, you can just fill in our information and agree to the API Terms of Service.
ChannelEngine
  1. Next to the OAuth there are no other absolutely required settings in order to export offers and import orders to and from bol.com. 

  2. However, if you want to use advanced options like repricing and the product data export, more settings are required which are listed below:
    • Notify overdue orders after x hours - because Bol.com will automatically cancel orders if they exceed 3 days after the expected delivery date, this setting can be used to trigger a notification/warning if x hours have passed since the original 'expected delivery date' and the order is not yet marked as 'Shipped'.
    • FTP username - if you want to create new content or update you will need access to bol.com FTP-server to submit content files. More information on how to request Bol.com's FTP access can be found here. The username usually has a name like 'PLAZA_100000' or 'P_100000'.
    • FTP password -  if you want to create new content or update you will need access to bol.com FTP-server to submit content files. More information on how to request Bol.com's FTP access can be found here. The password usually is an 8 character alphanumeric string like 'Pa55W0rD'.
    • Seller number (for repricing) - this is your bol.com seller number. If you want to use the repricer functionality for bol.com, this is needed to mark your own seller number so you aren't seen as a competitor when retrieving prices.
    • Open API key (for repricing) - bol.com does not supply competition prices through their regular API. For this a different API (the open API) is available, but this requires separate access with separate API keys. Because it is impossible for us to request and manage hundreds of these keys, you will need to request your own access. More information on requesting an open API key can be found here.
    • Default commission amount (for repricing) - commission information for products is retrieved and stored if available by bol.com, however, if it isn't you can still use a default commission amount to use during configuration of the repricer. This can be of use when determining your minimum price for example.
    • Default commission percentage (for repricing) - commission information for products is retrieved and stored if available by bol.com, however, if it isn't you can still use a default commission percentage to use during configuration of the repricer. This can be of use when determining your minimum price for example.
  3. There are also some 'hidden' settings which are not directly visible for users but can be managed by ChannelEngine:
    • Disable FTP calls - This setting determines if we use your (content) FTP credentials or if we use the default credentials when fetching offer reports from bol.com's FTP server. With invalid credentials, the offer import will fail which also affects the offer export resulting in possible issues.
    • Close pending shipment after amount of days - this option is only applicable in case you have LVB orders and the import is enabled. Because LVB orders are based on shipments and these are known to change / shipments are added at later dates, this can cause problems regarding accurate orderline totals. If the 'pending fulfillment order' system is used (see option) below, the value set for this setting is used as the number of days an order is kept in the background, before it's finalized as an actual order that can no longer be edited.
    • Use pending fulfillment order flow - by setting this option to 1 we will hold back LVB orders for the number of days that are configured in the previous setting.
    • V4 Content Enable - this setting is to enable / disable the usage of bol.com's new V4 content API.
    • Token information - this is where OAuth authentication token and token information is stored.
    • Disable stock reservations - this setting determines if the stock reservation bol.com can perform on 'open orders' is disabled or not.

/ Categorisation

Categorisation is only mandatory if you want to create or update existing product information on bol.com. Please note that categorisation and mapping will only result in updates if the content connection is enabled and the relevant credentials have been entered (see 'Setup' section). More information on requesting a content account for bol.com can be found here

In this overview, you map your own categories to the bol.com product type. 

Please note: these product types are not maximally specified and generic product types. Later in the 'Content mapping' section for that product type, you can specify the exact item category. For example: in the 'Categorisation' an item is a 'Travel Suitcase' (Reiskoffer) and in the Content mapping this is mapped as a 'Trolley Briefcase'.

/ Mapping

Content:

To create new content or update existing content, you will need to 'map' the required attributes. These required attributes consist of 4 fixed attributes in ' All products' which means they are shared across all product types:

  • Beschrijving (Description) - the product description for your product. This field accepts limited HTML input, you can see here which HTML ags are allowed.
  • Hoofdafbeelding (Main product image) - the main image of your product. Please note that there are requirements in both size and background for your main image.
  • Interne referentie (Internal reference) - the reference id for your product. This is a different 'interne referentie' as is used for your offers (there it is always the MerchantProductNo as is known in ChannelEngine) and has no real added value, but still, bol.com marks it as required.
  • Productnaam (Product name) - the name/title of your product.

Next to these 4 fixed attributes, there will also be required attributes per selected product type available for mapping by selecting the name in the 'Content mapping' screen. 

To take 'travel suitcases' as an example, this has 9 additional required attributes such as the number of wheels, the target audience, the size, the color, etc. which also need to be mapped. If a required field is missing data, it will not be exported to bol.com (as they would reject it).

Please note: Bol.com does not process product information in real-time. The content file is added to a queue after which individual parts are processed by separate systems. This means that for example a simple text attribute can be updated within an hour, but images, for example, are checked if they are complying with multiple requirements. So please take a minimum of 24 hours processing time into account before contacting about product content not being updated. 
Also, please note that supplying content to bol.com is in no way a guarantee that that will be the content that bol.com will use. If something is considered a 'core' product content will never be overwritten, in scenarios with multiple sellers bol can decide to use the content they deem 'best'. More information on this can be found here.
Offer:

There are 3 required offer mappings and 2 optional offer mappings for bol.com.

Required

  • Fulfillment override - this setting is used to mark if the fulfillment of a product is done by bol.com (LVB), by the merchant or "Automatic". More information on switching fulfillment can be found here.
  • Price before (re)price rules - this attribute is the price that is used for exporting to bol.com (regardless if price rules or repricing are applied later).
  • Shipping time - this is the shipping time exported to bol.com. Please note that bol.com uses a specific format, so mapping to their exact values is required. Important to know: the shipping time you set is in working days. However, bol.com will always display the delivery time in regular days on its website. A product submitted with a shipping time of “24uurs-22” which is shown on a Saturday, will have a delivery time shown of 1 to 2 days instead of ‘delivered tomorrow’ (which is shown on a weekday). This 

Optional

  • Condition - this is the state / condition of your product. Unless you sell refurbished or used products, this can be left at the default value 'Nieuw'. Please be aware that the condition together with the EAN on an offer, is what makes an offer unique (and can not be changed on an existing offer).
  • Shipping costs - Bol.com has a requirement that a seller can not charge separate shipping costs for ordered products. However, you will most like have separate costs for the shipment not included in the regular product price. If you have these set on a specific attribute, you can 'map' this so these shipping costs are added to the exported price.
    Warning: If you have 'Shipping costs' mapped in the offer mappings, please do not also add a price rule to add the shipping costs to your price. This will result in 'double' shipping costs, making your product prices most likely priced too high.
  • Quantity discounts 1 - 3 min. qty / price - this is where you can set up several levels of volume or quantity discount. The minimum quantity is the quantity at which the price per item for that level (which you set in the price field) has to be applied. Please be aware that the min. quantity has to increase each level and the price per item has to be lower each level. More information on how to set these quantity/volume discounts up can be found here.

Product family

In case you want to 'group' certain products together (so the other variants can be selected from the same product page), bol.com requires them to be marked in the same " product family". Bol.com does not offer a completely automated option (yet), you can now create product families in a few easy steps through the bol.com backend. 

A guide on how to insert these product families can be found on our website.

Carrier:

Bol uses a specific list of carrier names / tags, so carrier mapping is required (or at least strongly recommend). If you submit an 'unknown' carrier (method) we'll automatically convert it to 'Other', but this is unadvised for tracking purposes. 

Please note: Bol.com still uses PostNL's old carrier designation - TNT. Please map whatever name (PostNL, Post NL, PNL, Post.nl) you use for your carrier name to TNT. If your carrier is not listed, please use 'Other' as the shipment method. Don't forget to fill in a Track&Trace number, this is mandatory for almost all carrier tags, with the exception of 'Briefpost'.

/ Pricing

Bol.com is the only channel with 3 different tabs in the 'Pricing' section of the channel:

  • Price rules - you can / use price rules and currency conversion (only needed if you use a different default currency) the same way as for other channels. Please refer to the help article on setting up price rules / currency conversion for more information.
  • Reprice rules - you can use our repricer to dynamically change your prices based on your competitor's prices and set scenarios / rules. Configuring the repricer is rather advanced, so please consult our help article on how the repricer exactly works. Also, please note that in order to have the repricer fetch competition prices, at least 1 bol.com open API key is required. You can find more information on bol.com's open API and how to request a key here.
  • Fee reductions - these are (possible) reductions of the fee you pay bol.com for every order / transaction, if your sale price is below a certain threshold. More information on what these fee reductions exactly entail can be found here. Use our fee reductions module to get an overview of the products eligible for fee reductions, their current price, and the maximum price in order to be eligible for the reduction. More information on how to work with the fee reductions can be found in the help article on fee reductions.

/ Listed products

In the 'Listed products' section you can see the status of a product, what we exported and the response from the channel. More information can be found in the help article on listed products.

Please be aware: with the introduction of the V3 API, all exports have become even more 'asynchronous' than was the case with the V2 API. This means that it will take a while (up to 1-2 hours) before the actual result of an offer update is visible in the ListedProduct section. If the orange warning triangle is still visible, be aware that the feedback is older than the latest export so it doesn't necessarily reflect the current status on bol.com.

// LVB (Logistiek via bol.com)

Bol.com offers the possibility to store your products in their warehouse and handle the logistics of the delivery. We support the creation / pre-registration of fulfillment shipments. Check the website of bol for more information on these ‘Logistiek via bol.com’. Through this part of the ChannelEngine web interface, you can (pre-)register a shipment of items you want to place in bol.com's warehouse to be sold as 'LVB'. 

Fulfillment shipments

Via the 'fulfillment shipments' functionality in ChannelEngine you can register a shipment of items you want to ship to bol.com's warehouse. 

You can find the option in the ChannelEngine dashboard  Products > Fulfillment shipments. A guide on how you can configure products for ‘LVB’ can be found here. Please be aware that this is a multistage system and bol only excepts the registration of incoming stock if the offer is currently marked as 'LVB' (even if the current external stock is 0).

// Channel-specific F.A.Q / issues

/ Common errors

There are multiple 'common' errors we get questions about, which are handled in individual articles: