“Better be aware beforehand than quick afterwards”


A strong understanding of the intricacies of the Norwegian culture and subtleties of Norwegian etiquette, is essential for the success of your business in Norway.

It’s the same the world over, “people buy from people”, and Norwegians prefer to do business with people they trust. It does, however, take time to build these relationships.

Although egalitarianism is at the heart of Norwegian culture, the business culture is fastidious. If a deadline is agreed, stick to it, or at least notify clients well in advance of any possible delays. Adjustments of plans, meetings, quotes, all need to be discussed in good time.

Remember what your parents taught you about being polite? This is as important as ever in Norway, and will earn you the trust of your customers and partners.

Case study: Lidl supermarkets

Lidl is a divisive topic among Norwegians. Some argue it was a positive contributor to the Norwegian market, pointing to low prices and new products, yet many refused to shop at a foreign company with different values. The reason for Lidl’s failure could be down to their relationship with the labour unions, the unfamiliarity of their produce, or the notion that profit would be exported. In short, Lidl did not fulfil the needs of the Norwegian shopper and failed to position themselves with Norwegian values.

Case study: Topshop/Topman

With over 300 British and 50 international stores, Topshop failed to establish their three-story flagship store on Karl Johan, Oslo – as well as five other stores nation-wide. Although the Arcadia Group had signed a 15 year lease on a prominent property, another small shop in Bergen called Topshop, prevented the brand from using their globally recognised name.

Case study: Pizza Hut

Pizza is big business in Norway, yet Pizza Hut failed to succeed in Norway. Although Pizza Hut is one of the world’s largest fast food companies, they lost NOK 30 million before deciding to withdraw from the Norwegian market. The reason for this failure is a result of a number of factors, including fierce competition, price sensitivity, customer skepticism and preference for Norwegian-born pizza outlets.

Case study: Starbucks

Starbucks initially experienced insurmountable issues with regulations, resulting in eventual withdrawal. Yet in a country with the highest global coffee sales, this was too strong an opportunity to pass up, Starbucks are now underway with a more successful second attempt.

Other businesses that entered the Norwegian market but failed to succeed include: Marks & Spencer, Yahoo, NoaNoa, Jackpot, GAP and Habitat

Achieva can help your business enter the Norwegian market successfully and avoid some of the common mistakes and pitfalls.

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Achieva AS Bogstadveien 52 N-0366 Oslo Norway