The Swedish retail sector is making waves that go beyond the borders of this country in the far northern hemisphere. Combining an increase in output across all platforms, Sweden continues to export its unique blend of design and quality – putting its signature minimalist style firmly on the international retail map.

Once known solely for its high quality interior design, which has been sold into homes around the world through homeware retail giant Ikea, so too is the Swedish market expanding to incorporate other elements of the retail industry.

Managing to capture national spirit with global accessibility is no easy feat, and is something that clothing retailer H&M has consistently achieved. Building on the company’s reputation for quality everyday clothes, H&M was one of the first to merge high-end with high street in its designer collaborations.

These are just two examples of Sweden’s ability, despite its population size, to think big in terms of retail strategy. According to recent research by Lund University, the country’s number of multinational companies (MNCs) is the highest per capita in the world.

So what can companies around the world learn from the Swedish retail success story?

Having a clearly defined company image is key no matter which type of retail service your company offers, as it shows an understanding of the market you are selling to. Not being afraid to have a clear and distinct image makes your company more memorable and helps consumers understand what you specialise in.

Whether you are a small start up or already flourishing large company, recognising the importance of thinking beyond your market’s national borders is an essential element in creating a worldwide brand. Taking the step to launch your business on the global stage is vital in staking a strong hold in the retail sector, and the earlier in a brand or company’s lifetime that this is achieved, the better.

As for any business practice, the ability to communicate well is key. Creating and relaying information clearly and succinctly is a necessity in all elements of corporate operations, and in turn understanding when to distribute control of company workings for maximised effect can be instrumental in many aspects of the retail industry.

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