In early October, Prior Consulting released their report, and at the end of the month Itella’s presented their Attraction of E-commerce study. Few days ago Taloustutkimus published their survey, which examines the changing relationships between Finnish consumer and e-commerce.
Based on these results we can present some interesting – though not necessary so surprising – findings that also give hints of the future prospects of e-commerce in Finland.
- There is a clear heavy user crowd for e-commerce. One third of Finnish online shoppers spend up to 80 per cent of the money in e-commerce. Up to half of the e-commerce euros are spend by a super-active seven percent group of consumers.
- There are differences between age groups in attitudes towards online stores. Unsurprisingly, young people, who have grown up during a time when online shopping has been common, are more open towards new purchase and delivery methods. Older people with long e-commerce experience are more open-minded compared to their inexperienced peers.
- There are also differences between average male and female shopping patterns. Women and men tend to have their own different favorite stores. Women in particular order clothes, decoration items and trips; men, in turn, spend money on consumer electronics.
- People living in apartment buildings generally welcome the idea of lockable downstairs storage boxes into which e-commerce orders could be delivered.
- The competitiveness of Finnish online stores in the face of international competition has been discussed during the last couple years. It seems that Finnishness and familiar brand are more important to first-time online buyers, but as people become more experienced shoppers most of them are ready to order also from foreign online stores.
- The most active segment of online buyers commonly use smartphones and tablets for making purchases.
- People with positive attitude towards online shopping are willing to buy almost anything online. On the other hand, making expensive purchases, such as a boat or a house, based on a web page does not, naturally, inspire so many people.
- People turn to physical stores when they want to try out the product, or see how it looks or feels. Another reason for offline shopping is the perceived lack of online personal customer service.
- As time goes by, the portion of active Finnish consumers with online ordering experience grows and the number available purchase and delivery methods will increase. This means that e-commerce will most likely continue to grow in Finland.
- Online shopping with mobile devices is also likely to increase in the future as the technology is adopted by more and more people.
- Customers appreciate good customer services, so focusing on the customer experience can still be a good competitive advantage for a Finnish online store. One of the studies found that nearly half of Finns feel that physical stores offer better customer service then their online counterparts.
- Online merchants should also consider the possibility of using new technical solutions to enhance the visual appearance and virtual “concreteness” of their products to enhance the e-commerce experience.
- By focusing on customer service and positive shopping experience online stores can try to transform inexperienced first-time buyers into loyal customers straight from the get-go.