What do you need to know before you enter the Finnish market?Finland is a country where the first-ever mobile phone payment was made - and it happened in the year 1997! It was an SMS transaction for a vending machine with Coke products in Helsinki. In the same year, a Finnish bank called Merita Bank introduced mobile banking, and in the same time period, the first GSM standardized connection was made. Then, the sales of digital content such as phone ringtones became amazingly popular. Since the Finnish e-commerce market skyrocketed in the Nineties, it should not come as a surprise that Finns are equally engaged nowadays. Finland is a country whose population is currently a little more than 5.5 million inhabitants. Additionally, it has one of the highest levels of Internet access Worldwide. According to Postnord, 97% of Finns have a direct opportunity to use online services, and almost half - 49% - do regular shopping through the Internet at least once a month. Isn’t it a bit of a surprise? The majority of those transactions are cross-border ones, which means they are finalized in online shops located out of Finland. This brings benefits for your business if you are thinking about entering that market.
How much money does the average Finn spend online?Even back in 2012, the difference between Finnish behavior and that of other nationalities - especially that outside of Scandinavia - was clearly visible. While the average household within the EU spent €1696 on online shopping in 2012, Finnish households spent €2821! (data: the European B2C E-commerce Report 2013. Ecommerce Europe.) This trend has remained visible. As I mentioned before, the Finnish market is more mature and static than many other European markets. However, interest in e-commerce has grown by 20% during the last 5 years. What’s more, according to data from Statista.com, it is estimated that in 2022 more than 4.1 million users will shop online. [caption id="attachment_13683" align="aligncenter" width="750"] source: https://www.eshopworld.com/[/caption] It is worth mentioning what kind of consumers Finns are. They are very engaged and keen to buy various products on the Internet: even trips from travel agencies, for example. While in many other countries, clients prefer to visit a brick-and-mortar travel agency to buy a holiday despite researching it online on many websites (it causes the ROPO effect). Finns focus a lot of their attention on ecology, so details like the method of packaging matter a lot to them. There is a need to implement pro-environmental solutions, such as RePack - reusable containers. How does it work? The courier (or post) delivers a parcel to the customer, and the latter returns it as a proof of delivery. Varusteleka or GlobeHope are such companies that decided on implementing similar solutions. You should definitely follow them to win some loyalty and trust among customers in Finland.
Finlandia – characteristics of the e-commerce marketIf you want to create a persona for your Finnish expansion, take a deeper look at statistics telling you how Finns use the Internet and the search engine- what and how much they purchase and whether they are a good target for your business. We said that they are really engaged customers. Why did we say so, and what do they do on a daily basis? Let’s take a look at one infographic... [caption id="attachment_13685" align="aligncenter" width="750"] source: https://www.eshopworld.com/[/caption] How old is the average Internet user? To be fair, almost each age group uses the Internet. 70% of 60+ years old Finns use the Internet on a regular basis. It shows how active Finnish society is. It’s high time to find out how they spend money, what payment methods they use, and to prepare the best Search Engine Optimization strategy accordingly.
What do Finns focus on while shopping on the Internet?Finnish society takes into account while shopping and choosing the right store online. The main role is played by the price, obviously, but following that are factors related to UX or UI: transparency of information, easy access to all of a website’s features, or an advanced search engine. If you are thinking of entering the Finnish market, you can’t just disobey all of the aforementioned aspects. Even though the market is very open and Finns willingly buys foreign products, you have to suit their needs and requirements: especially to stand out from British and German competition, whose services and products are the most used by Finns. [caption id="attachment_13687" align="aligncenter" width="521"] source: https://blog.wakeupdata.com/[/caption]
Payment methods in FinlandTo achieve success, you actually need to draw your attention to a fairly simple thing, which is payment methods. How do Finns pay? Which options are worth putting on your website? The first place is taken by credit or debit cards (38%), second is Postpay (27%), 18% of people use SEPA or direct payments, and 3% are divided into some other payment methods including Paysafecard or eWallet.
Finland vs other Scandinavian countriesE-commerce in Finland works really well relative to some Southern countries in the EU. However, in the North the competition is especially fierce, since Scandinavian countries are really active in the area of e-commerce. Finland doesn’t shine brightest compared to them. In 2017, Sweden spent €11.4b, Denmark €11.3b and Norway €10.9b, while Finland spent “only” €8.5b and so a little less than the others. However, it does not change the fact that it is an interesting market for many foreign online shops. We would like to remind you that Finns are really willing to buy products from other markets, and stable, balanced growth in the area of e-commerce is a good signal for those who are thinking about entering the Finnish market. If you want to know a bit more about SEO process in Scandinavian countries, we encourage you to read our articles about SEO in Norway and SEO in Sweden.
What do Finns buy - online vs offline sales?If you are planning to enter the Finnish market, you should know which industries may be the most rewarding for your online shop. According to the Finnish Commerce Federation, the leading industries in terms of the proportion of sales made online are technology - 27% - and fashion - 26%. Next, you should look at zoological or hobby shops, then cosmetics and care products. The last three highlighted elements are home accessories, car parts, and books. According to another set of data, you can see that a lot of Finns invest their money in traveling. [caption id="attachment_13689" align="aligncenter" width="600"] source: https://minun.posti.fi/[/caption]
Finnish language in search engineThe Finnish language is not the easiest nut to crack for Google search engine. The very first problem is Finnish suffixes: one word can represent a whole phrase. For example, “in the car” - three words, translates to Finnish as “autossa”. Even in other languages than English, the phrase “in the car” consists of more words, while in Finnish there is no separate phrase for this.
The suffixes problemThey can cause a problem as follows: if you are trying to write a Search Engine optimized article, Google may treat different forms of the word “car” as different keywords. Autossa (in the car) and Autolla (with the car) can be put in different categories. This is why it’s extremely difficult to write a natural Finnish article that, at the same time, will be appropriately optimized. How to solve this problem?
- Check which phrases have the highest volume and choose words with those suffixes that reach the largest audience.
- Remember about being natural and despite the constraints, try to write in an attractive way. Don’t let your reader think that SEO is more important that their reception.
Long, long words…Perhaps for some people, it won’t come as a surprise… You need to remember that some long Finnish words can often make creating mets descriptions or titles harder. The number of characters (or pixels, according to Google) available to be used is not changing, but the grammar itself can turn out to be troublesome. How to sort it out?
- If the words themselves are too long, resign from suffixes. They increase the length..
- There are some words in the Finnish language that can come in handy while creating content for search engines. They are short and concrete (e.g. buy, search or fantastic).