Domestic trade is in troubled waters. The recession makes consumers hesitant of their purchases and the overall atmosphere does not really encourage hysterical consumption. Shopping entities lay off their staff while simultaneously renewing their digital market places. Another major problem for domestic trade is foreign online stores. Online store giants like American Amazon and German Zalando are eating markets on books, electronics and clothing. What happens to Finnish street level shops and online stores when foreign giants sell the same stuff at a much lower price? In addition new players emerge constantly to the market. The Chinese Alibaba online store made a stock listing record in September where after the emission the company’s value rose to $ 25 billion. Alibaba has not yet started marketing in Finland but time will tell when also Finnish money starts to flow to Chinese accounts.
The Finnish online store cannot compete with price against foreign giants but they have three trump cards available. Here are three tips to keep money in Finland.
Speed of delivery
When a consumer makes a decision to buy a new book or a new home appliance they expect it to be at hand and in use immediately. These needs foreign online stores cannot yet fully satisfy. Many times you have to wait for months to get the product. Domestic online stores’ are not at all faster than foreigners by reputation. Amazon has tackled delivery problems by creating Kindle which allows downloading of an electronic book to be read immediately to support the bookstore and also by making prototypes of shipping robots. However, robots are not yet ordinary.
Finnish online stores should invest in delivery speed and create a reputation as the world’s fastest supplier. What would be better than a home appliance delivered to your home right after the purchase? What about a 24h service for clothes or books? Investing in delivery speed requires large organizational changes in several businesses or tighter partnership agreements, but it may become the rescuer of a Finnish online store in the future.
We just ordered headphones for our employees from a foreign online store (delivery in two days). We should not have chosen that online store because somehow the credit card details got in the wrong hands when making the purchase. Today we were amortizing the credit cards and making crime reports because of purchases made around the world worth of few thousand euros.
Nowadays an online store can be set up and running in few hours and with very little costs. In these quickly fudged “network kiosks” security can be a total mess as our case proved.
Large global online stores are quite hacker magnets. Sooner or later some cybercriminal can break into the most secure online store causing a bad bump in the company’s reputation (see Sony and Adobe). Because Finland is a small market we do not attract cybercrime in the same way as global giants. At least any major network hacking has not been reported. Finnish online stores could position as the world’s safest online stores. So, invest in security and reliability in your online store and you will differ from global competitors in the long run.
Level of service
Online store is a service. How do Finnish online stores serve their customers? How much have you invested resources in developing your service? Can your online store make customers smile? How does your service differ from other Finnish or foreign online stores? The service can be extended into every interaction and screen view in the online store. The Finnish Verkkokauppa.com started selling illustrations in charity purposes into its packages and got a huge reputation win through numerous press articles. Good service is made of small good things.