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Written by Petri Koskinen 
Head of Payments in Finland, Collector Bank

First, let’s start with the good news.

Finns’ enthusiasm for shopping online is growing explosively. According to research by Paytrail, Finns spent as much as 8.5 billion euros in online stores in 2017. 84% of our population already makes online purchases, increasingly through mobile devices. B2B e-commerce is also on the rise; Collector Bank’s 2017 report on B2B e-commerce shows that seven out of ten purchasing companies use the internet as a sourcing channel.

But then the bad news.

So far, Finland has failed to compete successfully in the online marketplace. Finns have been making noticeably more online purchases when compared to their neighboring countries. So why do businesses merely stand by as money flows into online stores abroad?

Success stories do exist, but the concern is real. In addition to pressure from large foreign operators, Finland’s relatively small domestic market also brings challenges. Meanwhile, the internet offers new opportunities for internationalization and opening services for larger markets.

The courage to seize these opportunities must be found from somewhere. We at Collector bank believe that the best new ideas are born when influencing together. For this reason, we want to encourage merchants, customers and service providers to attend common events and share their own insights and experiences. For example, last November, we participated in Amcham Finland’s e-commerce event, where e-commerce professionals were invited to brainstorm concrete action-points for helping Finnish companies adapt to changing commerce. Three key success factors rose above others in the discussion:

    1. Finnish companies should stop thinking about competition and instead focus on loving their own customers. Love is a strong word, but companies must make sure that customer expectations are exceeded. That is how loyalty is born.
    2. Buying Experience. In addition to developing technical transactions in online stores, it is important to invest in the user experience. Brick-and-mortar businesses invest in customer experience, so why not online businesses? Even though e-commerce relies on fluency and speed, technology alone is not enough to get customers to return. New methods must be invented to make customers crave more. Believe it or not, this also increases customer loyalty.
    3. Buying online should be simple and fluid. Multi-step online transactions (e.g. filling the shopping cart, moving between pages, and inputting credit card details) should progress seamlessly. We continuously work with our customers, especially on these issues. In a system developed in collaboration with Collector Bank and Stadium, the customer’s social security number works as a membership card for the online store, and it’s also connected to the customer’s online bank. Your fingers are already itching to try it, right?

We at Collector bank believe that the best ideas are born when influencing together. Read more and discover our services at www.collector.fi