Business Finland to fund international growth of companies in online consumer sales with 40 million euros. Experience Commerce -program's kick-off seminar is held in Helsinki 5.9.
The consumer business is undergoing a transformation. Anyone can sell anything to anywhere in the world. Through digital channels, it is possible to discover niche customer segments with globally significant potential. For Finnish businesses, the D2C (Direct-to-Consumer) market presents enormous opportunities. In 2018, the global market for digital commerce was estimated at USD 2800 billion, and it is expected to still double in size within the next four years.
For online stores, the most significant competitive tool is customer experience. Customer experience forms the basis for customer satisfaction, loyalty and recommendations, which in turn translate to growth in sales. For this reason, customer experience has been raised as the key development theme in Business Finland’s new program, Experience Commerce Finland.
Elina Björklund, Member of Business Finland’s Board of Directors, is one of the architects of the new Experience Commerce Finland program. With Reima’s strong international growth, she has formed a strong understanding of the importance of customer experience to business.
“My advice is that all companies engaged in sales take up development of the customer experience as part of their agenda. In a time that emphasizes interaction and experiences, a deep customer understanding becomes an important success factor as all forms of shopping are ultimately based on feeling.”
“Customer experience stands at the core of business strategy. However, it is only after the customer is taken in by the strategy that the real work begins: mobilizing a customer-driven approach to all parts of business operations and touchpoints between the brand and the customer. Still, the end result is very rewarding, with brand loyalty and sales improving markedly,” Björklund explains.
Customers’ paths to purchases are becoming more complex, and the touchpoints that define customer experience more frequent. Developing a great customer experience therefore also involves companies that can offer technology, logistics, network security and payment products and services.
In developing the customer experience, the key is to identify the types of customers and determine what they consider meaningful at various touchpoints. Smart technologies allow customer data to be collected in much more detail than previously, for example. By analyzing data, we can develop and offer personalized and experiential online elements to customers.
“Smart technologies and data are essential to developing customer experience, but the real challenge is in the ability to see their true potential at all levels of the organization. Data analysis, data-based decision-making and 24/7 response to issues are the key. This entails a cultural transformation in retail trade, and is something in which Finnish businesses still have a lot to learn,” says Leevi Parsama, Senior Adviser and Partner in the program.
“One of the main goals of Experience Commerce Finland is to encourage companies to develop new business models, as well as promote cooperation across industries,” adds Aija Kalander, Head of the Program.
Clients of the Experience Commerce Finland program include companies that offer products and services to international consumers, brand owners, and technology, logistics and financial companies and research institutions that offer solutions for the sector.
The four-year program and Business Finland’s internationalization services offer a wide range of tools to companies in various situations and stages of growth. The program speeds up concrete development measures taken by the companies and supported by Business Finland funding. They may range from small-scale projects seeking fast results to long-term ecosystem projects that employ the help of research.
Business Finland will fund innovation projects in the program by a total of 40 million euros, and companies and research institutions are expected to invest a similar total sum.
There is no separate entry fee for the program. Detailed plans for the Experience Commerce Finland program’s content began on 1 August, and the program will be launched to companies on 5 September. A part of the program’s activities will be open to everyone, while others are subject to an entry fee or tailored for selected business groups.
The program is a part of Business Finland’s latest Consumer Business focus area, which aims to build consumer business into a growing export industry in Finland.
Aija Kalander, Head of Experience Commerce Finland program
aija.kalander (at) businessfinland.fi
040 555 1637
Sanna Piiroinen, Director, Consumer Business programs
sanna.piiroinen (at) businessfinland.fi
050 5577 935
Leevi Parsama, Program partner
leevi (at) parsama.com
040 528 9001
Business Finland is the Finnish government organization for innovation funding and trade, travel and investment promotion. Business Finland’s 600 experts work in 40 offices globally and in 16 regional offices around Finland. Business Finland is part of the Team Finland network. www.businessfinland.com