New online trade expertise for Finnish businesses
Retail trade is undergoing a transformation as the boundaries between brick and mortar business and online trade are becoming blurred. Digital marketplaces provide a lot of business opportunities both in Finland and internationally.
‘Companies in retail business need a new understanding of digital marketplaces and the structures, operating logic and management methods of the ecosystems forming around them. Examples of leading and rapidly expanding online marketplaces can be found in Japan, the United States and Europe’, says Lasse Mitronen, Professor of Practice from the School of Business.
The Global Marketplaces research project has during the autumn worked with Finnish companies to put the research learnings into practice. In addition to retail businesses, the results of the study will also benefit the suppliers of goods and other partners in the value chain of retail trade, such as logistics companies and suppliers of information systems.
Brick and mortar businesses compete with online giants
At the moment, many online marketplaces are expanding to brick and mortar business, while traditional brick and mortar businesses are engaging in online retailing. The juxtaposition of big marketplaces and local webstores is inevitably getting more pronounced.
‘Marketplaces such as Amazon and Alibaba are challenging the traditional operators in retail trade. Because of the increasingly competitive situation, everyone must be engaged in online sales, even if it continued to be heavily unprofitable for them’, says Doctoral Candidate Mikko Hänninen from the School of Business.
The United Kingdom has traditionally been a leader in taking advantage of technology, for example, in the online grocery retailing. In addition, the ‘mindset’ in retail trade has become more and more customer-focused: investments are made especially in the customer experience and customer experience management.
‘We familiarised ourselves with the trends and technology of online trade at the eCom Expo in London. In the near future, there will be an emphasis on customer analytics, automation and the use of robots in retail trade and their utilisation is already advanced in the United Kingdom’, says Lasse Mitronen and continues: 'For example, the Westfield shopping centre uses Big Data to monitor the customer’s shopping trail for the duration of the entire shopping trip. With the information, traders may be able to form a better understanding of consumer behaviour.’
The results and expertise of the Global Marketplace project have been disseminated during this autumn in events such as an open seminar organised at the School of Business and workshops with the individual companies. The research project is funded by Tekes, Kesko, Posti, Unilever and Solteq.
Lasse Mitronen, Professor of Practice
tel. +358 50 3759 015
Mikko Hänninen, Doctoral Candidate
tel. +358 (0)50 3494666