Optimising customer experience in the Nordics

Consumer confidence

Confidence and trust are often one and the same. This is no different in theNordics and particularly where a foreign brand looks to trade into the region.In the main, most barriers to purchasing online / cross-border are the same in any country. What we do see though are subtle differences. Swedish consumers seem to be more trusting than Finnish ones, but they also differ on what factors provide this confidence.

The following graphic shows that in Finland at least, there is still a lot of reticence to share personal data, such as an email address, with a business.

Figure 36: Finnish consumer attitudes to exchanging their email address for promotional offers. Source: Fonecta / IROResearch / emarketer 2015

Buzzador, a Nordics-based, community product review website surveyed its user-base and found that, across all Nordics, a friend’s recommendation was the biggest influencer when choosing a brand to shop with. Danish shoppers were particularly influenced in this way while consumer opinions and expert reviews also ranked highly.

Figure 37: Factors impacting a customer’s choice of brand. Source: Buzzador user survey 2014

On product recommendations, it is widely acknowledged that consumers trust other consumers before brands. As the price point increases, so does the value of customer reviews. Danish consumers regularly look for customer-generated reviews before making a purchase. The majority of Consumers in the other territories also make use of customer reviews as part of the decision-making process. For an international brand, user-generated content should be another ‘hygiene’ factor; another standard element of the customer experience providing trust to the international customer.

Table 7: Customer use of online reviews before making a purchase over €57. Source: Buzzador

A 2014 survey by Bring highlighted security as the most important consideration for consumers shopping online, particularly in Norway where 79% of shoppers ranked this as their main concern. Simple payment solutions and clear product descriptions and images rank equally. Norwegian consumers also favour low prices over free returns, suggesting that ‘up-front’ savings are important and with the other elements above in place, returns would be expected to be lower. This might not hold true in all product categories however.

Table 8: Elements of an online service that affect a consumers decision to purchase. Source: Bring, 2014

The low importance of a mobile-optimised experience might be a surprise but other datasets show how this view has changed since when the survey was carried out in 2014.

Reinforcing concerns around simple payment methods, the following graphic highlights payment method availability as the biggest concern by respondents to a DIBS survey. The report also pulled out other key areas that impact the customer journey and conversion rates. Notable points include ease of registration, unclear terms and processing of the payment.

Figure 38: Nordic consumers common reasons for abandoning a purchase. Source: dibspayment.com research 2014

Many of these elements are common requirements for any online merchant, trading domestically or cross-border. For international businesses though, their importance increases as consumers look for additional reassurance before making a purchase.

While not specifically about the Nordics, the following data points taken from the Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey show some interesting trends for brands trading into Europe. As mentioned previously, another customer’s comments carry significantly more weight than information on a brand’s website. Customer-generated content also scores highly when compared to other channels. Adverts seen in some of the digital channels, such as mobile and social, score particularly badly in terms of trust. The benefits of both though come to the fore when they are combined with a friend’s recommendation on a social network.

Table 9: Global trust in advertising channels. Source: Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey, Q1 2015





Political and socioeconomic environment

Online and mobile usage

Online shopping behaviour


Trust and dispute resolution

Legal framework and regulation

Logistics and delivery

Finance and payment