Expanding your eBusiness to the Finnish market - web shop localization

Kirsti Earl Written by Kirsti Earl - Feb 26, 2013

Puhutko Suomea? You don’t need to “speak Finnish” to sell your products or services in Finland. Expanding your eBusiness outside of your home country can present many challenges such as language barriers but also provide some excellent benefits. Check out these tips to help localize your web shop, enhance your customers shopping experience and increasing the chances of converting buyers.

Language barrier and Cultural Challenges

English is considered by many to be the universal language so providing your web shop in English is the least you should do to encourage customers outside your home country to shop at your site.


Remember that words can have different meanings in different countries. For example the word suspenders, Americans visualize the image on the left whereas Brits visualize the image on the right.

Or something closer to home, the word pulma in Finnish means a dilemma but in Estonian it means wedding.


Colors also have a positive or negative impact on customers. For example white in Western cultures symbolizes purity and peace but in Asian and Eastern cultures it symbolizes death and unhappiness.

According to this is Finland, English is spoken throughout Finland especially within the business community. But it is worth noting that even though Finns may be comfortable with English, not everyone speaks it and by only offering English as a language option you may exclude some potential customers.

If you decide to offer your site in Finnish, having the correct translation is crucial or you may unknowing offend a large number of potential customers. The use of a translation company can be of great assistance. A couple of companies that can assist you with translating your site are: ACC Global and Lionbridge.

Also worth considering is a customer support system that takes into account language and time zones. Check with your payment solution provider to see if they offer customer service support for your customers and if so what languages are supported.


measure converterInternational customers will have more purchasing confidence if they know where the products are coming from. If you are selling items from your home country, give a little history about the product and what makes it unique and worth buying.

Since measurements are not universal, providing a measurement converter, like the one below, can be an added benefit allowing your customers to purchase with confidence. This can also help reduce the return ratio.

Provide a currency converter. If all your products are listed in Swedish crowns, a Finnish customer will have trouble figuring out how much that Carl Larsson mug is really going to cost them.

You should also consider the payment methods you offer. Not everyone likes to pay using their credit card. In fact, Finns appreciate and prefer to buy using online bank payments. Check with your payment solution provider to see what payment methods they can offer you.


If you have shipping restrictions on specific products, let customers know already on the product page instead notifying them during the checkout process, which can lead to cart abandonment and customer dissatisfaction.

Have a dedicated page about shipping and specifically outline your international shipping policies.

Having a shipping calculation tool on the product page can be a valuable investment. This allows the customer to know quickly and right away what the product will cost to ship and increase customer satisfaction.

Use quality carriers and check prices before entering into any binding agreements. World recognized carriers like FedEx, UPS and DHL can assist you. If you are a Swedish merchant, local carriers such as Direct Link, Unifaun, and Posten Åland are worth checking out.

As you can see with some research and the right tools, you can attract customers from Finland, establish yourself as a trusted international company and boost your bottom line. We would love to feature a company who has successfully expanded their eBusiness to Finland. Email your story to me at (

Read also

Expanding your eBusiness to the Finnish market – facts and figures for Finland

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