Five from Finland
Smart solutions for retailers
Finland is your one-stop shop for retail innovations.Adobe / Julia Bushueva
These five Finnish innovators equip both traditional and e-commerce retailers around the globe with smart solutions to optimise operations, improve profitability, engage with customers and enhance customer experience.
The retail industry is going through a rapid transformation driven by digitalisation and constantly shifting consumer trends, with many merchants falling somewhere between brick-and-mortar retail and e-commerce. It comes as no surprise then that the hottest innovative solutions are in high demand.
This Finnish quintet has found some clever ways to make life easier for both retail businesses and their customers.
Founded in 2005 by three researchers at the Helsinki University of Technology (now, Aalto University), RELEX has created one of the world’s highest-performing software for planning and optimising retail processes, including the supply chain, floor and assortment planning, promotion and markdown pricing, as well as workforce planning.
For over a decade, RELEX has been growing at a rate of 50 per cent annually, with investors taking note of its potential to dominate the global markets. Today, more than 90 per cent of the company’s turnover comes from outside of Finland, and, in late 2021, it was among the four companies to receive the Internationalisation Award granted each year by the President of the Republic of Finland as a recognition of global success.
“Finland has world-class expertise in technology. We have managed to harness this expertise to optimise supply chains, among other things,” said CEO Mikko Kärkkäinen. “The corona pandemic highlighted the importance of supply chain management and demonstrated how quickly companies must respond to changes. Improved management enables retail companies to reduce both waste and unnecessary transport while ensuring that the right products are available as promised.”
With headquarters in Helsinki and Chicago, Revieve is transforming global beauty, health and wellness commerce through cutting-edge technology. Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and computer vision, Revieve enables brands and retailers to offer highly personalised customer experiences that drive business results.
Revieve’s digital platform allows customers to discover products, routines and treatments tailored to their concerns and needs. For instance, the AR virtual try-on feature empowers consumers to try on cosmetics before they buy, while the AI skincare advisor uses a shopper’s selfie for skin diagnostics and replicates the in-store beauty advisor dialogue.
“What we do at Revieve is fully omnichannel – we can deploy across any brand touchpoint and both offline and online environments,” told CEO Sampo Parkkinen. “However, as e-commerce gains momentum even for hardcore brick-and-mortar players, deploying online (website or in-app) has thus far been the preferred choice.”
Today, Revieve has partners across four continents and 25 countries. As part of its strategic global expansion, the company recently partnered with Faces, a leading beauty retailer in the Middle East, and Myntra, India’s top e-commerce company. Moreover, Revieve is currently expanding its Japanese presence.
Listed as one of Finland’s best workplaces, Quuppa is the technology company behind the world’s leading real-time location system for indoor positioning and tracking. The solution has an increasing number of use cases in industries including retail, manufacturing, logistics, sports, healthcare, as well as safety and security.
When it comes to the retail sector, real-time location systems based on affordable Bluetooth tags bring about exciting new opportunities for fine-tuning shop performance. Quuppa enables retailers to keep track of their inventories, identify the most efficient shop layouts, streamline customer traffic, prevent shoplifting and much more.
Its approach has resonated well around the globe. Headquartered in Espoo, the company has set up offices in the US, Australia and China to better serve the growing clientele. The company’s ambitious growth targets are also backed by investors.
“We envision the value of location to be as clearly understood in 2030 as the value of connectivity is today,” said CEO Sammy Loitto. “Meanwhile, we are seeing more and more businesses leveraging location-based services for driving their everyday operations.”
Keeping in mind that modern tech-savvy consumers always compare prices before making a purchase decision, the Helsinki-based software company offers effective AI-powered price monitoring and price automation tools to e-commerce and retail companies to support their profitability. The idea behind Sniffie’s solution is simple and inspiring – every e-commerce company should be eligible for profitable pricing.
“Sniffie is best suited for companies that operate in price-intensive industries and resell products that are sold also by their competitors,” clarified co-founder and CEO Tomi Grönfors.
Selected for Google’s Accelerate your Growth Nordics programme in 2019, Sniffie is moving steadily towards its ambitious goal of growing internationally to become the most significant e-commerce revenue optimisation platform in the near future.
In retail, customer satisfaction measurement is critical as many shoppers tend to switch to a competitor after just one bad experience. Founded in 2009 in Tampere, HappyOrNot is a globally recognised expert in collecting instant customer feedback and turning it into valuable insights for businesses to drive efficiency, growth and profit.
HappyOrNot is particularly well known for its terminals featuring four smiley-face buttons – from the red and angry to the green and happy – for customers to press. In addition to physical devices, the company has developed a range of digital feedback-collecting solutions that work on smartphones and webpages using the same self-explanatory smiley reactions.
“Retailers can no longer keep their heads in the sand; they have to listen to their customers’ needs and adapt to fulfil them,” stated co-founder and executive vice president Heikki Väänänen. “By installing our technology and collecting sophisticated feedback data, a retailer can expect to see customer dissatisfaction decrease by 20 percent within the first year.”