Internationalization in retail - Challenges and possibilities in Finland
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School of Business | Master's thesis
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AbstractThis study examines the internationalization of foreign retail companies. The focus is especially on the challenges and opportunities presented in the Finnish retail market. The main objective of this research is to create an overview of the factors affecting internationalization. Another objective is to create an overview of the possibilities offered by the Finnish market and look into the challenges of the market. Research on internationalization is extensive, however it has not been previously studied from the point of view of the Finnish retail market. During the past decades internationalization has been gaining more momentum in retail business. All retail markets are unique and therefore country-specific findings cannot be copied to other markets. The retail industry itself has been constantly developing and therefore it is necessary to create new frameworks to support expanding. The internationalization process includes several factors, such as motives, requirements and challenges. Essential parts are also seen to be market selection and choosing the foreign market entry mode. This is a qualitative study, which uses semi-structured interviews as a data collection method. Eight interviews were conducted with nine interviewees in total. The interviewees were all retail professionals and five of them worked for Nordic retail companies. After data collection, the data was coded and analyzed utilizing the framework. The findings emphasize that at the moment the retail industry is seen to be at a turning point and there is uncertainty about the next trends. The role of buying behavior was highlighted as well as the possibilities of e-commerce. There are possibilities for foreign retail companies in Finland due to the low amount of retail companies present in the market. However as the findings show there needs to be some changes and the main focus point should be to better promote Finland and the possibilities the country has to offer. In order to attract foreign retail companies to Finland it is necessary to focus on the strengths such as the high purchasing power and not on the isolated location, which seems to be one of the weaknesses of the market. Based on the findings, this study provides a framework for internationalization that can be used and further developed.
retail, international expansion, global expansion strategies, internationalization, market entry