Specsavers, a British Optics Chain, expanded its business into Finland in 2007. Only one year later Specsavers bought a major Finnish Optics chain “Tähti Optikko” to become the market leader in Finland. Specsavers has currently more than 1000 stores in nine different countries.
In Finland Specsavers looks for the potential of the market, not size. Finnish market is not the biggest one in the Europe but is still a competitive and interesting market area to an international company. According to Specsavers Finland has a huge potential.
"The size of the market is not so important to Specsavers - it is the potential of the market. Finland is a "hidden gem" in many ways. The country is often overlooked because of it's size and geography but it is a wonderful place to do business and there is phenomenal opportunity for us to play a part in bringing true value for money to Finns of all ages and income," says John Scott from Specsavers.
Specsavers has a challenging business plan in Finland. The intention of the company is to become the no 1 Optical retailer in Finland.
“We are also willing to become a household name, respected for its quality of professionalism and products as well offering highly competitive everyday low prices”, John Scott tells.
“The opportunities are just beginning as we offer the chance to independent and chain opticians all over Finland to join our rapidly expanding network which will exceed 50 stores this summer", Scott continues.
Easy country to do business
Finland is known as a country that welcomes foreign companies to expand their business. Finland offers lots of different kind of help and services to international companies that are interesting to setting up a business in Finland.
"Finland was an excellent country to do business with. There is an entrepreneurial sprit, a willingness to look at new ways to do business, excellent infrastructure and a highly educated and sophisticated people”, says Scott who is also very pleased with the fact that English language is widely used in Finland.
The process of establishing a business was easy and quick.
“Our first task was to find a "platform" to launch in Finland and we did this by agreeing with Coronaria Healthcare to convert their "Optigo" stores and franchises to Specsavers last year. The results were spectacular and gave us the encouragement to move on to the acquisition of Tähti Optikko in April of this year”
“If we have had difficulties, it is convincing some Finnish Opticians that the Specsavers product, brand and service is second to none in the world. As the worlds largest Optician owned company, we are dedicated to servicing our partners and our customers and our prices reflect the massive international buying and marketing power we bring to each new market", he continues.
Also the response from Finnish consumers has been very positive indeed. During the first quarter of 2008, and with only 19 stores trading, we have been able to reach an estimated volume market share of 12% in Finland. Also, according to TNS Gallup, 45% of Finns already consider Specsavers as the place of purchase of their next spectacles.
“This is an excellent result to achieve in such a short time, and we are very pleased with it. Sales have been more than double our original expectations and by volume our market share is increasing rapidly. We can definitely say we are delighted with progress so far and excited by the prospect of Finnish opticians, not only from the Tahti network but from other chains and independents joining our network", says Scott.