Alma Media > News > Comparison services empowering customers in their sales or purchase process

Comparison services empowering customers in their sales or purchase process

With the digitalisation of purchasing, Alma Media is taking a strategic step towards developing its marketplaces from classified advertisement listing services to advanced digital platforms. This shift aims to enhance the user experience and provide a comprehensive solution for both B2B suppliers and customers. Alma’s Comparison Services enable consumers to contact and request quotes from multiple service providers at once, making comparisons transparent and easy to do. The journey towards advanced digital platforms means helping the customers even further in their sales or purchase process.

Maarit Tarkiainen

Alma’s Comparison Services aim to help customers further in their online sales or purchase process than before. “The transformation could be described as an axis where at one end we only provide a space to post an advertisement. At the other end of the axis the whole process could be actualised on our platform starting from posting an ad to contacting each other (service/product provider and customer), paying for the product or service and sharing experiences afterwards. For our supplier customers – the ones who are offering a product or service – we may also offer additional services such as data or B2B SaaS to support their business”, describes Maarit Tarkiainen, Director of Alma’s Comparison Services.

This transformation can be noticed as new features in the services and in some cases also as a more comprehensive renewal of the business logic. “These developments are driven by the trend of easiness and reliability, and a preference to complete the whole process on a reliable third-party platform, especially in cases where both parties are private persons and hence the consumer protection act is not applicable”, explains Tarkiainen.

The current Alma Media Comparison Service portfolio includes the loan comparison service Etua, marketplace for renovations Urakkamaailma, moving service marketplace Muuttomaailma, cottage rental platform Nettimökki, car repair service marketplace Autojerry and Katsastushinnat, which provides information and comparisons of vehicle inspection prices.

Market situation and trends helping and hindering

Current economic situation drives consumers to compare the services they use even more. This trend especially supports some of Alma’s Comparison Services such as loan comparison service Etua and Nettimökki, which also benefit from the trend of shift to greener economies. Nettimökki being a platform to rent out your cottage when it is vacant, helps customers to earn money on their property to cover their own costs, in addition to supporting more efficient use of resources.

At the same time, higher costs of living affect negatively Alma’s Comparison Services home related services such as renovation contractor comparison service Urakkamaailma and moving comparison service Muuttomaailma. Regardless, these services have been able to grow at a steady pace, which is partly due to the renovation comparison market still being in a developing stage. “This means that a large share of consumers finds the renovator somewhere else than through a comparison service, for example by asking for recommendations from friends and family, neighbours or local social media groups. So, our main competitor in this context is not the similar renovation marketplaces but rather the other ways of getting the job done”, ponders Tarkiainen.

“We can also see interesting potential in expanding Comparison Service business internationally. The potential is especially high in renovation and car repairs related comparison services. However, we have also identified that in the Central Eastern European countries, services tend to be more horisontal in nature, i.e. including different service areas under one brand”, says Tarkiainen.

Competences and data as key factors in success

In order to succeed in the move towards advanced platforms, Alma’s Comparison Services want to develop competences, for example in understanding and serving the customer’s needs during the later stages of their process.

This may well mean an understanding of payment-related solutions, legislation and compliance, for example anti money laundering. “Our business customer base is wide-ranging – from renovation contractors, moving companies and cottage rental companies to property investors, car repair shops and banks – so we need in depth knowledge about their business and markets, and what kind of systems support their daily business” depicts Tarkiainen.

Another key factor in success is gathering and analysing consumer data. As Alma Comparison Services integrate even deeper into customers’ everyday lives, the need for the next level of consumer understanding arises. “Our services constantly gather valuable data on consumer behavior and demand. Besides for our own business purposes, this data is regularly utilised by media and for example Statistics Finland” Tarkiainen describes and continues: “However, we also need to deepen our knowledge on how to further utilise this data. Perhaps we can provide valuable insights to our supplier customers through our platforms and create new tools in cooperation with our existing Alma Insights businesses”.

Nettimökki renewal as the latest innovation project

The latest service renewal launched by Alma Comparison Services is Nettimökki cottage rental platform renewal in 2022–2023.

The first stage of the improvement included renewing the platform to support end-to-end digital business. The main driver was the rentee’s need for an easier and clearer platform. In the newly launched version, the rentee/renter communication takes a place on the platform, pricing information is binding, and consumers are encouraged to book through the platform. “This transformation was well received by the rentees who feel that it is now easier and more reliable to rent a cottage”, says Tarkiainen.

The next phase of the renewal is ongoing and is planned to be completed by 2024–2025.

  • Published: 28.5.2024, 12:50
  • Category: News
  • Theme: Alma Today

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