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Itella to introduce a new solution for online store product returns

In the fall, Itella Posti Oy will launch a solution for online stores which will make it easier for consumers to return purchases they make from online stores. Through Itella Maksuturva, consumer customers can track the delivery, contact the store, notify the store that they will return products, and print out an address card for returning the products. The service makes for safe payments for purchases, and safe refunds. Suomen Maksuturva Oy is Itella’s partner.

The cooperation between Itella and Suomen Maksuturva is based on the EU’s new regulations for distance sales, to be introduced in June 2014. These rules require online stores to harmonize their operating methods in regard to delivery and product returns.

“The growth of online commerce is largely based on consumers regarding the sales channel as a convenient way of purchasing products. According to a recent study by the European Commission, seven out of ten consumers do not know what action to take if an online purchase fails to match the order. Our solid competence in logistics services, combined with the payment safety service, helps consumers take action in the online store. Clear instructions make for an even better shopping experience and increase confidence in the online store,” says Aku Happo, director of Itella’s eCommerce operations.

The Itella Maksuturva service is a comprehensive melange of logistics and payment transactions which serves online shoppers 24/7.

Effective background processes for online stores benefit shoppers and stores
Itella’s solution is based on an intelligent payment forwarding service platform, launched by Suomen Maksuturva in 2009, which can be extensively connected to different online store solutions.

Through the automation and harmonization of return-related functions which require a lot of manual work, online stores will save resources and will eliminate a major bottleneck that hinders business growth.

“In Finland, consumers’ online shopping still remains below ten percent of total trade, but it may quickly multiply as consumer behavior changes. Finnish online stores can only find success under pressure from international operators when they understand that a good-looking website is not enough to achieve a competitive edge – the background processes must also be in order,” says Mikael Smeds, Managing Director of Suomen Maksuturva.

 

Itella Posti Oy provides mail services throughout Finland, including the deliveries of letters, publications and direct advertising, in addition to parcel and express transport services, Netposti, as well as Posti shops and outlets. Itella Posti Oy is part of the Itella Mail Communications business group, which reported net sales of MEUR 1,168 and employed 17,800 persons in 2012. Itella Mail Communications is part of Itella Group.www.itella.fi

Suomen Maksuturva provides intelligent payment forwarding services for online stores. In addition to comprehensive payment and account services, the Tyytyväisyystakuu tool can be included for cost-effective implementation of product returns and complaints. Maksuturva customers include the following: Reima, Marimekko, Nanso Group, Metsä Group, Fortum and Holiday Club. The company acts as the official training partner of the Finnish Commerce Federation and its operations are regulated by the Financial Supervisory Authority. For more details: www.maksuturva.fi

Panimoliitto: Competition-skewing excise tax on soft drinks should be abolished

The government’s proposal to increase the excise tax on soft drinks is extremely problematic. The proposed rate is double the current tax and five times the rate of three years ago. It shifts demand to untaxed products, reduces the growth potential of companies liable to taxation, and weakens employment in Finland. The soft drinks tax was last increased in both 2012 and 2011.

According to the proposal, the soft drinks excise tax would be split into two brackets. The excise tax on soft drinks containing sugar would be raised to 22 cents per litre, while the tax on sugar-free beverages would remain at 11 cents per litre. The limit for sugar content, 0.5% sugar, is so strict that, for example, many health and wellness waters fall into the higher tax bracket.

“It’s unfair to impose differential taxes on a single product group, as it will further increase the workload of the companies liable to taxation. It is also tough on the companies that are being singled out. Denmark, for example, has experimented with differential taxation on soft drinks, but this problematic tax is now being completely abolished due to an explosion in cross-border trade,” says Elina Ussa, Managing Director of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry.

The Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry proposes that instead of imposing excise taxes on individual product groups, the government should either develop a broad-based tax based on sugar content or manage taxation through VAT. It should be remembered that taxation must always be fair and based on objective and rational grounds.

The Finnish Food and Drink Industries’ Federation considers untaxed products as receiving illegal support from the State. The Federation has therefore filed a complaint with the commission about the taxation of confectionary, ice cream and soft drinks.

Excise tax will not solve challenges in public health

The only nation in Western Europe that drinks fewer soft drinks than Finland is France. Total consumption in Finland is slightly below 60 litres of soft drinks per person.

The proposal refers to the health-promoting effects of the tax, but in accordance with its definition in tariff nomenclature, the excise tax is randomly imposed on certain products while leaving nutritionally similar products untaxed. Nowadays, the soft drinks tax is even paid on mineral waters. Public health challenges associated with nutrition are not the result of a single product, but a consequence of overall diet and lifestyle. It is therefore discriminatory to quote public health as a reason for levelling a tax at soft drinks alone.

“A narrow-based tax will not have any visible effects on public health. On the other hand, a flat tax would punish low-income families in particular,” says Ussa.

Multi-year decline in the soft drinks market continues

Sales of soft drinks by Federation member companies fell by just over 10 million litres in 2012, which represents about 4.1 per cent of Finland’s volume. 2012 saw the greatest contraction in sales since 2004, when total sales of soft drinks first took a downswing. This decline in the market has also continued during 2013. However, soft drink imports into Finland have grown steadily over the past few years. Imports account for just over 20 per cent of soft drink consumption in Finland.

“The danger is that soft drink imports from low-cost countries will further increase and domestic production will decrease. This will have an impact on both profitability and employment in the industry,” says Ussa.

NSN’s new name spells business as usual for mobile broadband powerhouse

  • Telecoms networks specialist reaffirms focus on mobile broadband
  • NSN sees rebranding as next chapter in transformation story
  • Ownership change brings further stability, clarity and confidence in the future
Nokia Siemens Networks, the world’s mobile broadband specialist, today becomes Nokia Solutions and Networks and is now known as NSN. The new name reflects NSN’s change of ownership following Nokia’s acquisition of Siemens’ entire 50 percent stake, which was announced on July 1, 2013, and completed today. Nokia Solutions and Networks is wholly owned by Nokia and will continue to be consolidated by Nokia. As announced by Nokia, Rajeev Suri will continue as CEO and the NSN Executive Board will remain unchanged as a result of the transaction. Unveiling the new name, NSN renewed its commitment to driving leadership in the mobile broadband sector and to operating as a more independent entity.
“While our name and brand have changed, I would like to emphasize that our overall strategy and our focus on mobile broadband remain the same,” said Rajeev Suri, CEO of NSN. “Our customers will not notice any difference in our unstinting commitment to delivering superior technology and services across the world. Today’s announcement is, however, an exciting new chapter in our transformation story.”
When announcing the transaction, Nokia stated its intention to “continue to strengthen the company as a more independent entity”. NSN, therefore, sees continuity and stability as major goals in the change of ownership, and is committed to pressing on with its strategy.
NSN’s strong profitability, shown in Nokia’s Q2 results published on July 18, 2013, is testament to the success of that strategy and the increased efficiency of the company. As already reported by Nokia, NSN has delivered four consecutive quarters of strong profitability, positioning the company well for strong long-term leadership in the industry. The turnaround strategy, announced in November 2011, is therefore delivering solid results
NSN’s goal remains to develop profitable businesses with customers worldwide, deploying the ever-growing possibilities of universal connectivity and content.
To share your thoughts on the topic, join the discussion with @NSNtweets on Twitter using #NSNnews.
About NSN
Nokia Solutions and Networks is the world’s specialist in mobile broadband. From the first ever call on GSM, to the first call on LTE, we operate at the forefront of each generation of mobile technology. Our global experts invent the new capabilities our customers need in their networks. We provide the world’s most efficient mobile networks, the intelligence to maximize the value of those networks, and the services to make it all work seamlessly.
With headquarters in Espoo, Finland, we operate in over 120 countries and had net sales of approximately 13.4 billion euros in 2012. NSN is wholly owned by Nokia Corporation.

IXONOS TO DELIVER A SYSTEM PROVIDING FINNISH TELEPHONE SUBSCRIBERS WITH PAYEE INFORMATION FOR PREMIUM-RATE NUMBERS

Ixonos will implement for Suomen Numerot Numpac Oy an information system for the relaying of payee information. The system will cost-efficiently and easily provide information about the payment recipients associated with premium-rate services for customers of Finnish telecommunications companies which own Numpac. This improves the transparency and security of premium-rate service usage.

When a telephone bill includes charges for premium-rate services, it will also show which providers will receive those charges, in accordance with a recent amendment to the Communications Market Act. The main components of the system will be a database and various web interfaces. The web interfaces will be used by all telecommunications companies that are owners of Numpac and provide premium-rate numbers, and they will also be available to every telephone subscriber in Finland. The subscriber interface is estimated to serve approximately a million searches yearly.

The system will be built on the Ixonos Elastic Cloud™ platform, which enables excellent scalability and reliability. “In designing the user interface, particular attention was paid to ease of use and a top-class user experience”, says Teppo Kuisma, Vice President, Online Solutions, Ixonos. “The subscriber interface is based on responsive web design so that the user interface and the contents will automatically adapt also to low resolution displays such as those on mobile devices”, Mr Kuisma continues.

The back-end database will include a provisioning interface for feeding payee information directly into the billing systems of various telecommunications companies. This will allow payee information to be displayed on telephone bills regardless of which telecommunications company is managing the premium-rate number.

Suomen Numerot Numpac Oy helps telecommunication companies fulfil their number portability and routing obligations. The company is owned by telecommunications companies operating in Finland. The shareholders of Numpac are TeliaSonera Finland Oyj, Elisa Corporation and DNA Ltd.