Team eCommerce Next interviewed Attila Dogan from PPRO to get more insights on how merchants can sell in a virtual world. Following is our interview with him:
How has the retail world digitized in the past few years?
A few factors have been driving the increase in e-commerce activity and digitization of retail over the past several years. While most merchants already offered updated e-commerce functions for online shoppers, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. The lack of in-person shopping during the pandemic opened up doors for some consumer groups who were shopping online for the first time ever, providing a new opportunity for merchants to expand their consumer base. With this ongoing shift and the globalization of the world economy, we see an even faster trend toward cross-border shopping.
Consumers and merchants are also no longer bound by regional constraints — many brands have moved into targeting global consumers with e-commerce offerings. Digitization and the rise of cross-border e-commerce have changed the behavior of both merchants and consumers. Consumers now expect an easy, frictionless shopping experience and merchants must provide that or risk losing out on business.
What is the role of merchants in this virtual, e-commerce-driven world?
While merchants are the ones driving this brave new world of e-commerce, the entire ecosystem of retail, payments, and technology is equally important. To enable cross-border transactions or allow consumers to buy goods virtually, digital payments play a huge role for US and global merchants. As the majority of global transactions are carried out using local payment methods, merchants and their payment partners have to include a variety of payment offerings in their strategy.
How can merchants see success?
In 2021, 77% of global online purchases were made using local payment methods. Not only is this share of wallet (compared to traditional credit and debit cards) increasing, but we also see a proliferation of digital payment methods (largely driven by open banking/A2A solutions, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) and wallets in Asia). While the US domestic market is already complex enough, once merchants start leaving their home market to globalize, everything that touches payments will get very complex really fast. Merchants will need to partner with best-in-class technology and infrastructure providers to both implement and enable the necessary payment experiences for their customers.
What technology is driving merchants?
The rise of modular payments infrastructure and orchestration solutions has allowed merchants to provide choices when it comes to payments. The reality is that the payments ecosystem is complex — requiring costly and lengthy integration processes just to add one single payment method. For merchants, this again means having the right partner and technology infrastructure in place will make payments integrations seamless and cost-efficient.
What are consumers looking for?
Consumers want a seamless online buying experience that makes the transaction quick and easy. Considering that 80% of consumers will abandon a transaction if they reach the checkout, merchants need to evaluate how user choice and payment preference play into their role as leaders in a global marketplace. By offering the right digital payment methods, merchants will reach a larger audience and ensure consumers are making it past checkout.
What is the role of digital payments in this space?
Digital payment methods not only empower merchants to be more in touch with their consumers but offer the best way to capitalize on opportunities in different regions. Between now and 2026, the value of e-commerce sales transacted across borders is forecast to reach a total value of more than $2.2 trillion, and when global consumers were asked where they made their last cross-border purchase from, half of all Mexican, 47% of South Korean, 29% of Japanese, 28% of Australian and Indian, and 20% of British shoppers said it was from the US. It’s clear that gradually, US merchants are becoming more ingrained in cross-border markets; this can only be capitalized on further by fully understanding different market characteristics and the multitude of preferred payment methods that are out there.
How can merchants stand out?
In order to stand out, merchants need to acknowledge that even as e-commerce has opened new doors, many brands continue to lack an understanding of local market conditions or are unable to handle digital payment methods. By analyzing and understanding the cultural preferences of each market, merchants can make deeper connections with their consumers. In fact, a recent study found that between 35% and 45% of what a consumer regards as a “good service” is contingent upon that person’s culture and background. The more a merchant’s digital channels feel authentic to the shopper’s local culture, the more likely that shopper is to complete a transaction. In today’s oversaturated e-commerce landscape, having the ability to stand out with localized connections to consumers will go a long way.