Victor Iezuitov from Nexway shares insights into today’s top priorities for ecommerce and key aspects to have in mind for 2021’s planning such as customer experience, customer support, and payment management
The year 2020, our collective annus horribilis, has restricted our ability to socialise, work, study, travel, or shop the way we did before the global pandemic. The impact on commerce has certainly been unprecedented. But has it all been bad news? The pandemic has certainly accelerated the already occurring trend of a shift from in-store to digital sales. Out of necessity, customers and sellers swiftly moved purchases of all kinds online, rewriting the retail playbook for the foreseeable future.
Nexway surveyed ecommerce decision-makers around the world to understand the impact the crisis has had on their businesses and strategic priorities. Our proprietary research revealed unique opportunities for companies that are able to embrace the latest digital revolution.
In our report Focus on Resilience: Ecommerce & Payment Top Priorities for 2021, we look at how companies are managing the market disruption and remaining resilient during these uncertain times, focusing on a few key ecommerce areas that are very much within their control. Now is the time to learn from your peers and our experts so you can develop a practical plan for the months ahead.
There’s no denying 2020 shook things up for most businesses. Our research showed fully 80% of companies reported an impact on sales during the pandemic. Perhaps it is a bit more surprising that for many companies this impact actually meant an increase in sales. While 44% of those surveyed reported a negative impact on company sales in 2020, 36% registered a positive turn, and 20% saw no change at all. In response to the crisis, a majority of companies surveyed (78.5%) adjusted their strategic objectives mid-year. The reasons for this change included the need to ‘move from offline to online sales’ and to create ‘alternative payment paths’. As a result, many companies were looking ahead and rethinking their sales model, with 64% reporting that the COVID-19 crisis made them consider changing how they sell and distribute their product.
Some of the biggest ecommerce challenges companies are facing include lower consumer spending and mounting costs, especially due to increased commissions and fees. For many, reaching new clients or the right customers was paramount. For others, it was transaction fraud or cybersecurity that was keeping them up at night.
When it comes to what managers today value most when selecting an ecommerce solution provider, the three main criteria given by respondents were reliability, security, and cost. It makes sense that these are financial technology ‘non-negotiables’, and we can consider those items table stakes today. To really stand out to decision-makers, however, the desired solution should also offer speed, flexibility, a good website user experience, and lots of payment options.
In today’s uncertain business environment, it is impossible to control all the factors at play. We cannot know how long the pandemic will last or how much lasting impact on economies and consumer spending it will have. Still, there are several ecommerce levers you can focus on now to prepare your business for 2021 and the road ahead.
We asked managers to rank their ecommerce and payment priorities for the year ahead, to understand how they were readying their company to be more resilient and responsive in the year ahead. The top three priorities cited in our survey were customer experience, customer care, and payment management (see table).
Business today is more customer-centric than ever before. We see this reality reflected in our clients’ top priorities. When they tell us that customer experience and customer care are critical, we must respond with an offer that can truly set their sales operations up for success. The human element surpasses the transactional functionality now.
PRIORITIES FOR THE NEXT 6-12 MONTHS
Focus on incremental improvements to these three key areas:
- Customer experience – Consumers today have ever-higher expectations of service, so companies must have a deep understanding of their consumers’ emotional needs and desires to provide personalised responses.
- Customer support – Customer service not only plays the role of helping customers out when they have a question or a concern, but can actually be one of your business’s best levers of growth by accompanying people along the customer journey.
- Payment management – The payment orchestrator works within your business’s over-arching customer experience to manage your entire payment journey, including everything from accepting a range of payment options to preventing fraud to maintaining data compliance to adhering to local sales tax regulations.
Companies looking to scale up quickly and take advantage of timely opportunities should look for global partners to help connect them to the growing ecommerce market. Many of the strategic decisions made by Nexway in recent years serve this very sense of purpose. Key investments made in updating the technology stack and streamlining processes have helped Nexway build a global operation with a strong customer-centric culture to help online businesses succeed.
After a year full of unprecedented events on the world stage, no one can predict all that 2021 will bring. Focus on the areas you can control, by applying a mix of human capital and smart technology, and seize the moment.
This editorial was first published in our Cross-Border Payments and Ecommerce Report 2020–2021, which assesses the change of pace that occurred in 2020 and provides a comprehensive overview of the major trends driving growth in this space, being the ultimate source of information for players interested in selling across borders.
About Victor Iezuitov
With extensive international experience in finance and management, Victor has worked as board member, CFO, CEO, and Senior Analyst in investment funds and private banking companies.
Nexway is a software and service company for ecommerce and payment. We expand the sales potential of software, retail, and services companies across 140 countries. Our customers rely on Nexway to power their subscription models, manage local payment methods, prevent fraud, engage resellers, deliver key customer insights, and beyond.