A Partner in e-Commerce Success
by Samy Touboul, Head of e-Commerce Team, BNP Paribas Cash Management
The growth of e-Commerce is one of the most exciting developments we have seen in both business-to-consumer, and increasingly business-to-business models in recent years. In 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, e-Commerce in Europe grew by more than 14%, despite European GDP increasing by only 1.6% (source: e-Commerce Europe). While the UK, Germany and France are ranked as the strongest e-Commerce markets, markets in Central & Eastern Europe are also experiencing rapid growth. Given the rise of e-Commerce in an otherwise sluggish economic environment, there is significant competitive pressure on companies to exploit new customer engagement and sales opportunities, which demands innovative banking solutions and expert advisory services.
A new commercial model
e-Commerce represents far more than simply a shift from traditional sales to online sales. Instead, at BNP Paribas, we are witnessing, and in many cases driving, entirely new business models that are overturning traditional supply chains and distribution models. Our dedicated e-Commerce team works with both ‘pure’ e-Commerce players (i.e., those whose sales model is entirely online, such as online marketplaces, e-retailers and online gaming companies) but also businesses that combine both traditional and e-Commerce sales models (consumer goods, insurance, utilities, retailers, energy companies etc.) In addition, changing business models are giving rise to a growing number of e-marketplaces, that welcome all merchants across the relevant product ranges, and facilitate customer orders and payments on their behalf. In some cases, these marketplaces also offer additional services such as logistics to offer merchants and customers a ‘full service’ experience.
e-Commerce players include not only those who are engaging with consumers, whether directly or via an e-marketplace, but also the companies that support their activities. For example, a generation of new payment service providers (PSPs) is emerging to meet the demands of e-Commerce players, which aim to offer a high quality payment experience to both buyers and sellers.
Enhancing sales performance
As new and potentially disruptive sales models emerge, companies are relying on new services from their partner banks. BNP Paribas has established a market-leading position in supporting and promoting effective, secure e-Commerce and m-commerce models that deliver a high quality customer experience, a strong conversion rate from browser to buyer, and ultimately growth and competitive advantage. In addition, we are the partner of choice for PSPs to provide the transaction services that underpin their solution offerings.
One of the key reasons why e-Commerce players of all types, including e-retailers, traditional industries, marketplaces and PSPs choose to work with BNP Paribas is our commitment to helping them to measure and improve sales performance. This includes both sophisticated solutions, and advisory services to maximise success. For example, a key metric is the number of browsers who ultimately make a successful purchase. This involves monitoring both the number of users who make a purchase (which companies themselves can usually monitor accurately), and also the number of payment failures and rejections that interrupt or terminate intended purchases. We work in partnership with customers to monitor these key metrics, find ways to refine the customer experience, identify points of weakness in the transaction process and inform decisions on the payment methods that result in the highest rate of conversion and lowest number of declines.
An effective e-Commerce model relies on convenience for customers, but equally, the payment process needs to be robust and secure. We have partnered with Ingenico ePayments, which is connected to our domestic and European acquiring platforms, and virtually all of our acquiring partners to maximise convenience and confidence for customers. We also have a partnership with leading provider Worldline to integrate their Mercanet solution on a white-labelled basis solution to combine acceptance and acquiring through a single point. BNP Paribas is already one of the top 10 acquirers in Europe and we continue to increase our market share and depth and breadth of offering across the region. In 2015, we processed more than two billion transactions with a value of €60bn, of which 250 million (€15bn) were e-Commerce transactions, representing 28% of e-Commerce market transactions, and a 20% increase on 2014. In addition to our strong domestic offerings, we were also the first bank in France to offer a cross-border acquiring platform to support clients’ international growth objectives.