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.