By Ken Serdons, Chief Commercial Officer at Mollie
Taking on ecommerce juggernauts isn’t for the faint of heart. But it’s what many SME merchants need to do to be competitive.
The pandemic shifted many brick-and-mortar stores to online for the first time, putting a spotlight on what SMEs can offer. With global marketplaces like Amazon experiencing unprecedented growth over the last two years, SMEs have had to expand into ecommerce, despite many previously having little to no online presence.
Ecommerce is brimming with innovation, yet SMEs are woefully underserved as a community. To facilitate this growth, SMEs need products and services to support everything, from the ability to offer local payment methods in different regions to providing a fully seamless checkout experience.
Here, payment service providers (PSPs) are uniquely positioned to support the growth of SMEs.
The rise of the SME
SMEs are becoming increasingly aware of their strengths and how to play to them. Their in-depth product knowledge and access to specific and local customer groups, present an attractive and competitive alternative to larger retailers. Yet, we should not limit SMEs capabilities to competing with just the Amazon’s of the world. Their true USP is their ability to provide a more personalised and local approach that ecommerce giants simply cannot replicate.
To harness the potential of this competitive advantage, SMEs should reconsider and focus on the technology they use, services they offer and partners they work with. Enter the SME growth checklist:
- Growth mindset
Adopting a growth mindset can help your business thrive. Businesses with a growth mindset are more adaptable and open to new trends, constantly refining and improving their online activities to get ahead. Yet only a third of European SMEs have one.
The results speak for themselves. Mollie, together with research provider Coleman Parkes, surveyed 2,500 online retailers across Europe and found that businesses with a growth mindset generate 17% more revenue annually than their fixed-mindset counterparts. They are almost twice as likely to sell internationally than their fixed-mindset counterparts too.
- Commercial infrastructure
The right tools are imperative for creating a robust commercial infrastructure. Understandably, SMEs may not be able to foot the upfront cost of advanced tools or technology due to limited budgets. Partnering with a PSP means SMEs only need to pay for the delivery of the payment infrastructure required to help customers feel confident to buy and return without investing in the infrastructure itself.
Working with a PSP also ensures that your commercial infrastructure communicates with the other technology your business uses. This allows you to benefit from more robust data, automated tasks, and the ability to make more effective decisions without wasting time.
- Personalised ecommerce
Personalisation is paramount to providing an exceptional customer experience. Ensure you are enticing people to create an account and make sure to track key metrics. The best way to learn about your customers is by understanding who they are. In ecommerce, that means gathering data about their behaviour.
By tracking metrics such as browsing behaviour, clicks, and search history to identify common traits and create buyer personas, SMEs can use this data to personalise customers’ experience. This makes them happier and boosts conversion.
- ecommerce tech
Ecommerce giants like Amazon and ASOS have developed frictionless checkout experiences that consumers now expect as standard.
To compete, SMEs need to work towards removing these barriers and make ecommerce offerings more seamless. Working with a PSP that offers a multitude of integrations such as enterprise resource planning systems, CRM software, analytics tools and even shipping solutions can all be worthwhile investments for SMEs looking to scale at speed.
- Local payment solutions
As most SMEs are focused on one geographic location, they need solutions that are hyper-localised with native experiences from a local provider. But they also need to be innovative and be able to expand to serve customers across borders.
Crucially, SMEs need to offer the payment methods their customers prefer. Credit and debit cards are no longer the only option. Providing multiple payment options, whether that’s iDEAL, Sofort, Klarna, or mobile wallets that are popular in each local market can earn consumer trust, and in turn boost conversion and brand loyalty.
SMEs know their customers better than most. By utilising the data rich customer insights they hold and partnering with the right PSP, their potential is endless.
The right PSP should be a partner who will support your growth by guiding and refining your payments strategy and allow you to compete with ecommerce giants.
That means bringing you closer to your customers, allowing you to offer the local payment methods they prefer and making international expansion – and payments – effortless.