Trust is at the core of digital payments

Trust is at the core of digital payments

In our new e-commerce-centric world, Irish businesses are seeking to meet customers with a trusted and reliable payments partner

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28th November, 2021

There is no denying that the coronavirus pandemic caused explosive growth in retail e-commerce, but a thoroughgoing change was already under way with consumer behaviour shifting due to all-pervasive internet and mobile.

Joachim Goyvaerts, director for Benelux and Ireland at PayPal, said that the Irish market was already deeply digital, but that the pandemic resulted in a very rapid rise of all forms of digital buying.

“There has been a surge of digital commerce, particularly on the local front, during the pandemic. The shopping season last year was very much online, and we expect this year to be similar,” he said.

Indeed, according to Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures, e-commerce surged in Ireland during the pandemic: in 2021, two in five Irish businesses had e-commerce as part of their sales mix, and for businesses with over 250 staff, this figure rose to 63 per cent. 2020 saw e-commerce sales volumes rise to a total of 7 per cent of all sales by domestic retailers, up on 3 per cent the previous year. A dramatic rise, no doubt, but also one that indicates that e-commerce has not yet run out of road.

This tallies with the international experience, Goyvaerts said, with more retailers coming online as well as new and different kinds of services. Now, as the pandemic continues to wax and wane, permanent changes in consumer behaviour appear likely.

Goyvaerts said that there was no sign of saturation and that, in fact, new types of commerce are making their way online.

“I think it will not just continue, I think we've seen an acceleration and it will continue to accelerate. In particular in Ireland, which is a major market for PayPal, we've seen that acceleration coming through," he said.

PayPal is perhaps best known as the internet’s native payment processor, but the company’s reach goes well beyond this, extending into the physical world with digital wallets, an increasingly important technology as cash drops out of people's pockets.

“If you look at the Worldpay global payments report, they expect that digital wallets will account for the majority of payments, not only in e-commerce, but also in brick and mortar,” Goyvaerts said.

PayPal is responding to this decline in cash use with new services such as the ability to make charitable donations at the point of sale as well as, in the past 12 months, launching a new mobile app and a business debit card solution for small business, in addition to a turn-key solution to allow small businesses to accept payments online.

“This is part of our global approach, too,” Goyvaerts said.

Beyond this, what PayPal brings to retailers is trust: as the original natively digital payments platform PayPal is trusted by consumers. A recent Interbrand survey bore this out, placing PayPal in the top 50 brands, while the company has 1.6 million registered users in Ireland.

It is also trusted by businesses, which know it can be trusted to mediate when a dispute occurs.

“I think what's unique about PayPal is that we’re a two-sided network,” Goyvaerts said.

This trust extends internationally, allowing Irish businesses to look to export markets, including well beyond traditional markets such as Britain, as PayPal is active in 200 countries and territories with over 400 million active accounts.

“The US is a key market for us, of course, where we’ve become a kind of super app for consumers. For Irish businesses we have a massive reach and, globally, that trust creates opportunities, as people know they can trust the payments,” Goyvaerts said.

Nationally, there is also a significant opportunity to expand sales: a survey commissioned by PayPal found that 88 per cent of Irish consumers have bought from international websites. Naturally, this is a real issue for local businesses.

“So it’s important that Irish businesses offer an even more seamless shopping experience. That's where our focus is in Ireland, to allow business to expand locally – but we are also your partner to grow globally,” Goyvaerts said.

Key Irish businesses, including Gym+Coffee, Ryanair and Freenow, are among many other Irish businesses using PayPal to seize the nettle.

“For Irish businesses, there is no better time than now to grab that opportunity of digitisation, as local users are ready to buy from them, and PayPal is happy to support them in that journey as we see that this acceleration will only continue,” he said.

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