I can’t remember the last time I paid for something with cash. And I hardly use cards either – well, not in the traditional sense. Increasingly my phone is my wallet. Like millions of other Swedes, I prefer to “Swish” rather than swipe, using the real-time mobile payment platform of the same name.
Swish originally started out as a way for people to transfer money to each other, but it has quickly been taken up by cafés, bars and flea markets, not to mention mobile-friendly e-commerce sites. As revealed in the Arvato Payments Review over half of all Swedes shop on their smartphone, so it pays to adapt your e-commerce accordingly.
You can tell a lot about a market, and identify what might give you an edge, by looking at local e-commerce trends and consumption patterns. Sweden is well on the road to becoming cashless – it could happen as early as 2020, which would see it easily beat Denmark ahead of its 2030 deadline. And that is driving the uptake of payment methods typically not based on card but rather on direct debit or financed pay-after-delivery solutions connected to those solutions.
Sweden’s “cashlessness” is a clear indicator of how you will interact with customers there. But not everyone is ready to take that leap just yet.
The payments landscape in Germany is totally different, for example. Much of that difference can be attributed to levels of digitalisation and how transparent people are with their personal financial information. Germans need a debit card for cash withdrawals because their local café only takes cash. And while Swedes accept that their data is freely available, making them more open to innovation and new services, Germans don’t have the same trust in Big Brother with many preferring to pay by invoice online than give out their details.
Both want convenience and security in their own way. The question is how you give that to them.
Keeping the customer satisfied (and more than satisfied) is essential . As well as payment methods, you have to take into account consumer expectations on fulfilment – delivery, customer service, returns policy. In Germany, for example, free returns (even though they are no longer required by law) and more or less next-day delivery are non-negotiable.
In payments, as with any other variable, removing friction is essential. What it all comes down to is making the consumer journey as smooth as possible and providing a better all-round buying experience. As our report shows, increasingly that will be through our phones, with mobile sales growing strongly on the back of increasing mobile penetration not just in Sweden but in all markets – even Germany.
So, have a look through the Arvato Payments Review where the Consumer Behaviour section is presented by my colleague Johan Rönnerman. We have examined how consumers in 14 countries behave online, including what, how and where they buy, and how they prefer to pay.
– Head Ecommerce Sweden, Arvato Financial Solutions