Exploring the ecommerce World of Asia with Cardpay
Sitting down with Robert Ang, Cardpay’s general manager Asia, we get a firm understanding of the kind of exciting pace that has come to represent the continent at large. From international expansion to the wants and needs that make ecommerce payments and, by extension, businesses hum along smoothly.
Fintech Futures: How has 2019 been for the Cardpay team as a whole?
R: Exciting, in a word. Cardpay has been going through some exciting changes that help businesses meet the needs and demands of consumers worldwide.
In late 2019, we’ve had some inspiring moves into the Asian markets, both of which have been showing some impressive growth over the year, and we under no allusions that both are going to propel forward as we walk through 2020!
FF: From 2019 to now, does ecommerce still have the same hurdles to contend with?
R: Being a business trying to project itself into the international marketplace is not without its fair share of challenges. From the offset, doing the homework is an absolute necessity – you have to think about international, local and business regulations right down to the customer behaviour – the latter being one of the biggest considerations, honestly.
For example, let’s say you’re a new ecommerce business setting up in Hong Kong, you’ve taken care of all the paperwork but haven’t gotten around to hammering down what your customers want or how they prefer to shop and pay.
Right there is the early death of your business. If there’s a new quantity in the market, customers are going to go through the shopping process, only to find out that they can’t shop on mobile or pay with the method they’re comfortable using. Meaning cart abandonment rates will be through the roof, and they’re already at worrying highs, and they likely won’t be coming back.
Even with innovation and change coming to the world of ecommerce, businesses still need to be vigilant and do their homework on who they want to sell to and where.
FF: There’s a lot of moving parts you have to bear in mind, I’d imagine?
R: That’s exactly right, and you have to be constantly aware of any changes, new solutions and day-to-day friction that could get in the way of your business and, as a result, your overall success. Technology is moving at such a breakneck pace these days that companies must have that ability to read their market while preventing their innovative solutions from becoming friction in the long-run.
That’s why Asia is such a fresh market to look into, with smartphones and solutions like QR codes being used to make split-second transactions. That’s something you don’t see in other areas of the world in such high quantity.
FF: There’s a lot to unpack about ecommerce in Asia, but what sets it apart?
R: Asia is one of the most exciting areas for ecommerce, hands down, with countries like China, South Korea and Japan really leading the way in smartphone and alternative payments.
This is coming up after the truly staggering sales that happened during Singles Day of $38.4bn, showing just how ‘plugged’ in people are to their smartphones!
We’ve dug into ecommerce in Asia previously, and what we see in the continent are all the ingredients for some explosive growth in the next couple of years. Countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, all having high levels of mobile and smartphone use relative to a relatively small digital marketplace.
FF: With that kind of big picture approach, are there any countries that are worth looking at as examples in the region?
R: Well, one that I think that gets ignored is Indonesia. We usually place a more significant focus on China, Vietnam and Thailand. But as far as a digital marketplace goes, Indonesia is a powerful market for businesses to dive into. In its own rights, Indonesia represents a multi-billion-dollar market, with a high level of smartphone and digital wallet usage, but relatively untapped by international business, something that we’re working to change!
FF: Now, you briefly hit on smartphone use, is that something that sets Asia apart from other regions? And if so, what would ecommerce businesses need to do to endear themselves to customers in Asia?
It absolutely sets it apart. Compared to any other part of the world, the largest population of unbanked people is in Asia, and it’s thanks to that that we’re seeing this massive rate of adoption for mobile phones, smartphones and challenger fintechs.
Case in point is China, which has made this remarkable about-face, with over half of its population carrying a smartphone and using super-apps like WeChat.
Internet and smartphone penetration, the need for digital payment and banking methods, and government initiatives to get the unbanked online are going to spell some incredible things for the continent in the future.
FF: So where does Cardpay come into the equation here?
Businesses trying to innovate to keep up with customer demand, and companies looking to lower the barriers to entry when it comes to payment solutions is where we come in. Our all in one payment solutions effectively address both of these issues at the same time; providing customers with a completely frictionless way to make payments the way they want to!
We currently offer over 300 different payment methods through our bespoke solution, and that’s a number we’re continually adding to. These also include the increasingly popular array of digital wallets that are taking off in regions of Asia like Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
FF: What kind of ecommerce businesses are most likely to benefit from your solution?
R: We see a lot of value in partnering with global brands as consumers in the emerging markets have a healthy appetite for all the latest and the greatest from the fashion and technology trendsetters.
As gadgets become more and more expensive, we can also provide an instalment payment option where customers can pay for an item in three to 12 equal payments spread over time.
We also work with many businesses distributing digital content as they need to accept recurring payments from the multiple geographies. Another industry that we partner with very closely is Travel – the global travel market is growing in double digits thanks to increased demand from the consumers in Asia.
FF: How do you see ecommerce payments evolving from here?
R: By industry estimates global ecommerce market is expected to reach $4 trillion in volume next year. Most of this growth is driven by Asian markets.
As disposable income of Asian consumers steadily grows, they demonstrate more purchasing power and consume more and more western products.
This means competition will intensify and customer experience at the checkout will become of paramount importance.
And this is exactly what we are trying to achieve – help our merchants optimise the checkout process, offer more local payment methods, more currencies, delight their customers and drastically improve conversion rates as a result.
For more on CardPay’s developments visit www.cardpay.com