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Global ecommerce growth more than double by 2019

Tuesday 14 March 2017 | 02:40 PM CET

Regina Lau, Ingenico ePayments: Omnichannel is a key component in the way ecommerce is evolving and a big focus at Ingenico Group

What does global ecommerce currently look like, in terms of size and growth?

The global ecommerce market is still growing exponentially. Ecommerce accounted for over 7% of total retail sales in 2016 and that figure is expected to more than double by 2019.

That means more people from more parts of the world are shopping online, so the overall pie is growing. Markets such as China and India are the obvious examples, but there is significant growth all over the world: Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia.

How do you expect cross-border ecommerce to develop in the next three years?

The unique advantage that ecommerce has over traditional retail is that it is unconstrained by time and place. We can shop anywhere, at any time. This is driving consumers to look for what they really want instead of settling for what’s available at the corner shop.

As a consequence, cross-border payment volumes are growing several times faster than domestic payments. We expect this to continue, because the preference for purchasing beyond national borders is particularly strong in some of the fastest-growing parts of the world, such as China and India.

What are the key challenges for merchants when they want to expand internationally?

While offering domestic payments is certainly important, most merchants understand that to continue growing their business beyond a certain point will require offering customers a choice of payment methods that appeal to international consumers as well. Accepting credit cards is a nice start, but cross-border success starts with offering a localised payment experience. That means accepting local payment alternatives, in the local currency.

But there’s more to success than just payment products. When merchants operate domestically, they only need to know what’s happening in their own country. But when they go beyond their borders, not only do they need to customise their offering to new target customers, but also to understand local regulatory requirements and make sure they are optimising operations in order to ensure costs don’t spiral out of control. Essentially, businesses need to ensure that they are technically and operationally prepared for international expansion, especially in the online space where things can change quickly.

What other developments drive the growth of ecommerce?

Consumers are spending more money online. There is now a comfort level with shopping online that wasn’t there before. And we see ever more industries embracing ecommerce. Remember that ecommerce got its big break selling airline tickets and consumer electronics. But these days, it’s anything from clothing, to groceries, to car rides. All of this means we have more places to spend money online which contributes to global growth.

Third, there is a steady increase in ways to shop online. It’s no longer confined to the desktop – we can purchase on our mobile phones, from a smart watch, or from connected cars or billboards, and we don’t have to be in an online store anymore – we can be in a branded app, in a chat application, the number of channels is increasing, and this is driving ecommerce forward.

Social commerce and omnichannel are often referred to as other key drivers for growth. What challenges do merchants face in order order to tap into this potential?

Omnichannel is a key component in the way ecommerce is evolving and a big focus at Ingenico Group. While the promise is clear, the challenge for merchants is the implementation – to leverage their various touch-points to gather the data they need to truly understand consumer preferences and behaviours.

In terms of social commerce, we recently announced a solution that enables merchants to accept payments directly from popular chat apps such as Facebook Messenger, Slack and WeChat. We’re also doing a lot of work around buy buttons, which ties into the future we anticipate for social commerce. It will be a few years before this is mainstream, but merchants need to start thinking about these things now.

To learn more about Regina’s views on cross-border ecommerce, download the free position paper ‘Growing Faster with Cross-Border eCommerce’ from Ingenico ePayments.

About Regina Lau

Regina Lau is the Chief Strategy Officer for Ingenico ePayments. In her role, she oversees strategy and pricing for the organisation. Prior to joining Ingenico ePayments (formerly known as GlobalCollect), she worked for American Express in various roles, including Director of Global Merchant Pricing and Revenue Management. She has a B.A. from Berkely, an MBA from Boston College.

About Ingenico ePayments

Ingenico ePayments is the online and mobile commerce division of Ingenico Group. We connect merchants and consumers, enabling businesses everywhere to go further beyond today’s boundaries, creating the future of global commerce. As industry leaders since 1994, our innovative spirit drives us forward across all channels. We are the trusted partner of over 65,000 small and large merchants who rely on us to make payments easy and secure for their customers. With advanced data analytics, fraud management solutions and cross-border commerce expertise, we help merchants optimise their business and grow into new markets around the world. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

For more information about Ingencio ePayments, please check out a detailed profile of this company in our dedicated, industry-specific online company database.