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Chasing basis points: How performance drives digital commerce

Chasing basis points: How performance drives digital commerce

Feb 1, 2024
Guillaume Pousaz

As the founder and CEO of a global payments company, I’m constantly asking myself how we can keep adding value to the ecommerce businesses we serve. Today so much happens behind a merchant’s checkout experience, layers of technology need to work efficiently to create a frictionless path for shoppers. My answer always boils down to delivering performance. Performance is about bringing billions of data points to life so that we create value and impact for merchants. That’s the value we can control and pass on to our customers.

Spending time with our merchants is the best part of my job. As a team, we take our inspiration from those deep and wide-ranging conversations. The payments leaders, whom we are fortunate to call our customers, are one hundred percent fixated on delivering results: growing revenue through payments by focussing on performance.

We know they want first-class payments expertise and personalized service, which recognizes that every single merchant is different. And that they want world-leading innovation, delivered with constant velocity, built to future-proof their businesses. Because in ecommerce, nothing stands still. That’s why we are working tirelessly to build the payment infrastructure that allows us to move fast enough to solve the challenges of tomorrow so that they don’t have to.

Obsessed with delivering results

Together with businesses like TikTok, UberEats, Netflix, Sony, DocuSign, Shein, Remitly, Vinted, Nespresso or Samsung, we are setting the bar high for performance. These are the household brands and universal apps that power our everyday lives. And we are privileged to power those billions of transactions that connect them with their customers every single day and night. Because the online checkout button is now a 24/7 staple of daily life.

The click of that checkout button is the moment that matters. What happens next – throughout the payment process – has to be perfect. And it should be simple. The straightforward exchange of value is the lifeblood of any business.

But here's the thing – the line between a sale and a missed opportunity is razor-thin. And what determines the outcome? Payments performance. That's the bottom line. That's why we don't just think performance is important; we obsess about it. Because in this business, performance isn't just one thing; it's everything. Every investment we make, every strategy we deploy. We pour all our resources into landing on the right side of that razor-thin line of success. Delivering the best possible outcomes for our merchants and their customers, repeatedly and at scale.

Relentlessly chasing basis points

The athlete's mindset is core to our operating principles at Checkout.com because it has particular relevance to delivering value in digital payments. As a marathon runner and long-distance triathlete, I know the hard work and humility that goes into achieving high performance. I also know there is meticulous science behind it. Athletes are obsessed with the science of performance because their medals are won within those minuscule margins – a tiny fraction of a second or millimeter. The difference between gold and nothing is fractional – and yet it’s everything. The same is true in payments performance.

The most immediate and concise example of this analogy is acceptance rates. An acceptance rate is the leading payments performance indicator. It’s a measure of the proportion of initiated payments that are successfully captured – translating into revenue for merchants and satisfaction for their customers. Flight booked, birthday gift ordered, flowers sent. From the point of view of the large enterprise businesses we serve, just a 50 basis point uplift in acceptance rate can translate to many millions of dollars more in revenue. That’s exactly why we chase every basis point, relentlessly.

Athletes continuously interrogate their historical data to optimize their performance. Our approach to data is the same. It means we are sweating the details to keep improving acceptance rates. By applying rigor to this data and spotting patterns across the entire network of merchants we serve, we learn from historical transactions to improve future ones. At a network level, we ensure that we pass on all the value of processing billions of transactions on behalf of all our merchants to every single merchant.

This approach underpins our pursuit of the optimal route for every transaction. That means ensuring the ISO8583 message is adjusted to maximize the chances of success. It's also about choosing whether a transaction is sent as a network token or not. And it's about ensuring the completeness and integrity of the data that is being passed, where the tiniest tweak can make the difference between success and failure. And that’s just a few examples.

Digital payments are so dynamic and nuanced that we believe it takes even more than great data and rigor to build future-proofed performance. That’s where the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning comes in. We are harnessing our many billions of daily transaction data points to ensure our machine-learning engines keep getting smarter and smarter at averting fraud, optimizing a myriad of costs, and capturing maximum revenue.

Some of the most ubiquitous global brands have seen significant uplifts in acceptance rates since utilizing our machine-learning solution, Intelligent Acceptance. And in the past few months alone, we’ve recovered over $1.5 billion in additional revenue for our customers, and that number is only increasing.

Where the world checks out

Ultimately, the world of ecommerce is as complex as it is brilliant and omnipresent. It’s our job to abstract that complexity, enabling businesses to thrive. We are here to remove the noise, flex to change, and deliver optimal outcomes so that companies – from healthcare to homeware and from food to fashion – can each focus on doing what they do best: staying one step ahead of the game as they continuously delight their customers and grow their bottom line.

For us, the checkout moment isn't the end of the transaction. It's just the start. And at Checkout.com, we believe that we are humble custodians of that highly valuable moment. What drives us is delivering the experience consumers desire for our merchants. It’s why we don’t get in the way. We know that at their best, checkout moments are actually invisible. And when we’re getting it right, when we’re helping businesses and their communities thrive in the digital economy – when we deliver peak performance and pass it on across our global customer base… That’s when we're helping the world check out.

Guillaume Pousaz

Checkout.com
Where the world checks out

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February 1, 2024 15:00
February 1, 2024 15:00