2022 looks set to be a defining year for digital payments and commerce, with the exponential growth seen in recent years set to continue. Yet challenges are also on the horizon, such as fraud and managing environmental concerns. To learn more about what this year has in store, we spoke with four ecommerce and payment experts to find out what has their attention.
This year is set to be a watershed moment for payments and its role within a business, says Emina Zahirovic, Associate Director, Global Payments at HelloFresh. This is as companies start appreciating the essential role payments play in acquiring and retaining customers.
"In 2021, we began to see businesses, whose volumes had moved predominantly online, start considering the role of payments within the customer lifecycle," says Emina. "This shift in thinking is leading businesses to consider the different ways they allow consumers to make payments by offering a range of payment methods. It's also encouraging them to think about how they process payments to ensure conversion leads to revenue."
As this trend evolves, Emina expects more businesses to leverage the wave of new technology emerging in the payments industry. "At HelloFresh, we have a large data science team that leverages AI and machine learning to deeply understand our payments data and how it impacts customer behavior. I anticipate that more businesses will start building out similar functions and leveraging similar tools in 2022 to turn payments into a strategic function."
The continued growth of payments as a strategic function within a business is a notion echoed by Cyril Chemla, VP, Strategic Accounts at Checkout.com. And for Cyril, it's the growing recognition of the untapped power of payments data that'll drive this evolution.
"Payments data has immense utility for a business," says Cyril. "Many merchants we work with recognize this. They're already pulling payments data into other parts of the business, such as treasury, finance and marketing, to inform business decisions."
Cyril expects to see more businesses look at unlocking the potential of their payments data in the coming year. However, without the most modern payment technology, this can be complex.
"For many businesses working with legacy systems, simply getting access to rich payments data is a major challenge," he says. "And it's a barrier that some will struggle to overcome, unfortunately limiting the impact payments have in their organization."
But for those able to tap the potential of their payments data, there's a tremendous opportunity to be unlocked. "Payments isn't just a way to collect money from customers anymore. It's a catalyst for innovation, a revenue generator, and a critical foundation for achieving scalable growth. It's inspiring to see this evolution, and I'm excited about where the industry is heading."
While the overall outlook for 2022 is positive, hostile threats lurk in the background with the potential to cause significant disruption for businesses. None more so than the explosion in fraud that's anticipated to occur in 2022, according to Julie Fergerson, CEO at the Merchant Risk Council.
"It's going to be a tough year as it relates to fraud," says Julie. "The economy is hitting a bumpy patch, and this always leads to an increase in fraud. Fraudsters are also getting more sophisticated and finding novel ways to attack businesses and consumers."
Julie cites ransomware as being a particular concern. "When I talk to my peers in law enforcement, this is the one thing we're all anxious about," she says. "There were several high-profile, successful ransomware attempts in 2021. We're concerned that this is emboldening the criminals, leading to a flurry of these attacks in 2022."
Whether that comes true or not, Julie has one word of advice for businesses: be prepared. "Businesses will need to be at the top of their game this year and invest in the best tools possible to make sure they don't fall victim to fraud."
If 2021 was the year that crypto entered the mainstream, 2022 is when it starts to take hold. This is the view of Bradley Riss, Chief Commercial Officer at Checkout.com, who believes it's no longer possible to ignore what's happening in the crypto space.
"There's so much movement here," he says. "We have the traditional business sector that is increasingly asking how this is relevant to their businesses. This is leading some major names to make significant investments, such as Nike's recent acquisition of RTFKT and Universal launching Kingship, its first NFT band. Then there's a new merchant category emerging that's bridging the gap between web 2.0 and web 3.0 by offering fiat and crypto from day one that will continue to evolve."
In parallel to these developments, Bradley expects to see positive action around the adoption of stablecoins and CBDCs. "There's plenty of discussion happening about how these assets can improve the movement of value and capital around the world. Will all these questions be answered in 2022? No. But I expect there to be significant progress that will underpin the direction of travel for the rest of the decade."
At Checkout.com, we’ll be keeping an eye on the critical payments and ecommerce trends all year long, sharing fresh interviews and insights from leaders in the industry as well as continuing to conduct extensive surveys with consumers and merchants. Make sure you subscribe to our blog to receive the latest payment insights.