Robust eCommerce platforms are well positioned to weather economic uncertainty because they simply offer more value to shoppers looking to stretch every dollar, Doug Bland, senior vice president, head of consumer at PayPal, writes in the new PYMNTS eBook, “Baseline 2022: What the Next Six Months Holds.”
While the past few years have been demanding for a variety of reasons, 2022 has contributed its own list of challenges. Macroeconomic headwinds have affected businesses and consumers alike. Strained supply chains are continuing to deal with pandemic-related outbreaks and issues. War in Europe has driven prices higher for a great deal of necessary goods like fuel and food, and inflation is the highest it has been in four decades. All of these have caused constraints in consumer spending power and driving families to seek new ways to stretch their finances as far as they’ll possibly go.
Consumers are experiencing items are costing more due to these various factors, and this won’t stop them from shopping, but they will naturally start looking for ways to stretch every dollar while also earning rewards. No longer are consumers looking for shopping apps but rather they are seeking commerce platforms. Shopping apps often have a one-way relationship with consumers – out of their wallets. Commerce platforms provide a two-way relationship, allowing consumers to not just make purchases but also reap the benefits when using the platform.
The strongest commerce platforms enable compelling experiences across all aspects of the shopping journey, providing value across the pre-, during, and post-purchase aspects. Consumers might receive an alert for a coupon or cash back reward for an item they want — this helps accelerate the point of intent, allowing a consumer to understand the value in purchasing the item at that moment. When making a purchase, offering choice at payment can be the most critical thing a shopper is looking for. They’ve secured their discount or reward and want to pay how they wish. Perhaps that is with a traditional payment method or perhaps a buy now, pay later (BNPL) plan that allows them to stretch their payment over weeks or even months. And not every purchase works out so enabling order tracking or returns directly from the platform helps solve one of the most frustrating parts of the commerce journey.
The shopping journey is just one part of being a valuable platform to a consumer’s life and helping them stretch their finances during this challenging time. The strongest commerce platforms also enable the ability to send money to friends and family locally as well as across borders to those who need it, store loyalty card information, manage pay later plans, and offer high yield savings accounts among others. It provides incredible value to consumers both when shopping and when simply trying to manage their financial lives.
The first half of 2022 has made it clear that consumers are looking for help when it comes to managing their daily financial lives. Whether that is providing rewards, new ways to pay that spread out the purchase amount or simply allowing consumers to see all of their spending in one place, it has never been more critical to provide these services now — and in the future.