The evolving payments-related needs of companies moving online is spurring innovation in various ways.
For Stripe, a key focus in enabling companies to accept payments, send payouts and manage their businesses online, is supporting sectors that are newer to e-commerce. Healthcare and education, for example, have had to rethink the way they interact with customers in response to Covid-19. This has resulted in concepts such as “telehealth” and “edutech” which, in turn, must adopt new approaches and practices to accept payments from their customers.
The rewards for developing the right payment solutions are clear. Tessari pointed to Mr Yum as an example in the hospitality industry which uses a mobile menu and ordering system that saw 10-times customer growth through the pandemic. Stripe also enabled Coviu, a telehealth business, to facilitate 25,000 video consultations a day during the pandemic. Coviu uses Stripe to bill its customers – the doctors – who then use the platform to bill end-users.
It isn’t just the tech players innovating; traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers in Australia have also had to adapt. With consumers now making purchases in person as well as online, there is strong demand to unify payment options. “We've seen an increasing client focus on identifying opportunities for optimisation, product differentiation and new business models,” said Tessari.
The approach of companies in different sectors to some extent reflects different aims of start-ups and tech companies compared with those of more established businesses.
According to Khatib, start-ups and tech companies tend to focus on growth and enhancing the end-consumer experience – increasingly leveraging application programming interfaces (APIs) to do so. “These are good tools to send on-demand trigger payments to beneficiaries.”
APIs are also relatively quick and low in cost to implement, making them suitable for relatively more cost-conscious start-ups and their objective to improve customer engagement through new business models. “These firms just need to get online simply and, depending on their level of sophistication, may benefit from the use of low- or no-code solutions,” added Tessari.
To help some start-ups pivot and reinvent themselves in the digital space, e-commerce platforms like Shopify and Magento provide simple steps to create a virtual marketplace. They allow a user to develop an online shop that aligns with their individual brand or embed finance solutions to make the payment experience as simple as possible, too.
Meanwhile, for more established firms, a common goal is to centralise existing cash management activities. “They consolidate payments, either over a week fortnight, and sometimes a month, to have better control over cash flow, as well as to minimise overall transaction costs,” added Khatib.
Catering to cross-border expansion
There are also emerging payment needs for companies operating across borders:
- Predictability – in terms of the settlement cycle, to understand how much time it takes for the beneficiary to receive funds.
- Transparency – across transaction fees, as well as FX and all other charges.
- Visibility – in terms of the payment lifecycle journey, given the multiple correspondent banks involved.
Meeting these requirements can help companies tackle more specific challenges involved with expanding overseas.
With tax an increasingly important consideration, for example, being able to collect sales tax based on differing rates across each market – and without it being excessively time-consuming – demands solutions such as Stripe Tax - an automated process to collect tax in over 30 markets.
Another familiar issue for businesses entering a new market is setting up essentials such as banking, accounting, payroll and cloud computing as quickly and easily as possible. Stripe also offers the capability to plug this gap.