World-class commercial infrastructure: how SMEs can compete with retail’s global giants

December 20, 2021

Using a world-class commercial infrastructure to excel in ecommerce

Imagine an Olympic sprinter taking to the track in cowboy boots, or a Formula One driver revving onto the circuit in a beat-up old banger. It might seem ridiculous, but running a company without the right commercial infrastructure is exactly the same. Why? Because setting your commercial foundations properly is vital to powering your customer over their journey’s finish line.

It’s no secret that the giants of retail can have hundreds of people in their payments and commerce teams. These teams help to provide expert insights and support growth. Small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs), on the other hand, might only have a small finance team who also handle numerous other tasks. So, how can these more modest-sized firms compete?

At Mollie we believe that, with the right strategies in place, SMEs are more capable than even before of competing or even outclassing the industry’s global leaders. Working with more than 125,000 merchants, we’ve identified four dimensions that are necessary for them to do that. In the second of a series of articles focusing on these different factors, we’ll show how creating a world-class commercial infrastructure can drive success.

How to create a world class infrastructure

Making payments work for you

Ecommerce’s growth might have started in the dot-com era, but the pandemic has accelerated it exponentially. Couple these world events with the rise of ecommerce platforms and omnichannel retail and it’s clear – the industry is having a moment.

What this also means is that consumers have never had it so good: they get seamless personalisation, remarkable experiences, low prices, and more. So, they expect the same when it’s time to pay. As technology gets smarter, more customers expect effortless service. And, for businesses, technology doesn’t just help make customers happier, it makes them more agile.

So, how do you create a world-class commercial infrastructure?

1. Technology is key

The right tools are imperative for creating a robust commercial infrastructure. Technology is a key ally in helping you do this. Nowadays, advanced tools can be ‘rented’ at a small proportion of the previous cost, while payment service providers (PSPs) can deliver the payment infrastructure necessary to help customers feel confident to buy ­– and return. If possible, bring together a strategic team to assess exactly what’s needed for your business, and make sure that you’re choosing the right technology or partner that can meet all those requirements.

2. Integrate your cutting-edge tools

It’s essential that your commercial infrastructure communicates with the other technology your business uses. When everything is integrated, it produces something that is more than the sum of all the parts: a centralised solution that allows flexibility and works efficiently. That means you get more robust data, can automate tasks, and make more effective decisions without wasting time.

3. Implement a conversion-optimised checkout

Imagine mixing all the ingredients you need to make a cake and then leaving them in the bowl. It’s all well and good having all the elements you need to attract customers and convince them to spend, but it’s ultimately useless if your checkout doesn’t instil the confidence they need to finalise a purchase. Whether it’s optimising for mobile or fixing technical issues, you should avoid giving a potential customer any reason to abandon their cart when they’re about to buy. In fact, we have a comprehensive guide to optimising checkout conversion rates.

Mollie checkout

4. Offer the payment methods your customers prefer

Everyone talks about credit and debit cards, but that’s not how many consumers and businesses choose to pay in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, and Latin America. In fact, it’s really only in the US that cards still reign supreme. That means you need to offer the payment methods your customers want to use, whether that’s iDEAL, Sofort, Klarna, or mobile wallets. Providing the payment option your customer prefers earns their trust, boosting conversion and brand loyalty.

5. Enable international expansion

SMEs are no longer limited by geography, ecommerce has changed that. The figures say it all, with Statista forecasting that EU cross-border ecommerce revenue will hit around €200bn in 2022. Nowadays, borders are becoming obsolete, and to take advantage of growth opportunities you need to be able to serve customers in other countries. That means conducting research to understand the market and serve its needs – whether that’s locally popular payment methods or stress-free shipping and returns.

6. Implement rapid reconciliation

It might not sound all that exciting, but the quick, seamless reconciliation of payments means your incomings and outgoings are always up to date. This will help you keep track of your business’s financial health, preventing banking fees and allowing more control of your budgets. More importantly, it gives you the confidence – or the caution – to make business-critical decisions at speed.

Mollie payment transfer

Why an on-point commercial infrastructure is a must-have

It goes without saying, but your commercial infrastructure should never be an afterthought. Instead, it’s a central pillar of any business’s success. By using the tech and partnerships that are now more easily available to businesses, you can make customers happy and make sure they return, maximising sales and powering growth.

At Mollie, our mission is to help you grow. We do that with an effortless payment product that helps you deliver exceptional customer service, drive loyalty and understand customer behaviour. Contact us to learn more, or discover more tips to grow your business.