As the evolution of payments accelerates, the connection between social giants and commerce platforms continues to deepen.

Chief Marketing Officer at Rapyd, Marc Winitz, spoke to PaymentExpert about the significance of TikTok’s entry into the space and how he believes e-commerce will continue to expand. 

PaymentExpert: Tell us a little more about Rapyd and what it is you offer as a firm? 

Marc Winitz: Rapyd is a fintech-as-a-service platform that empowers businesses to focus on growth without worrying about building complex payment infrastructures and managing local compliance regulations. As the digital world of commerce expands, Rapyd is built to respond and meet the dynamic financial needs of businesses. Rapyd’s easy-to-use platform makes collecting and disbursing payments using local payment methods that businesses and consumers prefer, eliminating what used to be a logistical and regulatory challenge, easy. 

Rapyd handles the complex payment infrastructure, licensing and compliance to allow businesses to focus on growing their main lines of service.

Currently, Rapyd’s Global Payments Network works with several hundred local payment types in over 100 countries including local and international cards, bank transfers, ewallets and even cash – making it easy for any businesses, regardless of its size to expand globally with the Rapyd platform.

As more global shoppers turn to online shopping, for example by transacting in marketplaces, payments must support how buyers pay locally. Providing local payment methods drives more conversions.

PE: What do you believe that TikTok’s entry means for the e-commerce space? 

MW: The intersection between social and commerce platforms is strengthening – the last several years have seen the rise of hugely impactful social media influencers. Much like when Instagram entered the space, there is huge advertising and sales growth potential for companies that find the right influencer with which to partner. More and more online retailers are turning to influencer marketing with over 60% of these businesses working with influencers based on a recent survey.

Tiktok is moving to compete actively with Facebook and Instagram for monetized content, product promotion and in-app purchasing. TikTok has 689 million users worldwide and thus, provides an enormous opportunity for retailers to drive sales as consumers pay attention to influencer recommendations and product usage.

The fact that TikTok is a wildly popular global platform means that brands will now be seeing increased traffic from countries that previously may not have been a priority for them, but nonetheless offer a substantial revenue opportunity – but without a website and payment infrastructure that offers a local payment experience to facilitate these sales, business will lose out on real revenue opportunities.

PE: What can TikTok and other firms similar to this do to maximize their entry into e-commerce and how important is their payment offering? 

MW: TikTok and platforms similar to it offer significant benefits to brands that choose to use them for marketing and sales generation.

Giving consumers that are just browsing the option to shop instantly streamlines the path to purchase – thereby shortening the customer journey. Reducing barriers to purchase and offering a simplified, shorter purchasing and checkout process leads to greater conversions and revenue.

If someone is looking at content and especially if they have actively searched for it, they are far more likely to make a purchase than someone who is fed an ad and expected to visit a third-party site.

Conversions and sales that can be attributed to content are much easier to track. Retailers can calculate conversions and monitor click-throughs to products to see where modifications are required to improve ROI.

PE: Can you tell us more about the role you believe fintech plays in enabling new firms to enter the e-commerce space? 

MW: As online shopping has become more and more pervasive, the path to streamlined purchasing has become increasingly important.

Fintech companies that can offer integrated payments technology in a seamless way, that make the overall customer experience easy and localized for consumers to use are having success. For example, selling to consumers in Indonesia requires the ability to present payment options in dozens of local ewallets as this is how consumers pay for goods and services. Similarly, cash heavy markets Mexico or the Philippines, providing consumers a way to pay for digital transactions using cash with a methodology that can convert physical currency that can be digitally used is key.

Agility matters as businesses have learned that they must be able to quickly adapt to new consumer shopping and payment requirements due to the COVID pandemic. This is evidenced by the significant increase in ecommerce activity we have witnessed over the past 12 months. Effectively, COVID made the transition from physical to digital shopping compress from a timeframe of years to months and this has been supported through easy to deploy technology that enables digital and omni-channel shopping experiences.

Fintech as a service enables sellers to accept payments from more customers around the world. Credit Cards aren’t always the preferred payment method, both to the four billionconsumers globally that don’t use this payment method type, as well as for B2B applications. To succeed globally B2B businesses need a Cards+ strategy that includes payment methods like bank transfers, e-wallets and cash that can be converted to support digital applications for both accepting and sending payments.

PE: As firms look for a global footprint what are some of the challenges in international payments? 

MW: We firmly believe that the key to success outside of your home market is an understanding of consumer behaviour, local payment methods and the ability to provide a seamless customer experience.  In order to capitalise on the plethora of global opportunities out there, businesses need to drive the development of borderless transactions.

Effectively delivering fast disbursements to global sellers in their preferred payment method remains a challenge for many businesses.

Typically providing this service requires building an entire payout infrastructure – one that can handle diverse needs, integration with new systems, and is in keeping with licensing and compliance for each market a business enters.

In addition, security and fraud protection are of concern for international marketplaces as omnichannel experiences and contactless, rapid payments continue to improve. Having adequate security features, including fraud prevention capabilities beyond just protecting card transactions will be a focus for the sector moving forward.