At the start of this year, online commerce trends were following a similar trajectory to 2019: eCommerce sales were steadily growing, but they were still a fraction of those at brick-and-mortar stores. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic, triggering a massive shift online as stores closed and consumers grew wary about venturing out.
There was another important but less noticed dimension to these trends as the year progressed, however. Cross-border online sales in the U.S. grew by 42 percent as a share of total eCommerce in May compared to the same time in 2019 — and the rate of growth was six times higher than in the previous month.
These statistics dramatically illustrate how consumer demands — and the supply chains that fulfill them — have shifted in just a matter of months. Consumers and businesses today are going online to find products, services and suppliers to an unprecedented degree. To meet these shifting demands, companies must develop stronger and more efficient cross-border and digital commerce operations.
PYMNTS’ latest research report, The Mastering Multichannel Commerce Playbook: Digital Payments And The Road To Growth, lays out the shifting dynamics of digital commerce — and how corporate treasurers and other finance leaders can best leverage them. The second in a series, the Playbook focuses specifically on how effective and efficient back-office payments processes are essential to adapting and thriving in a challenging global economic environment.
These circumstances have brought the importance of agility and strategy to the fore for many corporates — and they have magnified the toll inefficient and outmoded payment processes can take. The average multinational firm works with six separate banks and six currencies. These complexities can generate many points of friction, including the varying operating hours of foreign banks, the challenge of working through multiple payment intermediaries and heavy fees. These create new urgency for corporates to connect to instant 24/7 payment networks like RTP and ensure that they can meet the unique challenges of running effective eCommerce channels, including regulatory compliance, security, and driving conversion.
Another important dimension to building robust digital payments operations: They are vital to meeting the consumer demands and making supplier relationships more reliable at the time of supply chain disruptions. This is something General Electric knows well. The industrial powerhouse operates in more than 100 countries in segments that include consumer appliances, healthcare, aviation and energy production. In the Playbook’s case study, Shreya Fatehpuria, GE’s inter-company and FX payments leader, discusses why the company has embarked on a systematic digital overhaul of its cross-border payments operations and the integral role this plays in keeping supply chains running smoothly and securely in challenging times.
To learn more about the trends and technologies transforming global commerce, download the report.
About The Playbook
The Mastering Multichannel Commerce Playbook Digital Payments And The Road To Growth, a collaboration with Citi, examines how digital technologies enable companies to forge stronger relationships with consumers, business customers and suppliers.