Meet the speakers: Payoneer VP Regional Head of Europe James Allum on cyber security and growth opportunities for small businesses

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We’re joined by Linn Academy 2021 speaker James Allum, VP Regional Head, Europe — Payoneer, to discuss his take on the future of commerce, growth opportunities and more. Payoneer is the world’s go-to partner for digital commerce, everywhere. Payoneer promises any business the technology, connections and confidence to participate and flourish in the new global economy. 

Be sure to attend Linn Academy to check out James’ keynote on October 6, Grow to Sell — what you need to consider, where he’ll be joined by Carlos Abascal, CFO, Factory14. The session will be followed by a workshop.  

Here’s our conversation with James. 

Linnworks: What are your predictions for commerce in 2022?

James: An increased focus on both in-store and ecommerce cyber security. 

Seller fraud is a growing concern for online marketplaces and the potential end results are always the same: financial losses, bad buyer experience and compliance issues. 

Our data shows that fraud is increasing across all types of marketplaces, but ecommerce is taking the largest hit. To retain the consumer loyalty that brands established during the pandemic, brands will put a greater focus on ensuring that consumers feel their information and data are in safe hands. 

Growing integration between online marketplaces and physical retailers. Brands on both sides will continue to see and reap the benefits of partnering with each other to create a seamless experience for consumers. 

Linnworks: What are your biggest ecommerce challenges right now that are impeding growth? 

James: Despite its extensive potential for growth, some brands are feeling overwhelmed by the accelerated digitalization of economies that have created an urgent need for diverse, flexible technological solutions. 

These solutions allow merchants to engage with digital marketplaces whilst handling increasing volumes and remaining compliant with local regulations. On top of this, there’s the onslaught of cyber attacks on brands and the big question of how to prevent them to protect consumer and employee information. 

Linnworks: With massive growth in ecommerce, how do you see physical retail and ecommerce working together in the future? 

James: The pandemic has permanently changed the way we shop, and the surge in ecommerce activity we saw in 2020 looks set to increase in the future. We’ve also seen a growth in marketplace platforms, as consumers look for centralized shopping experiences and more inventory choice; in fact, we project digital marketplaces will reach 60% of global digital commerce volume by 2023. 

Moving forward we can expect physical retailers to partner with major online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon to integrate the platforms with in-store experiences. By partnering with Amazon to facilitate Prime returns, Kohl’s is a great example of a traditionally physical retailer capitalizing on the growing popularity of online marketplaces. 

Linnworks: What do you think are the opportunities for growth and expansion in ecommerce? 

James: The surge in ecommerce activity we saw in 2020 looks set to continue and even increase in the future — thus, allowing the amount of small businesses and merchants to grow. And those that are already established to seek opportunities for expansion.

A flourishing ecommerce landscape means that smaller merchants and shops have the opportunity to grow their customer base beyond the local environments in which they are located. 

We estimate that as many as 47% of consumers plan on increasing the amount they shop online, even after the pandemic ends. Although the pandemic has been devastating, the accelerated growth of ecommerce over the last year has opened a world of opportunities for small businesses.

Linnworks: How have you seen consumer behavior change over the past 18 months? Have you had to adapt your customer experience strategy to accommodate new consumer expectations? 

James: Consumer needs have become more urgent with runs on categories such as personal protective equipment, groceries and sporting goods. As shoppers hunted for products, the retailers that could fulfill their needs immediately were rewarded. 

Although we are beginning to move past the pandemic, the desire for inventory choice and immediate availability hasn’t changed. Retailers should be looking at the product sets consumers are eagerly seeking out at the moment. 

For example, home decorating is enjoying a huge surge with more of us conscious of our living spaces and more willing to invest in it.

Retailers should be able to accept and make payments on a global scale — in multiple currencies. Doing so will allow them to tap into resurgent markets globally.

Linn Academy

Linn Academy brings together industry experts from some of the world’s leading ecommerce platforms and marketplaces to provide the latest insights and trends from the world of online retail.