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eCom21: Mobile technologies dictate the future of electronic commerce

23-Nov-2015 / Products & Services
eCom21, the IV International E-Commerce Conference , which is one of the largest in Europe, was held in Riga on 19th-20th November.

During its existence, the forum has gained the reputation of one of the most authoritative expert arenas in this area. Every year, the capital of Latvia brings together the leading representatives of global online business to discover the latest trends in the development of this rapidly evolving sector. Rietumu Bank traditionally was the patron of eCom21.

The sector of electronic commerce is one of the booming sectors in the modern world. Although it is still hard to evaluate its scope in monetary terms, the majority of experts say with confidence that at least one quarter of all global purchases are made using different online payment tools.

For most businesses, the use of the advantages of electronic commerce is a path to a significant reduction of costs related to the servicing of distribution channels or goods or services and maintenance of staff, as well as almost unlimited opportunities in creating new marketing and sales strategies, which are only limited by the boundaries of the law and the level of IT solutions. On the other hand, efficiency, expediency and convenience of e-payments is appreciated by growing numbers of end customers every minute, whose financial literacy and technological prowess are growing along with trust regarding electronic commerce.

Experts and participants of the forum attempted to analyse the topic of the forum – Processing. Payment Acceptance. Evolution of E-Commerce – from different points of view during six sessions. Special attention was devoted to such topical matters of the development of e-commerce as prospects of interaction between traditional banks and non-bank institutions handling online payments; the transformation of the role of banks in the global payment system; the future of electronic commerce from the perspective of the rapid development of mobile technologies; modification of such payment instruments as electronic wallets, and such communication channels as social media; the legal framework of online finances.

One of the main conclusions of the forum can be formulated as follows: there is no substance behind the never ending talks about the decline of the era of traditional banks in electronic commerce and the domineering influence of PSPs (Payment Service Providers). “In any case, banks stand behind the backs of payment service providers”, Igor Arefiev, Vice President of Alfa-Bank, said. “And these are banks, which take risks. They must control all the sectors and contacts of online business. PSPs can reach customers faster, they are more mobile, yet traditional banks are still the pillar of e-commerce”.

Banks not only have resources, but also financial stability, which is, inter alia, ensured through the unfaltering watch of regulators. “If we print out all the British Laws regulating the traditional financial sphere, and stack it, the height of this stack will reach 9 feet”, Craig James, Director General of NeoPay, used as an example. “All the regulatory enactments related to electronic commerce would be no more than 1 inch.”

Banks also have huge experience and practical knowledge of the industry. No doubt that along with evolutionary changes in the global financial system, the appearance of wide opportunities of non-bank crediting, the emergence of cryptocurrencies and other forms of electronic payments, the role of banks is changing as well. The question is whether banks will lead these changes or will be forced to reduce their spheres of influence, giving away entire lines of business to new players. Viktor Dostov, the Chairman of the Council of the Association of Participants of the Electronic Money Market and Cash Transfers, talked about this at the conference.

In this regard, the words said by Jon Matonis, the Founding Board Director of the Bitcoin Foundation, which he said immediately after his thanks for the invitation to speak at the conference, are quite indicative. He said that he considered Rietumu Bank to be one of the most progressive banks in the region, and, this can evidently be considered as an appreciation of the bank’s efforts not only to be in the wake of the changes in progress, but also to participate in the shaping of market trends. It should be noted that at this conference, Rietumu bank presented its answer to the evolutionary processes in e-commerce – its modern processing centre, DECTA.

As for prospects of development in electronic commerce, experts were generous with bright colours, admitting that mobile solutions and technologies set the pace in the industry.

“About 70% of active Internet users living in 29 countries throughout the world actively use the electronic environment for purchases”, Vladimir Malugin, Chairman of the Board of PayPal RU, said while presenting their recently completed research PayPal-Ipsos to the participants. “China (81%), Japan, India, UK (78% each) are leaders here. This indicator is little bit lower in Russia – 73%, yet this market showed an impressive annual growth: +10%”.

In the opinion of participants of the forum, the main task faced today by the sector of online payments, is to maximally level the payment process for the payer by offering convenient identification systems and optimising the customer experience as much as possible.

“As functionality of infrastructure and means of payments are growing, the main goal is expedience and convenience for the end customer”, Ruslan Stetsuk, the Chairman of the Steering Committee of eCom21 and the First Vice President of Rietumu Bank noted. “The payment itself must be invisible, the end customer does not need to think about it. The product purchased or the service received come to the foreground. Of course, external simplicity and easiness for the customer can be ensured only by creating much more complicated systems”.

It should be noted that eCom21 in Riga had the key figures of the modern online business as speakers, who represented names like UnionPay, MasterCard, Yandex.Money, VKontakte, Money Mail.ru, QIWI, WebMoney, PayOnline, 2CheckOut, NetElement and other Russian and western market leaders. In total, 600 professionals from the area of e-commerce, from over 40 countries of the world participated in the conference.

The general partner of eCom21 conference was ECommPay, an international provider of payment solutions.

The DECTA processing centre ensured reliable and convenient acceptance of payments.

Information partners of the forum were RBK, the Russian media holding, and Banks.eu, the financial portal. The forum was held with the support of the Association of Participants of the Electronic Money Market and Cash Transfers.

Eleonora Gailisha
Mass Media and Public Relations
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