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еCom21 Conference in Riga: New Horizons and Methods of E-Commerce

23-Nov-2017, 17:00 / Products & Services Last weekend, eCom21 international conference was completed in Riga, having become one of the most noticeable and expected events in the field of e-commerce.

Hundreds of professionals of this industry from all over the world discussed the most important trends of e-commerce, formulated their forecasts for the future, shared their experience in using the latest solutions for business promotion and strengthened their business ties.

eCom21 conference was held for the sixth time in succession, invariably with the support of Rietumu Bank. This year, there were almost 700 participants from more than 20 countries.

The keynote subject of the 2017 conference was: “E-Commerce HD 2 – Homo Digitalis in High Definition.”

The participants were discussing the possibilities of promoting business by taking into consideration one of the most significant tendencies - the growing accent on the needs and requirements of a human being, as a consumer, client and customer, when planning business development. Professionals of business exchanged opinions on the technologies to be applied for successful implementation of such strategy and the way of applying them, both today and in the near future.

The format of the conference, the practical focus of meetings and discussions have provided extensive opportunities for active and fruitful communication, new acquaintances and useful business contacts.

“The number of forum participants is growing with every year. There are many of those who have been with us for the sixth year in succession, but I am also glad to see many new faces. And all of us have reason to be proud of this conference, which has become an irreplaceable event. Figuratively speaking, it is both an English club, where one likes to go for communicating with like-minded persons, and an eastern bazaar, where one can find everything he might need. An example of this is a dozen and a half exhibition stands, which represent practically all trends of e-commerce. It is also a kind of Roman forum, where recognised experts, from whom one can learn a lot, hold their speeches,” said the Executive Director of the conference Ilya Shevchenko at the opening ceremony.

“At previous conferences, we spoke about different trends of e-commerce – the entertainment industry, the new formation of money, the future of payments, the interpenetration of East and West. There is a human being behind all of this, our customer, for the sake of whom we keep working day by day, creating new businesses and developing advanced solutions. So, let us continue developing e-commerce of the future for the human being of the digital age,” said Ilya Shevchenko, appealing to the forum’s participants.

Vladimir Pankratov, Head of Sales of the Latvian processing company DECTA, shared interesting data with eCom21 participants on preferences of the so-called Y generation. He provided figures according to which 92% of this generation’s people do not trust traditional banks and 45% prefer using alternative fintech services. One third of Europeans have no payment cards and one fifth of this population do not want to open accounts in banks.

Banks, in the opinion of Vladimir Pankratov, have wide opportunities for using outsourcing a lot, including in the field of processing - such an approach allows one to maximally concentrate on their main business and develop it efficiently. “The intention to take all services in-house, in order to control them fully, has become irretrievably obsolete and does not bring a satisfactory result,” said the representative of DECTA.

Jaroslav Zamullo, Head of the Legal Department of Rietumu Bank, has provided a survey on legislative changes due on the e-commerce market next year. PSD2 и GDPR Regulations taking effect, amendments to MIFIR / MIFID II certainly aim at the protection of interests of European consumers of financial services – this is the essence of their advanced nature. At the same time, the speaker noted that their implementation will require additional financial investments from the market participants, which will affect the cost of services. And this is one of the inevitable consequences of stiffening of the legislative regulation that all parties will have to take into account.

The regular participant of the forum, CEO of NeoPay Ltd Craig James drew attention to global changes in connection with Brexit. “Regardless of how it will look - tough, soft, pragmatic, open or any other, business will still have a 2 or 3 year transitional period. During this period, it is possible to transfer a business to another country, receive new licences, open companies or offices and take other required steps. And meanwhile, do not hurry to spend your money and enjoy viewing the chaos caused by politicians,” said Craig James.

Director of FinTech Centre at Skolkovo Foundation Pavel Novikov said how they, in this largest technological park of Europe, learnt to solve one of the biggest problems of a startup - it being ignored on the part of big participants of the market. “By collecting profile pools of startups and offering them to big companies, such as banks and insurance companies, we provide a possible contact between founders of startups and top managers of large corporations. This is a very much required service.”

Martins Valters, Co-founder of the platform of mutual lending Mintos, one of the recognised Latvian fintech startups, noted rapid development of the industry of P2P lending. “One hundred years ago it was impossible to borrow money without a personal meeting between a borrower and a lender. Today we have practically returned to the same situation – one-on-one meeting, but this time it takes place on the internet, on the Р2Р Lending platform. The future is for platforms that will be capable of providing the highest efficiency and transparency of deals,” said Martins Valters.

Another speaker of the eCom21 forum was also Ilya Kretov, General Manager, Russia and Emerging Europe, for eBay. “eBay, as a market place, performs two main functions: we connect sellers and buyers and provide the required level of trust, for a deal between them to take place or, if this is not the case, for both parties to get out of it with no losses. Generally speaking, a market place is not just a modern multifunctional trading platform, which secures operation of businesses; often there are whole business that are established under a market place,” emphasised Ilya Kretov.

In turn, Alex Vassiliev, Regional Director of Cainiao (Alibaba Group), provided several impressive figures that illustrate the company operation. “Alibaba Group today is 30 million buyers, 6 million merchant accounts and 500 million users of the payment system. At last week’s sales, the company set a new record and processed 812 million applications during 24 hours. I am sure that the crossborder e-commerce has bright prospects.”

And Chairman of Latvijas Pasts Marcis Vilcans noted that next year the company would please receivers of parcels from abroad by a specialised application for smartphones, which may be used for choosing the delivery form.

Victor Dostov, President of the Russian Electronic Money and Remittance Association (REMA), gave his forecasts regarding the consequences of implementation of the PSD2 payment regulation. Regulators are used to thinking in terms of price regulations, not caring much about the consequences. This regulation threatens to cut interfaces for banks, in order to transfer them to payment systems. However, if the banks still choose to compete with fintech companies, it is hard to say whether the latter will survive,” said the expert.

“For me, the real Chinese economic miracle is the speed at which this country has managed to pass the “on-ground acquiring” epoch and master mobile payments,” said Yury Ivanov, Director of eCommerce at VKontakte, the biggest social network in Russia. “WeChat messenger provides all instruments for making purchases inside it, practically invisibly and maximally conveniently and profitably for its users. The WeChatisation of e-commerce is a powerful trend of industry development for the coming years.”

Yuri Berchenko, High-Profile Customers Manager in the Retail Sector for Google Russia, emphasised the importance of speed of service provision. “A modern consumer wants the services to be provided to him faster, more accurately and closer. We owe the changes in consumer preferences to the development of mobile technologies. According to the polls, 53% of users will leave a website, if it is loading for more than 3 seconds, and 97% of potential buyers will refuse to make an online purchase, if they are asked to complete too many fields in the payment form.”

A separate session at eCom21 was devoted to topical subjects of cybersecurity and cryptocurrencies. Denis Mateev, Head of ESET (the oldest antivirus vendor in the world) in Russia and the CIS countries, said that the financial sector is the second (the first being state bodies) in the top most attractive industries for cyber-attacks. Malware programs, social engineering, usage of web- and software vulnerabilities, DDoS, discrediting of account data - all of these tools are used by cybercriminals actively and, what is even more important, quite successfully. In his opinion, for big financial companies, in such a situation, it is more expedient to use complex solutions developed for the specific needs of each organisation.

Aleksey Pospekhov, Head of GR & PR, ICONIC.VC, touched upon the subject of cryptocurrencies. “As of today, three countries have created the most favourable conditions for their development and have won due to this fact,” said the expert. “Switzerland, which legalised bitcoin as far back as in 2014, has already attracted over 600 million euros into its economy. Japan has about a half of the world trading of cryptocurrencies. Starting from 1 January next year, Gibraltar is getting ready to join the club of crypto-developed countries, and this has already raised interest in this country on the part of advocates of cryptocurrencies.

Currently, there are 900 cryptocurrencies in the world, and their value is about USD 200 billion. Thereat, in relation to the world’s monetary assets, the volume of which is estimated as USD 85 trillion, cryptocurrencies have a small share of about 0.2% and have a huge potential for growth. Such data were provided by Liza Aizupiete, Co-Founder of Globitex, in her report.

“Bitcoin, which occupies about a half of the market of cryptocurrencies, is a unique tool that unites plenty of opportunities. This is one’s own bank (enjoy being your own bank), and an accessible instrument for investing, and a method of payment, which is already accepted at 100 thousand POS all over the world. And finally, cryptocurrencies open the way to ICO (Initial Coin Offering) - the manifestation of “pure unlicensed capitalism”, according to the apt words of the main guru of cryptocurrencies Jon Matonis,” said Liza Aizupiete.

At eCom21, data were also provided on the volume of funds attracted through ICO in 2017 – EUR 3 billion.

Rietumu eCom21 is the largest international conference in the field of e-commerce in the Baltic states. It is visited by hundreds of participants from the Baltic states, Central, Eastern and Western Europe, CIS countries, Asia and other regions of the world. Every year heads of internationally recognised companies, e-commerce experts and business sharks are invited to the forum. The conference is held under the patronage of Rietumu Bank.

The chief partner of the eCom21 conference is the international processing company DECTA . It provides a high-tech service for internet acquiring, processing and issuing of payment cards. It works with banks, payment service providers and corporate clients all over the world.

Eleonora Gailisha
Mass Media and Public Relations
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