Merchants' ambition to optimise the payment choice – exclusive insights from Mollie

Friday 5 March 2021 07:22 CET | Editor: Anda Kania | Interview

Ken Serdons, CCO at Mollie: SME merchants are now aware of their strengths and how to play to them, providing relevant and credible alternatives to larger retailers

Earlier this year, Mollie launched a research on how adopting a growth mindset has given ecommerce merchants a competitive edge. Could you please share several key takeaways and go a bit in-depth on explaining the results? 

We surveyed 2,500 merchants with 34% of those surveyed demonstrating that their organisation has a growth mindset. Our key findings included:

Merchants with a growth mindset tend to generate more annual revenue from ecommerce

  • European merchants adopting a growth mindset generated an average of 17% more annual revenue from ecommerce than fixed mindset merchants;
  • in the UK, the difference was even greater, with British growth mindset merchants generating nearly a quarter (24%) more revenue from ecommerce than their fixed mindset counterparts.

Growth mindset merchants are more internationally focused.

  • 46% of fixed mindset merchants are focused purely domestically, whereas only 38% of growth mindset merchants serve just their domestic market. 
  • growth mindset merchants offer an average of 4 payment methods compared to 3 from fixed mindset merchants. In particular, growth mindset merchants seem to have embraced new innovations like ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) more than their fixed mindset competitors (25% vs. 20%).

Reduced cart abandonment rates.

  • on average, merchants report that 9.2% of carts are abandoned in their webshops. The trend is higher for fixed mindset merchants, 9.4%, and lower for growth mindset merchants at 8.8%.
  • this is due to being more likely to track abandonment and develop their abilities to address the root causes. While a difference in cart abandonment of 0.6% doesn’t sound like much, for the average-sized growth mindset merchant this is worth 65,000 Euros per year. 

Moreover, what prompted you to think of such a topic for a research, as it’s something quite outstanding in the industry? 

Looking at our own customer base, where we believe that every merchant has the opportunity to grow, we wanted to test a hypothesis that there is a fundamental attitude within a merchant that pre-determines their success. 

Over 30 years ago Dr. Carol Dweck, now a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, coined the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset, describing the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. Individuals with a growth mindset know that abilities and intelligence can be developed, therefore are more likely to take on challenges, learn from the process and further their capabilities. This means they are usually more successful than those with a fixed mindset. 

We wanted to replicate this at an organisational level for merchants and fundamentally this is about merchants learning from each other to drive continual improvements.

With regards to the payment methods trends currently shaping the commerce industry, we have noticed emerging payment options rivalling the more traditional ones, such as A2A payments vs. card payments, or BNPL vs. credit cards.  What can you tell us about the innovation in this space and what are trends you see coming this year?  

BNPL has become a successful alternative payment method indeed and the growth of companies such as Klarna illustrates this well.

This type of payment option solves a problem for both consumers and webshops. That is why we see so much traction. Consumers are looking for flexible financing options and more secure ways to pay, particularly with the ongoing pandemic which continues to be challenging for lots of people. 

BNPL is already regulated in markets outside of the UK. While regulation is often seen as restrictive, it is also a good opportunity for innovative players to optimise their products to ensure the experience for consumers is as smooth and secure as possible. It will also help protect vulnerable consumers which is also in the best interest of the webshop.
Those webshops are increasingly looking for ways to attract more customers and increase conversion at checkout. Offering the right payment methods in each market does exactly that. 

Do you have any insights into how merchants with no online presence have been helped amid COVID-19, more precisely, how Mollie supported them in this matter? 

The shift of many brick-and-mortar shops online has put a spotlight on what SMEs can offer. SME merchants are now aware of their strengths and how to play to them, providing relevant and credible alternatives to larger retailers. These merchants are uniquely positioned to offer a more personalised and local approach than larger competitors. They have in-depth product knowledge, access to specific customer groups, deep customer knowledge and local stock – all of which are very appealing to consumers. 

As a PSP, Mollie’s principal job is to help our customers grow via providing useful integrations and technology, offering support to merchants irrespective of size and taking a local approach to each market. 

The majority of our customer base are small-medium-sized businesses that don’t have the large departments that the big corporates do. So our customers look to us to optimise their payments:

Checkout conversion: We advise customers and provide them with the tools to improve their checkout experience and prioritise the correct payment methods. 

Reporting and analytics: Mollie provides easy to use dashboards to customers. We also help a large number of offline merchants sell online, which is facilitated through simple onboarding, customer support and integrations with ecommerce platforms, and by using SaaS plug-ins.

And to further support our UK customers, we have recently launched a weekly newsletter targeted at UK merchants that sell cross-border. This includes best practices, case studies, key developments and useful resources on Brexit and international expansion.

What technology trends do you think will influence the performance of merchants and the customer experience in 2021?

SME merchants will be supported more by platforms offered via a software as a service (SaaS) model. SaaS helps streamline elements of an SME’s business, including lowering costs, increasing scalability and providing technical upgrades. 

Through SaaS, smaller merchants can focus more on their core responsibilities and growth, all the while improving the customer experience process. This is even more important during times of uncertainty.

From our side, Mollie works with a variety of SaaS companies that we integrate. Magento Store payments is one example. This is a simple plugin that is continuously updated to offer customers all major global and local payment methods, the ability to checkout using preferred currency as well as greater transparency, and real-time insights. 

With a EUR 90 mln funding round in 2020 and plans of expanding its focus towards UK-based merchants, it’s fair to say that Mollie has had a good roadmap so far.  Could you please reveal more details on what the funding will be used for and, if possible, some forward-looking plans to innovate, payment needs/issues you’re looking to solve this year? 

We care for our customers and our ambition is to continue to make online payments as effortless as possible for them. We do this through our product and innovation calendar which we will consistently update throughout the year. This is our driving force along with the growth in ecommerce and our own growth (120% YoY). As a result of the latter, we are actively looking to recruit the best talent to further our ambition to become the most loved PSP in Europe. We will continue to expand our product and engineering teams to keep us delivering new products for merchants across Europe.

In addition, we just recently announced our expansion to the UK. Here our focus is helping more UK merchants succeed in Europe in a post-Brexit environment. And we will continue to use our funding to further the acceleration of our international expansion to capture growth in existing and new markets. 

About Ken Serdons

Ken is Chief Commercial Officer at Mollie and leads on the international expansion of the company. Before joining Mollie he was a Senior Executive at Worldpay and Paymentsense where he was responsible for the launch of new products and innovations for the UK market. Ken started his career at McKinsey & Company.



About Mollie

Mollie is a pioneer in the payment industry. The company is also one of the fastest-growing payment processors within Europe. Mollie facilitates companies of all sizes to scale and grow by using different payment methods. With the help of a simple and clear payments-API, Mollie can offer multiple payment methods in a uniform way. Mollie is there to simplify complex financial services. At this stage, Mollie has more than 110,000 customers in Europe and its mission is to become the most loved PSP in Europe. Mollie comprises an international team of more than 350 professionals, has its headquarters in Amsterdam and offices across Europe including London, Munich and Paris.

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Keywords: Mollie, SMEs, merchants, ecommerce, payment methods
Categories: Payments & Commerce | Online Payments
Countries: Europe
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce