Interview by Laida Limniati
PayPal announced yesterday the extension of the Seller Protection Program in a number of markets across Europe, Greece is among them. The program covered previously tangible goods and now also covers intangibles such as services (for instance, design, education or photography etc.), tickets (to concerts, shows, sport events, etc.), and travel (flights, hotel bookings, etc.).
Matt Komorowski, Managing Director in PayPal Northern & Central Europe answered questions of selected journalists across the CEE region about the new extension and shared his views and vision of PayPal for eCommerce in general, among other things.
Regarding the difference between intangible goods and tangibles, as far as the seller is concerned, Matt Komorowski mentioned that it’s simply that the seller does not have to physically ship them. “We have a lot of innovative companies, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, which sell intangible goods or services not just domestically but also globally across the world and they often use PayPal to accept payments from over 200 countries where they operate. This includes such important area for Greece as tourism. I am happy to say, that travel and tourism (things like travel tickets or hotel bookings) are now covered by our Seller Protection Program”, he mentioned.
As far as the chargeback procedure is concerned, Matt Komorowski believes that the extension of Seller Protection Program is going to upgrade the level of security and comfort for sellers, who sell products with last minute offer. “Since it is a time when a lot of fraud occurs, companies become more careful about what they sell and how. This affects process and user experience. Having additional protection from PayPal, sellers will know that their transaction can go through more safely. Which will let them increasing sales. When a chargeback comes from a bank, one of PayPal’s agents picks it up. The agent contacts seller asking for more information regarding the purchase such as proof of shipment or delivery. The seller has a time frame for reply within which he needs to provide proof of the shipment. And if everything is ok, he will get covered for the amount of his eligible transaction”.
In regards to markets where PayPal is active, Matt Komorowski expressed his satisfaction about PayPal’s performance in markets where the program is extended – these are 18 countries across Central Europe and Middle East. “All the things that we have launched recently like One Touch service which enables paying from one device with one click or PayPal.me are available in most of the markets in Central and Eastern Europe. The same when it comes to launch of our new app – it was done in Greece simultaneously with other countries. There is a lot of potential in those market. The pace of growth and dynamics show that CEE is a region on which we want to focus and invest”.
Talking about Greece, Matt Komorowski noticed that a couple of things have changed with the capital controls in the eCommerce field. “When the Greek Government imposed capital controls, people were trying to find a way to perform transactions and to buy things online and consequently they discovered that PayPal was one of their options. Hence, the estimation that PayPal became more popular as an option of payment in Greece after that is correct”. Regarding Greek sellers, Matt Komorowski mentioned that there are actually a lot of sellers who are active not only domestically, but they are also accepting payments globally.
When it comes to PayPal’s partnerships, Matt Komorowski mentioned: “We work with many partners that provide services; either they are big global partners or domestic ones. They are important for us in achieving main goals: firstly, we want to make it easier for people to transfer money between each other and enable them buying online anywhere they want; secondly, we want to help merchants to sell their products online not only domestically but also internationally. Therefore, PayPal accepts over 54 currencies and operates on over 200 markets. Among other services, we provide our customers with Refunded Returns service, that makes them even less worried about outcome of the shopping – in case something doesn’t fit, they can get a refund of return shipping cost from us.
With an extension of the Seller Protection Program, merchants get additional opportunity to extend their businesses to new industries and extend their sales to new markets. For companies that are not using PayPal yet it can become a valuable starting point for cross-border business. Last year, PayPal processed 354 billion US dollars in payments and we have over 16 million merchants”.
Regarding markets where PayPal is one of the main platforms for online shopping, Matt Komorowski mentions, “in general, a lot of our business comes from U.S., China, U.K or, Germany and this is quite natural outcome because those markets have one of the biggest share in a global eCommerce. It is linked together. When we talk to our customers about reasons why they use PayPal, they mention different ones. First of all, users do not have to share their financial details with anybody, besides PayPal. Secondly, they mention benefits of Buyer Protection. For instance, if buyer does not receive the purchase, paid via PayPal or he is not satisfied with it, while seller is not willing to resolve the issue, PayPal intermediates to resolve the dispute. Besides, using just one account you can buy from around the world. PayPal One enables users pay safely with one click across different mobile apps or websites. We see this is exactly what people expect as 50 million consumers have now opted-in.”
Concerning fraud, Matt Komorowski mentions that it is natural the number of deceit cases to rise as more and more people shop online. But with PayPal’s security system which has visibility of both sides of the transaction speed, PayPal stays secure. One of tools for customers’ security and trust are Buyer and Seller Protection Programs: “So, if for instance there is a fraudulent buyer and the transaction was fraudulent, we ensure seller won’t lose money and vice versa.”
In terms of the EMEA region, Matt Komorowski thinks that the rise of eCommerce in general is one of the biggest successes to come. M. Komorowski mentions: ”It is not only for PayPal, but for eCommerce in general – if we look at EMEA region as a whole, you have some big centers like UK and Germany where 15% of their retail transactions are done online. In many other countries, like Central and Eastern Europe, it is 9 or 10%, but it is constantly growing and it may soon catch up with Western Europe. The second thing I see happening, not only in EMEA region but also globally, is the opening of new eCommerce channels that didn’t exist in the past. We call it social or contextual commerce – it allows buying from platforms where is no e-shop or “shopping basket”. For instance, people can buy things directly from Pinterest. It works easily. You see a pair of shoes that you like. You can click “Buy now” button and without being redirected anywhere, you can buy this pair of shoes from the merchant that sells the product. The same thing is happening with email etc. ”.
Regarding the launch of Seller Protection’s extension timing, Matt Komorowski commented: “eCommerce is becoming a large part of retail. More and more transactions are happening and more people buy online. People need to believe they are safe, not only on the buyer’s side, but also on the sellers’ side. This goes hand in hand with above-mentioned growth of eCommerce. Providing security to sellers’ ensures that eCommerce will continue to grow. Of course, we also believe that number of sellers, who are using PayPal, will increase since we added an extra layer of safety.”
Interestingly enough, Matt Komorowski mentioned that one of the biggest competitors of PayPal is actually cash. “Slowly, slowly we see cash disappearing. Of course, this is not going to happen overnight. But as mentioned, the main advantage of digital transactions is actually to convince that cash is inconvenient. People are looking for convenience – they don’t want to look for banks, ATMs or remember to have cash. There are many different things that are turning people away from that and they are looking for solutions that are more secure and more convenient. However cash is still the biggest competitor and at the same time the biggest opportunity.”
Matt Komorowski promised that there are a lot of things to come from PayPal in the near future: “I wish I knew what the future holds, but we are constantly working on new things. A few times per year we are announcing new services. Greece is one of priority markets for us in the region and we are constantly trying to understand what are merchants’ and buyers’ needs on this market and discover ways to address it. I can’t tell you right now what we are planning for the future but for sure there are many things to come.” Stay tuned!