Interviews

Adyen's Hayashi: “Payments is not a one-size-fits-all business”

By Aman Kler

Warren Hayashi, president of Adyen Asia Pacific, a global payments platform, talks about how the company differs from its competitors in the market, the role of consumer experience, and its unified commerce solution.

  • Adyen Asia Pacific aims to address the shift in merchant needs towards enhancing consumer experience
  • Warren Hayashi explains how Adyen differs from banks and other payment service providers
  • He emphasised the need to tailor all channels around the same consumer

Adyen is a payment gateway that facilitates payments across in-store and online channelsto enhance customer experience through a unified commerce solution, which facilitates the creation of a well-integrated customer experience across all channels and platforms. It offers merchants a comprehensive view of their consumers, which can serve as basis of value-added services, such as loyalty programmes and customised interactions with customers. Adyen has clients that include new economy companies like Facebook, Uber, Netflix and Spotify. It has processed $122 billion in volume for merchants in 2017, a 61% increase from 2016, resulting in $1.14 billion in annual revenue in 2017, or $400 million higher than the previous year.


Warren Hayashi, president of Asia Pacific, Adyen

Warren Hayashi, president of Adyen Asia Pacific, claims that the company is one of the few to offer comprehensive solutions, from the front-end to the back-end, internationally.The company has expanded from Europe to the US and Asia Pacific, further differentiating it from other competitors in the payments space. Having recently unveiled its unified commerce solution in Singapore, Adyen is poised to capitalise on the “substantial opportunity” in the region.

In the Asia Pacific region, there is a growing popularity of cashless payments, as increased competition in the arena has led to the availability of a variety of payment options. China is currently at the forefront of this development due to the popularity of mobile payments, with large players like Alipay and WeChat Pay dominating the market. In Southeast Asia, the large population of the unbanked and high mobile penetration rate have led to the proliferation of digital wallets such as GCash in the Philippines. However, the growth in demand is uneven between countries, with cash remaining the payment method of choice in some areas due to security concerns and lack of infrastructure or knowledge.

The Adyen difference

According to Hayashi, Adyen is better suited than banks in offering unified payment solutions in two ways. First, he claims that Adyen is more agile in the integration and addition of new technologies and functionalities, due to its nature as a technology company. Second, he asserts that the company operates with a more responsive, customer-centric approach. Instead of creating new payment methods as banks do, the company adds payment methods based on the demands of its customers, with more than 200 local payment methods, such as Alipay or UnionPay in China or the Doku Wallet in Indonesia, being added to its platform. Hewent on to contend that Adyen is able to offer a globalised unified payment solution, further gaining an edge over banks: “I don’t think there is any bank that can cover the payments processing globally, because of how they have grown through acquisitions. So, it’s about simplifying. It’s about making sure that we can offer the payments processing through the next ten countries on the same platform, in-store and online.”

Hayashi also emphasised that Adyen differs from PayPal, where Hayashi was previously employed,offering an integrated platform to give merchants greater control of the end-to-end user experience through multiple payment methods. “Payments is not a one-size-fits-all business,” he said. In February 2018, eBay announced its shift from PayPal to Adyen, citing lower costs, greater control of transactions and data for its merchants, and more payment options for customers.

The changing needs of merchants: the consumer experience

There have been changes in consumer demands with regards to retail experience. With the growing popularity of online retail and increasing propensity to shop online, consumers are increasingly engaging retailers through multiple channels, particularly through mobile and online channels, in addition to brick-and-mortar outlets. This has underscored the need for merchants to offer a seamless experience between channels to cater to this trend. Furthermore, consumers are moving towards alternative payment methods; and the ease of payment, security, transaction speed, and cost are all being considered.

Hayashi highlighted the evolution of the payments space, not only in terms of the shift in consumer preferences, but the growing importance of emerging markets.

“Payment preferences are becoming different as e-commerce grows. The fastest growing e-commerce companies are looking to catch the next consumer in Asia, in Latin America, or everywhere,” he explained.

When asked about the clientele, Hayashi said that the company looks at “the next generation of entrepreneurs” that have global ambitions and “that are looking at bigger opportunities”. He highlighted Singapore as an example, citing the wealth of choices consumers face in the Singaporean retail environment, which resulted in tougher competition among retailers from local and global companies.

Hayashi explained that the company offers growth as its core proposition to merchants. “We’re not here to compete on price. That’s the commoditisation of payments. We’re here to talk about growth, and when you talk about growth it’s really around the ability to globalise and enter new markets really quickly, through the same platform. It’s the ability to touch the consumers through local payment methods. Now with retail, it’s about unified commerce,” he said.

The company currently monetises through transactions. “I think the front-end of payments has become very much commoditised, so we think we have the best integration. So we don’t charge for that- that feels like a conflict of interest. We do charge on transactions, we keep our bond model very simple,” he added.

Offering unified commerce

Adyen has capitalised on the shifting tides of consumer preferences as it offers unified commerce as part of its core proposition. As the company incorporates local payment methods, most recently Alipay, it evolves along with the needs of retailers. The company seeks to provide a consumer experience, that retailers now focus on, that seamlessly integrates the in-store and online channels, particularly in terms of payments data and infrastructure, shifting from omni-channel to unified commerce. “It’s really around making sure you’re tailoring all the channels around the same consumer,” Hayashi pointed.

Another aspect of unified commerce that Hayashi mentionedwas customer recognition, for example, with regards to loyalty programmes and the linking of the payment instruments with the purchase registry, connecting shoppers that utilise different channels for the same retailer.

Moving forward, Hayashi hopes that Adyen Asia Pacific would eventually account for 30% of the global business. He intends to leverage the large potential for growth in the Asia Pacific region. The company is seeking high-growth businesses through the three offices that serve as spring boards into the regional markets: the Singapore office for the Southeast Asian market; the Shanghai office for the Chinese market; and the Australian office for the Oceania market. As the payments space continues to evolve with the changing needs of customers, there is a need for a more customer-centric approach to the solutions, which is tailored to maximise the customer experience through the multiple channels available.

Keywords: e-commerce, customer experience, payments
Institution: Adyen Asia Pacific
Country: Singapore
Region: Asia Pacific
Guest: Warren Hayashi
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