December 5, 2017 was day one, Down Under, for Amazon. It was, according to Amazon executives, an opening day that broke all previous opening day records.
It is, perhaps, not surprising.
Although Australian consumers don’t spend as much money online as their American and U.K. counterparts, they are enthusiastic online shoppers. As a highly mobile and digital population – 68 percent of whom own a smartphone – 65 percent of Australian consumers reportedly shop online, and 40 percent do so at least once a month.
Today, that fuels a $23 billion USD eCommerce market: roughly 8 percent of all retail spending.
Before Amazon established its own local presence last week – Amazon.com.au – its online share of that market was small: $760 million USD last year, and limited to the sale of books and apps. Buying products from Amazon’s site then came with onerous international shipping fees, which kept consumers from even trying, and deterred suppliers from jumping on board.
Now, with a local presence, Amazon can give Australian consumers access to the same wide variety of products and value proposition that are now one click away for their U.S. and U.K. counterparts – great prices and free delivery for its Prime members.
But the promise of product choice for Amazon is only possible if the suppliers interested in selling their products to those Australian consumers have an easy way to get paid by Amazon – in the currency of their choosing and in a transparent and efficient way.
That’s the gap that Hyperwallet, a leading global mass payout platform for digital marketplaces, wants to fill. Their solution will support international seller disbursements from Amazon’s new, Australia-based marketplace.
“Amazon has long been recognized as a pioneer in the world of eCommerce usability,” said Simon Banks, Hyperwallet’s Asia Pacific managing director, in a press release. “Our job is to extend that same frictionless experience to the supply side of marketplace transactions, streamlining the onboarding and disbursement process for independent sellers.”
Hyperwallet will be available to all sellers on Amazon’s Australian marketplace. Via a link in their Sellers Central accounts, users can access sellers.hyperwallet.com, where they can click the “Login With Amazon” button to create a virtual Hyperwallet account.
Hyperwallet CEO Brent Warrington told Karen Webster that supporting global disbursements for Amazon sellers on the Australian marketplace allows sellers to have the same world-class user experience when receiving payments as consumers experience when paying for them.
Warrington also said it’s an acknowledgment of the strategic importance Amazon places on supplier payments. Amazon can only stay true to its three strategic pillars – choice, speed and the best price – if they get and keep the right suppliers on board. And that, Warrington said, can become very complicated in international markets.
“If you’re a marketplace and paying a supplier $100, you want it to show up as close to full value as possible,” said Warrington. “Without a truly global payout solution, suppliers will often take home just $60 of that $100 sale, thanks to various transfer fees and transfer hops along the way.”
Ensuring fair, timely payments in the local currency will be key to Amazon’s success in foreign markets, and that’s where Warrington believes Hyperwallet can help.
Payee Experience: Solving the Four Layers of Marketplace Payout Pain
“Marketplaces are thinking about how they can control the end-to-end experience,” Warrington told Webster, explaining that there are a number of key pain points that he and his team have heard time and time again from marketplaces as they seek to expand their businesses globally.
Warrington explained how his team uses “abstraction layers” to better identify how four key pain points can impact a marketplace’s unique payout needs and supplier experience. This problem-solving approach, he said, is what has driven the development of Hyperwallet’s mass disbursements platform, and what he believes draws marketplaces to the company’s global solutions.
- Reduce marketplace anxiety about disintermediation.
Warrington said that marketplaces are increasingly worried about merchants and customers developing a direct relationship and eliminating the marketplace as an essential intermediary over time. One of the things that Warrington and the Hyperwallet team have done to reduce the likelihood of that happening is making the marketplace the merchant of record. That, Warrington said, gives the marketplace the control they want.
- Deliver first-and last-mile transparency – worldwide.
“The last thing that marketplaces want to do is to create anxiety in the minds of their suppliers about when and how much they will be paid,” explained Warrington. Having established connections into a wide variety of countries, territories, currencies and payments methods gives marketplaces access to the right “rails” needed to make those payments – and to manage the costs associated with doing so.
Controls in the form of payments “dashboards” gives marketplaces the necessary visibility into the first and last mile of when and how those payments are made. Warrington said that success in enabling disbursements to marketplace suppliers is about giving them that first-and last-mile transparency.
- Be the regulatory and compliance safety net.
Warrington calls this the “911” moment: when marketplaces realize the need to address KYC, AML and country payments licensing requirements, often only after they’ve begun accepting orders from suppliers in those countries. He says that marketplaces typically underestimate the complexity of what is required to establish a presence in a new country.
While smaller marketplaces see KYC as a cause of friction and inhibitor to growth, larger platforms understand its importance but would rather let someone else handle it for them, said Warrington. He added that successfully working with marketplaces means being able to step in and take on those challenges on the marketplace’s behalf, before they run afoul of the regulators.
Warrington also said that the world is a big and complex environment, and it’s not getting any smaller or simpler. Europe just introduced its second Payment Services Directive, or PSD2, while each of the 50 U.S. states has its own unique regulations, he offered as one example. Paying suppliers is a mission-critical function to keep suppliers happy and consumers buying, but keeping tabs on the latest regulatory changes and then adapting their payments systems to comply in every country and territory in the world is a big task – and not one that marketplaces should take on by themselves.
- Manage the marketplace’s equivalent of interchange – foreign exchange.
Like interchange before it, said Warrington, marketplaces see foreign exchange as a strategic revenue input to manage, and many want the ability and the tools to do so on behalf of their platform suppliers and buyers. Warrington said that means advising marketplaces on the FX levers at their disposal, so they can maximize that source of fee income generated by the commerce it is enabling as part of its platform.
The Hard Work of The Hard Work
The ability to not just identify but also respond to these persistent marketplace pain points is what Warrington believes has driven Hyperwallet’s growth (the company signed more than 60 marketplace relationships in 2017 alone, including platforms like HomeAway and Freelancer.com). Hyperwallet’s commitment to the payee experience is the cornerstone of the firm’s Amazon seller solution, as it will help the platform open its Australian business to international suppliers through fast international disbursements.
With these opportunities, Warrington said, also comes a lot of hard work – among it, smoothing the integrations between Hyperwallet, the marketplaces and their suppliers. There must be a great deal of focus on establishing the proper rules, protocols and reporting to meet the marketplace and supplier requirements for payment. Once that happens, Warrington says it’s Hyperwallet’s job to ensure that marketplace clients have the control they want and need to keep supplier payments flowing, without having to worry about it directly.
“Amazon, like any marketplace, has to keep suppliers happy,” Warrington said. “There’s nothing that keeps a supplier happier than being paid quickly, denominated in the currency he or she wants to be paid in and using the payout method they prefer, as cheaply as possible.”
Now, job number one for the Hyperwallet team Down Under.