2022 will be the inflection point for retailers, according to Stripe’s head of growth for Australia and New Zealand, Hayley Hopwood.

“Customer experience will be fundamental to success amid increasing competition and customers will expect smooth and seamless transactions more than ever,” she told Retailbiz in a recent interview.

“The last two years have been phenomenal, but it has forced retailers to better manage customer expectations, as well as expand and modify their business accordingly.”

Stripe research has shown that one-third of consumers abandon a purchase if it takes more than two minutes to checkout. “By making the checkout process faster for customers, retailers will see improvements in online conversions.”

Hopwood also acknowledged that consumers are becoming more agnostic when it comes to payments. “People will naturally gravitate to their preferred method, but there has been strong growth in buy-now-pay-later services. BNPL is an interesting space that is becoming increasingly competitive with more players in the mix, and I expect it to continue to evolve in the months ahead.”

When asked about the rising interest in cryptocurrency and its potential to become a widely accepted payment method, it is something Stripe is “keeping an eye on”.

Reflecting on 2021, Hopwood said Stripe continued to embrace the pandemic as an opportunity to play to the company’s competitive advantage and provide additional support to its customers.

“Early on in the year, we expanded the availability of our Stripe Climate carbon removal tool, which has seen solid uptake. Australian businesses make up approximately 40% of the APAC merchants with an active Climate program. We recognised that shoppers are more conscious of their purchase decisions and taking care of the environment is an important part of that,” Hopwood said.

Stripe later launched Stripe Tax designed to help businesses automatically calculate and collect sales tax, value-added tax (VAT) and goods and services tax (GST) in over 30 countries including Australia. “By simplifying the management of tax compliance, our customers can focus on building their businesses.”

Towards the end of 2021, Stripe introduced Revenue Recognition to more than 40 countries including Australia, designed for subscription-based or recurring revenue business models. “We are helping finance teams move away from the usually manual and inefficient process of recognising revenue by providing a range of reporting tools, automatic updates and expanded controls.”