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Ynske van Vliet (Adyen): The distinction between online and offline is fading away

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Payment platform Adyen was founded fifteen years ago in Amsterdam. These days, the company operates in more than twenty countries for such major brands as Spotify, Uber and Microsoft. Marketing manager Ynske van Vliet discusses their inspirational marketing strategy. We also spoke with Fabienne Chapot, which celebrates its fifteenth anniversary in Adyen's new pop-up store.

Since 2006, Adyen has been using its online payment system to process payments for major global brands such as eBay, Microsoft and KLM, as well as for starters and local brands, including Picnic, Kazidomi and Fabienne Chapot. However, Adyen is more than just a payment platform. That much is clear from the company opening its second office in the former Hudson's Bay building on the Rokin, with The Store on the ground floor. Marketing manager Ynske van Vliet says: ,,Adyen is growing rapidly and, just like we did for our first office, we were looking for a location in the heart of Amsterdam."

The Store
Adyen's team not only came up with what to do with the ground floor by itself; the company involved those same clients in the process as well, the marketing manager continues. ,,We asked our clients about their ideas and how they thought it could contribute to their brand. Together, we thought of a new way to help our clients even more. Eventually, we came up with the idea of using part of the ground floor as a pop-up store. That is how The Store was born. We facilitate the space and provide power and security and we let clients use the concept however they see fit."

Fabienne Chapot
The first client to use the pop-up store is the Dutch fashion label Fabienne Chapot. The brand also uses the space as a way to celebrate its fifteenth anniversary. For the fashion and lifestyle brand, the pop-up store is the perfect place to create an even stronger brand experience: ,,We are receiving a tonne of enthusiastic feedback about the pop-up. The colourful interior is very lively and the interactive experience in the store turns it into something unique and refreshing. In an accessible and interactive manner, people can learn more about our brand, its history and our vision on today and the future," says fashion entrepreneur Fabienne Chapot.

 Future-proof customer experience
The pop-up store has added value for Adyen itself as well. ,,We can demonstrate new payment methods to clients and consumers. For example, you can pay by scanning a QR code that is shown next to the products and near the fitting rooms." This payment method was developed as a way to avoid long queues at the register. ,,Customers don't like to stand in line. It can really hurt your conversion. That is why we want to give customers the opportunity to pay for their items throughout the store."

QR code
The QR code has been successfully used in Asia for a while now. In other countries such as the Netherlands, it did not catch on as much or at all. Until the start of the pandemic, Van Vliet says. ,,It is fascinating to see that the QR code has become so popular since COVID, because it allows people to keep their distance from others and avoid crowds in stores. Today, it is used everywhere - from restaurants and bars to retail stores - and it is seen as a valuable tool to facilitate a fast and positive customer journey."

Retail trends
The pandemic has put other retail trends on the map as well, Van Vliet continues ,,The distinction between online and offline is fading away and we see that all of our clients' channels are closely intertwined. Consumers not only want to be able to pay however they want, they also want to receive service in different ways." Now that physical stores are open again, Adyen sees that consumers continue to shop both offline and online. "For example, they may come to a store to try on products or feel the fabrics and then order the same products online, either immediately or later on at home. This turns everything into a sales channel. For consumers, it no longer matters where they look for or buy products, as long as they can return them however they want."

Customers are more loyal
When it comes to online and offline shopping, there are no clear upward or downward trends to be seen, Van Vliet continues. ,,People continue to visit physical stores. Especially when buying certain products such as clothing, many people like to be able to feel the items and touch them. When buying more expensive products such as a laptop, it can be nice to talk to an employee directly about how it all works. At the same time, that human interaction is also being facilitated online with the help of chat services and Zoom calls.When we look at our clients and analyse our own data, we see that having a physical store and a webshop are not mutually exclusive and that one does not steal business away from the other. In fact, many brands earn more by having both an online and an offline store. Letting customers purchase your products in different ways strengthens your relationship with your target group. Customers are more loyal and spend more. If you as a company have demonstrated your flexibility in the face of a global pandemic, people will often remain loyal to you." 

Ynske van Vliet

Click & collect
The fact that everything is becoming a sales channel is also evident from the growing popularity of click & collect: ,,Another example of a retail trend that exploded in popularity during the lockdown. When stores were forced to close their doors, we saw them turn into warehouses where people could go to pick up the products they had ordered. That fast method of delivery and picking items up at the door is another thing that stuck around after the lockdown was lifted."

What do customers want?
Van Vliet explains that the fintech organisation collaborates closely with its clients; not just to get some help with figuring out what to do with the new building, but also in other ways.,,Besides major brands like KLM, eBay, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Uber, Spotify, Tiffany & Co and Booking.com, our portfolio also includes a number of fast-growing local companies. One example is the Belgian Kazidomi: an online supermarket that sells a wide range of healthy products. Just like we do for all our clients, we asked them what is important to them and what they want to offer their target group. Kazidomi told us that they would like to give something back to the world. Together, we developed a product called Restore that allows Kazidomi customers to offset their purchase and its foodprint. Consumers can now check a box marked "offset foodprint" when checking out."

Adyen Giving
Sustainability and doing good are important concerns, the marketing manager says. ,,That is why we developed Adyen Giving. During the online or offline payment process, a brand can explain to consumers that it has partnered with a charitable organisation and ask them if they want to make a donation. This transaction is separate from the payment to the company and the money is donated directly to the charity in question. Adyen covers the costs of these transactions to make sure that the charities receive 100% of people's donations."

Future-proof customer experience
Fashion entrepreneur Fabienne Chapot also has a positive experience with the extras that the payment platform offers. ,,For example, Adyen helps us improve our customer experience by making the payment process as easy and quick as possible, with reliability as the #1 concern. They also stimulate us to be innovative in the broadest sense of the word, e.g. with technological features such as being able to make a quick donation to a charity after completing your purchase or being able to pay for your item directly from the back-in-stock email you receive. All this contributes enormously to a pleasant and future-proof customer experience."

Fabienne Chapot

Positive user experience
Van Vliet and her team not only consider the needs of their clients, but also the needs of the target groups of those same clients. ,Together with online supermarket Picnic, for example, we have launched a wonderful new payment solution in collaboration with Rabobank and MasterCard. In the past, consumers had to make a second payment if they wanted to add more items after checking out their groceries. If they paid with iDEAL, that would result in a series of individual amounts being taken out of their account. That could get quite confusing. We have therefore developed a way to use a consumer's bank account as a credit card of sorts. If they want to add more items after checking out or return some bottles to get their deposit back, all amounts are settled and the customer will only see a single transaction on their account. That is a much clearer solution. We do everything we can to create a positive user experience."

Loyalty
Besides wanting to create a positive user and shopping experience and doing something good for the world, the Adyen team also finds that customer loyalty is an important issue to its clients. ,,For example, one of our clients - Het Koekenmannetje in The 9 Streets - lets customers turn their debit card into a loyalty card. Every time a customer completes a transaction in the store, they save up for free cookies. All they have to do is submit their email address one time. This is then linked to their debit card or phone number, so they are recognised during every subsequent transaction and automatically save points to earn free cookies. This way, the store does not have to develop a new app or a loyalty card."

Personal offers with the help of data
In the end, loyal customers are what virtually all companies want, the marketing manager continues. ,,The brands with which we collaborate can use our data to their advantage and send personal offers to their customers. We already talked about the merging of online and offline. Adyen is a payment platform that helps its clients both online and offline, but it does not matter to us where you pay. Everything comes together in a portal, which allows our clients to see at a glance when purchases were made and via what channels. They can then link that data to their own data and build complete customer profiles. This gives brands and retailers far greater insight into what products their customers want and when." 

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