TechBytes with Erich Litch, President and COO at 2Checkout

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“Today most providers stitch a bunch of disparate systems together to get the capabilities they need to offer, but next-generation platforms are gaining ground, becoming the ultimate disrupters.”

Digital Transformation journeys are getting complex and advanced with new technologies. Which technologies do you keenly follow and work with?

As you can imagine, in our field, digital comes first. We are not only a digital commerce platform, digital goods sales are also a big focus for us.

I am very interested in and I also require our team to know about and understand every proven technology that introduces automation, scalability and removes human intervention and the risk of errors. This is valid for our digital commerce platform and the services we offer our clients, as well as for how we manage our own Finances, Marketing ops and so on, through Marketing Automation, Invoice Processing, HR Services, and Collaboration, to name just a few.

More broadly, I am following the trends related to Cloud Computing, Fintech, Blockchain, AI, Machine Learning and Big Data applied to gather customer insights for better services.

Also, there’s so much complexity in global payments and subscription management, and all the technologies behind the scenes that are aiming to make the customer experience seamless and consistent across channels. These are not just buzzwords anymore, it’s the “real” world now.

What is your role at 2Checkout? How does it make digital payments easier for B2B teams?

I’m Chief Operating Officer and President of 2Checkout. As my title suggests, I oversee quite a few departments, from Marketing and Sales to Product and Support. For the type of services that we offer, this coordination is needed, as synergy plays an important role here; all of these departments are impacting the customer journey, working together and eliminating silos is crucial.

How do we make digital payments easier for B2B teams? We actually make more than digital payments easier, for B2B and B2C teams. I’ll explain. Actually, I’ll explain this through our vision, which says, “We will maximize the value of every digital buyer and subscriber worldwide for our clients”. We do this through an all-in-one monetization platform for global businesses. We essentially simplify the complexities of modern commerce including global payments, subscription billing, merchandising, taxes, compliance, and risk, so our clients stay focused on innovating their products and delivering exceptional customer experiences.

Specifically regarding payments, we give merchants the ability to accept payments throughout the world, no matter where their business is or where their clients are. We’re integrated with many payment gateways and offer more than 45 payment methods at a global level.

For some countries, local payment methods have a high market share and accepting Visa, Mastercard and PayPal only are not enough. Plus, there are many tools that we employ that help increase authorization and renewal rates, curb cart abandonment and so on. Plus, we take care of compliance, which is huge.

There’s a lot of complexity, rules, and regulations which may differ from one country to another. Take PSD2 for example, and that’s just one aspect we are taking care of.

What common ground of operation and market expansion do you offer to customers?

In addition to a checkout process, localized in more than 30 languages, 45+ payment methods as mentioned earlier, 100 currencies, as well as storefront tools, our 50,000 affiliates network provides a solid marketing arm, and an additional global sales channel for our clients.

We offer a partner management system, through which they can manage reseller and distributor partners worldwide. There is also a constant flow of platform updates, plus all the educational content that we produce, helping our clients be more agile in their business and stay up to date with what matters, from marketing to compliance.

Our audience would like to know about the best features of Subscription Billing. What makes these platforms so unique in the current digital world?

That’s a very good question. And they are right to be interested in this topic, as this area is growing a lot. Five years ago, about 50% of digital goods sales that passed through our platform were subscription-based. In 2019, that number was 77% and I can’t wait to see the numbers for 2020. It’s a huge increase.

What is also interesting is that we now see subscriptions in the physical goods space, which is exciting. So as you can imagine, there’s a lot of investment in this area. It’s important though to look at subscription management and billing in a holistic way.

First, you need to look at the entire subscription lifecycle, from the first order or trial through to onboarding and finally renewal. Second, examine how to optimize the customer experience, and to have a seamless integration with everything else that goes around the subscription, including how you sign up for the trial in the first place, how you purchase it, with what payment method. And how you do all of this across several channels.

This context was necessary in order to explain that there are endless features at each stage of the buyer journey and subscription cycle. For example, at the acquisition stage, you need flexible pricing and packaging and an advanced rating engine. An enhanced checkout experience, driven by optimized, localized carts. Similarly, you’ve got onboarding tools, tools to manage upgrades and even downgrades, and tools to be able to pause a subscription, if that’s what the customer wants.

Renewal is even more interesting, as there are a bunch of tools for just about everything:  involuntary and voluntary churn prevention tools, support for recurring revenue for indirect channels. To understand how deep it goes, I’ll give some technical examples from just one category that I mentioned, involuntary churn prevention tools. Here you need what we call Account Updater Service, which ensures billing continuity for active subscriptions and salvages over 90% of otherwise unusable cards, used for recurring billing.

You need to combine this with internal Account Updater tools, especially in countries where Account Updater services are not available yet. Then you’ve got Advanced Retry Logic, which recovers up to 20% of failed transactions due to soft declines, which you need to then combine with dunning management, which recovers revenue even from hard declines.

Also remember invoicing tools, notifications, and so on. The list is long and the complexity, depth and integration requirements into commerce and payments make these tools so unique.

How do you see the whole ecosystem of Digital Transformation space further disrupted with more informed B2B Commerce and technology vendor groups leveraging platforms like that offered by 2Checkout? 

I think the disruption is coming from several directions: the end-clients, the consumers, the prosumers rather, and businesses, the merchants who are selling to them, the vendors like 2Checkout that facilitate the sale, banks and financial institutions, and finally, the regulatory bodies that impose new standards and compliance around payments, privacy and so on.

Clearly, digital commerce providers compete to change their industries around the globe. Today most providers stitch a bunch of disparate systems together to get the capabilities they need to offer, but next-generation platforms that simplify the increasingly complex set of digital commerce needs are gaining ground, becoming the ultimate disrupters.

How does all the buzz around AI ML and Marketing Automation help acquire customers and grow revenue in new markets? 

I don’t think you can do without these anymore, really. In some shape or form, you need AI, ML and Marketing Automation, in order to make smart decisions quickly in just about everything, including which markets to target, which segments, what channels work best, how to optimize your processes and your product in general, how and when to communicate with clients in an optimal, localized way and how you personalize your offerings. All of these lead to improved retention and growth.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Business Leader?

It’s critical as a business leader to be informed about any technology that can help improve our efficiency, customer satisfaction, and the bottom line. There have been discussions and promises of AI capabilities for some time now, and it’s what people are talking about. It’s important not to get caught up in the buzz and do the work to see how AI can positively impact your business.

For digital commerce, AI has already proven its applicability, through sophisticated Retargeting and Personalization, Intelligent Searches, Chatbots and Virtual or Voice assistants, improved Recommendations, tighter security and so on. We’ll see a lot of growth in this area, I’m sure.

Erich has over 20 years of senior leadership, commercial, product and operations experience in growing software businesses. In this role at 2Checkout, Erich heads Sales and Marketing as well as Compliance, Support and Product.

Before joining 2Checkout, Erich was General Manager of North America for Viewpoint Construction Software, a leading provider of ERP solutions to the construction industry. Erich earned his Bachelor’s degree from UCLA and his J.D. (cum laude) from Loyola Law School in LA, CA.

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2Checkout is the leading all-in-one monetization platform for global businesses. It was built to help clients drive sales growth across channels and increase market share by simplifying the complexities of modern commerce like global payments, subscription billing, merchandising, taxes, compliance and risk, so they stay focused on innovating their products and delivering exceptional customer experiences.

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