18 mins read

The number one omnichannel payment option in Sweden

With changing attitudes among brick-and-mortar shoppers, consumers are less comfortable physically interacting with strangers or electronic equipment, and they have less patience for slow processes. Retail payment trends moving away from cash and chip readers, toward contactless and faster alternatives.

As Buy Now Pay Later transactions are projected to reach almost $1 trillion by 2026 and companies like Affirm, Afterpay, and Klarna are entering partnerships with major retailers, peer-to-peer applications have successfully captured many users. 

Sweden has been at the forefront of banking innovation for a long time and is leading the way toward a cashless society.  

The 8 million users’ payment solution

Swish started in 2012 as a cooperation between six of the largest banks in Sweden to provide payment services for payments between private users.

Already in 2013, one year after its launch, Swish was awarded Mobile Payment of the Year. Since then, the journey has continued upwards at a fast pace, and Swish was named the Strongest brand in Sweden in 2021 and it is now the preferred online payment method among people aged 16-54.

“We have 8 million unique users (that is 80% of the Swedish population), half of them use Swish every week, and half of all payments going through our system each day are payments to or from companies,” said Charlotta Lindblad.

A calculated return to physical retail

Though we saw a significant shift to online shopping in 2020, new data makes it clear that shoppers still desire the in-store experience. Though sales and data show that shoppers are ready for in-store shopping again, it doesn’t mean that retailers should go back to their pre-2020 strategy. How can you combat online competition and re-engage in-store shoppers? Charlotta believes that e-commerce and retail can benefit from each other when for example customer acquisition takes place in one environment and conversion in the other.

“During the pandemic, we read a lot about the growth in e-commerce and about all the stores that had to close at the same time. But since society opened up again, consumers started to find their way back to the stores. Physical meetings and being able to feel and sense items will continue to be important”

Convenience or inspiration are the forces behind consumers’ behaviors 

2022 is set to be an interesting year for retail. As many retailers were optimistic about their ability to move past the challenges they had faced in the previous two years, some new ones came in the way. However, with new technologies, unique online experiences, and new consumer behaviors driving product and business innovation, the future is still promising for the retail industry. 

It is easy to get lost in the buzzwords and the trends to catch – even faster than they even started to make sense, but “consumers have always sought the same things: convenience or inspiration. It’s just how you look for it that changes as technology develops and the outside world changes. One such example is the cashier-less store, which I believe will grow strongly in the near future, both in the form of completely unmanned stores but also with hybrid solutions. ”

A simple formula based on a strong value proposition

As progress in fintech and innovation in the finance industry is now driven by fintech companies, the competition is fierce: between new industry players, but also innovative systems and more traditional ones. Swish goes for a simple formula: Simple, secure, and of course – mobile first.

“We always have our users with us when we think about the future. We never deviate from the simplicity of our product, that is our promise to our users. But of course, as the world around us changes and higher demands are placed on, for example, accessibility, hygienic payment solutions, or sustainability, we also take that into account in our product development and marketing.“ adds Charlotta. 

Innovation starts with collaboration-s

As they still have an office in the center of Stockholm, Swish decided to take the opportunity to establish a second home at Epicenter Stockholm. For Charlotta, it was the ideal way to get closer to other tech companies to find collaborations and monitor their outside world. In addition to bringing them closer to some existing clients, it also unlocked surprising business opportunities. “We met Honestbox, a company that builds solutions for unmanned stores where they use Swish as a payment method. After we highlighted a case with them in our social media, several companies contacted them to get help getting started with unmanned store solutions.” exemplifies Charlotta. 

At Store, they have the ability to use the space to work and meet, but also to present their products. In December 2021, they opened up their own store, a pop-up experience, to which they throughout the year have invited retailers to showcase what they believe are the best in-store customer journeys. “We have received visits from everything from the public sector to banks, retailers, and partners. It is clear that when you really get to try the buying experience yourself it becomes much easier to understand why we talk about this as the future of in-store retail.”

The future of retail is in consistency and connectivity

While Charlotta and the rest of the team at Swish are working on constant product development and improvements in customer experience, she wasn’t able to disclose any secret about what’s next. However, she believes that the future of retail will have to meet the customer in all channels and touchpoints so consistency and connectivity between all those channels will be really important.

“Brick-and-mortar retail is starting to realize the importance of offering digital, seamless customer journeys just as e-commerce has already done for a while […] There is a clear blurring of the boundaries between these environments, and therefore it only becomes more important as a retailer to offer a payment method that works just as smoothly and securely wherever the customer is. But I don’t believe in a big bang, it’s about constant changes and improvements happening everywhere, all the time.“

If you are interested in visiting their pop-up store at Epicenter Store (Regeringsgatan 61), reach out to charlotta.lindblad@getswish.se to schedule an appointment. 

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