The 2023 Outlook: Opportunities & Threats for digital goods

When thinking of 2023, we can’t help but wonder what challenges it might bring. Though we don’t have access to a crystal ball, we do have the benefit of experts. In this round-up, we speak to our staff about their visions for the coming year.

One thing is certain. From increased competition and changes in consumer behaviour, to technological advances, legal ambiguity and shifting economic conditions; in 2023, there’s no shortage of opportunities and threats. We asked the following question:

When it comes to maximizing profit, what do you think will be a threat or opportunity for sellers of digital goods or services in 2023? 

Read on to find out what you need to be on the lookout for in the months ahead.

“Fraud has remained a constant threat to merchants. Especially over the last years, when due to the pandemic, a massive increase in cybercrime (including payment fraud) accompanied the spikes in eCommerce transactions. With the pandemic behind us, the fraud rates did not plummet, but grew even more, and we expect this trend to continue in 2023 and even further.

Payment fraud is more and more moving toward “organized crime” and away from individuals trying to make a few bucks. When dealing with payment fraud, we have to step away from the idea that this is a Nerd in a hoodie who is trying to get access to accounts by trying multiple passwords etc. but really focus on the threat coming from “organizations” that have the tooling, fund, capabilities and knowledge to do serious harm.

So, not only are fraudsters getting better organized and smarter, the focus towards ‘easily monetized products’ grows on products like virtual anonymized credit cards we experience fraud rates of 50%-70% on given periods. Virtual credit cards and other high-risk products like gift cards are easy to monetize and resell and are definitely on the radar upcoming year for fraudsters.

The good news? Not only are the fraudsters getting smarter, but by introducing new tools like machine learning algorithms and adding more unique data points, our systems are also increasing in their ability to catch newly set-up fraud attempts.

Our team spends a lot of their time investigating fraud attacks, learning from them, and using that intelligence to improve the systems. We are very proud that we can still outsmart fraudsters, and protect our merchants from fraudulent transactions.”

Lisa De Vreede

Product Owner Protectmaxx, Alphacomm

“In Latin America, for example, we see a shift from cash to online payments. E-commerce grows by double digits and the use of wallets grows rapidly. PayPal, for example, sees Latin America as its fastest-growing region. If merchants in this market do not act fast enough by adding credit cards, Paypal or digital wallets as payment methods, they will lose business. However, along with the fast-growing business opportunities, there is also a rapidly increasing need for proper protection against online payment fraud.”
Michael Martens

VP of Sales, Alphacomm

“The opportunities I see for sellers of digital goods are blockchain adoption, and utilizing NFTs for proof of ownership for various digital assets, such as concert tickets, 3D models, etc. The biggest threat I see is a possible oversaturation of the market. As we come off the recent NFT hype, sellers will eventually figure out the right ways to do business with this technology. For merchants, this rise of new stores and businesses, would also mean more things to pay attention to, and more competitors to differentiate from.”

Danilo Ćalić

Product Owner Checkmaxx, Alphacomm

“We all see online transactions increasing rapidly, thanks to changing customer behaviour and the pandemic-related ecommerce boost. Also, for digital goods, the volumes are increasing at a high pace, which from a commercial perspective, is very positive. However, the rate of online fraud on digital goods is increasing at maybe an even higher rate. To make sure the online growth of online sales for digital goods stays positive, a solid anti-fraud solution is crucial.”

Alper Altan

Lead of Business Development, Alphacomm

“The Buy Now Pay Later trend will grow tremendously, so sellers should start to adapt to this new trend. Another payment opportunity is allowing users to pay in instalments without added interest. Sellers who also allow for this will experience more sales, since users will be able to afford more things with instalment plans.”

Yana Valkov

Product Owner Collectmaxx, Alphacomm

“This will be a challenging year for sellers of digital goods/services as they face reduced margins (due to increasing costs), and the potential for slower growth. Moreover, while changes in consumer behaviour will impact steady subscription payments (missed, delayed, cancelled), there is also the potential for a drop in average spending. Payment collection and fraud prevention will be two key areas of interest in 2023. Cost-effective and efficient solutions with a scalable model will be needed in order to maximize profits.”

Fawad Shah

Chief Operational Officer, Alphacomm

In 2023 I see a great demand arising for indemnified SEPA payments and protected direct banking payments like iDeal and Paydirekt. SEPA and direct or online banking payments are still the most popular payment methods in Europe, and this will not change. The rising popularity of open banking is supporting this growth. Our new hybrid Protectmaxx anti-fraud system is better than ever and able to support this development.

Huub Sparnaay

Chief Executive Officer, Alphacomm

Fraud can never be completely prevented, but you can minimize it drastically if you use a good working fraud prevention tool. In 2022, we were, for example, able to reduce the number of support requests related to fraud and hope to continue this trend in the coming year.

At Alphacomm, we value the opinion of our customers. We learn from their feedback and requests for support, and over the years we have been able to optimize our system with the help of their feedback. Partly because of this, we have grown as a company. We are doing well, we are making more sales, but the number of customer support calls is falling. That’s a very good trend, with which we are very happy.

Anne Timmer

Customer Support, Alphacomm

For 2023 the focus will be very much on optimizing payment options. Therefore, our team needs to focus on providing high-quality payment products which are aligned with the market needs. The year’s biggest opportunities will be BNPL and Digital Wallets. 

 

In 2023, budgets will be tight, and money spent buying digital goods will not be an exception. BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later) will allow shoppers to stretch their budgets and maintain buying habits despite the pressure of inflation. 

 

As for digital wallets, their ease of use, fast payment features, and overall convenience has made their adoption rates grow exponentially. This payment method will be preferred also, since 3DS2 and 2FA are now mandatory when customers choose card payments. On the other hand, the growing adoption of 3DS2 protocols and advances in card tokenization means that the fraud for card-based payments will also be lower this year.

Georgiana Hera

Product Owner Protectmaxx & Vaultmaxx, Alphacomm

“When it comes to e-commerce and purchasing various goods and services online, mobile shoppers are on the rise, with an estimated 300 million mobile internet users in 2023. To truly resonate with the digital goods and services market in 2023, we’ll see our brands continue to think outside the box in order to better understand and connect with our most valued customers.

Ciprian Barbu

Operations & Branch Manager, Alphacomm

So, what do you think? What opportunities and threats do you expect in 2023? Do you have all your bases covered? Does your payment strategy have room for improvement? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us anytime.

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