Celebrating Blog 100: interview with Andreas. One of the faces behind AfterPay Insights

In the light of our 100th blog on AfterPay Insights, we thought it was a great time to not just celebrate the magic number, but the people behind the blog, too. Introducing one of the pioneers and the biggest brain behind the numbers. No data too big or too small, helping AfterPay to understand consumers, consumer behavior and needs, and how daily lives and e-commerce are impacted with what happens across the globe: all-smiles Andreas Nergård. Up close and personal for the very first time.

Hey Andreas, nice to finally see one of the faces behind all the data. Tell us about your involvement with the AfterPay Insights blog.

I have been working with AfterPay since 2019 and I spend the majority of my time on doing projects for AfterPay. We work together constantly. My involvement in data crunching and developing business solutions for the company makes it feel like I am practically an AfterPay employee, haha! We just constantly develop what we are doing together.

And now we reach a milestone: blog 100 is up next. To paint a quick picture, this is what 100 blogs look like in data:

Yes, isn’t it exciting? And with such a track record we can really see the different developments over time. That is exactly what we are doing for Blog 100. Times are changing, and so are shopper needs, categories, and volumes. Little spoiler alert, but worth it!

How did the blog come about?

AfterPay wanted to show a form of thought leadership in the e-commerce space. Really generating insights around consumer needs. Not just scratching the surface but go deeper with also research real behaviors. And then Covid-19 struck…
It was something we had never seen or experienced before. The virus was going to have a huge impact on people’s lives, how they consume and a shift in needs. It was a horrible moment in time, but also the best moment in time to start tracking consumer behavior and the impact of the pandemic. We had some serious discussions and concluded it was now or never if we really want to know what is going to happen to consumptions and purchases. The questionnaire was set up and off we go.

How does the blog drive business for AfterPay?

With the results from our (monthly) tracker we are able to serve our merchants in a better way than before. The data results help explaining to merchants what and why things are happening. In a way we provide service, (try to) keep people happy and have opportunities for driving new business.

Data research, as we do, and, develop together is more exciting. Survey outcome, longitudinal data and other analytics combined offers a lot more perspective. And it becomes truly unlimited. I try to find the bridges between those two and get a holistic understanding across two completely different data sources. That is a major learning. We believe marrying different types of data is the future and paramount for making business decisions.

What did you learn?

As we started tracking in March 2020, the very beginning of it all, we were able to learn how people shopped pre-corona (as we always ask about the previous two weeks), and measure the impact of a lockdown and all the different dimensions of a global health crisis. Offline shopping fully shifting to online really has effect on volumes. You need to measure that, and also see what the drivers are for people to start shopping online.

How has the scope changed over time?

Since then, we still look at consumers perspective and behavior. These two years teach us about the needs that are slowly changing, and how they differ when we look at Light, Medium and Heavy shoppers. To get even deeper insights, we sometimes add or swap out a new question. And some topics in the questionnaire come and go. Specific Peak Season questions for example, or topics related to internal AfterPay projects.

How has it shaped AfterPay?

Doing constant research and writing about the insights, is truly what the status of Thought Leadership divines. There are not very many other companies like AfterPay, that marry all sorts of data together. And I do think that is really needed. It provides a deeper layer of knowledge and foundation to build (new) business on.

How do you foresee the future of data research with AfterPay?

Exploring consumer repertoires: where consumers buy and from whom. Germany and the UK have one dominant big online webshop player present in e-commerce player. Place Norway beside those two nations, and you see a different extreme, as there is no dominant e-commerce player in Norway, but a multitude of smaller players. It will be interesting to see how consumer repertoire is going to develop in the coming years. Will one party take over and have a one-stop-shop across Europe? Or are we all going local and shop fragmented? But then what will happen with loyalty to shopping online and certain webshops? To make sure we have the answers to those questions in the coming year or years, we are already brewing on how to collect that data. In order to really understand what is going on, we need to see the development as it is happening.

Take us through the rise and the future of BNPL

Another great learning is about By Now Pay Later (BNPL). This payment method is much stronger among heavy online shoppers, that is to say more evolved online shoppers. It offers the convenience and flexibility that they are looking for. And as online shoppers continue to mature, the BNPL-user base is undoubtedly going to increase in the coming years. As well as the request for and use of BNPL payment methods.