President, PayPal Canada
Paul is a results-oriented Canadian leader with a strong track record of more than 20 years in the payment’s industry. He is focused on driving the next phase of growth for the company and its 7.1 million active customers in Canada.
Paul plays a pivotal role in identifying strategic partnerships and bringing payment innovations to the Canadian market. He leads his team to help more than 250,000 Canadian small businesses and large retailers grow their sales locally and internationally. An engaging speaker with a passion for innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership, Paul brings a unique perspective on how financial services companies can collaborate to make money more accessible to people and businesses.
Prior to PayPal, Paul was vice president and general manager of global commercial payments at American Express Canada. During his tenure at American Express, he developed and drove business strategy for corporate payments and small business services and held several key leadership positions across sales, account management, e-procurement and travel. A global sales leader, Paul has lived and worked in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.
Paul has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Guelph.
As President of PayPal Canada, can you tell us how PayPal Canada is helping small business owners grow?
We constantly look for opportunities that will help our small businesses achieve their goals. Most recently, we announced our partnership with Visa and the ability for our small businesses to get their money out of their account as quickly as they like.
What can you tell us about the products and services that PayPal Canada offers to SME owners?
Easy access to all things that keep business running is important to us right now. Helping our small businesses get their packages to their customers in the most efficient, low-cost way is definitely something we recently announced in the last little while. Return shipping on us, so allowing customers who buy using a PayPal button to return their item up to 12 times a year to a maximum of $30 per time, at no cost to our small businesses are just a couple of the amazing things we have done that have really gone over in a big way.
How important do you believe innovation is when it comes to implementing new products that can benefit the small business industry?
I think getting the basics in the core right for people is the most important piece. Innovation is always going to be important. Creating new and interesting opportunities for small businesses is always something were on the constant lookout for, but we never want to forego the basic, core ease of our customers in lieu of doing something that is trendy or cool.
What are some of the strategies you use to help small business owners increase their sales and revenue?
Certainly, making it easier for customers to buy on their site is the number one way. The introduction of One Touch which allows a consumer to instantaneously buy without having any friction in the payment process is the number one way that increases the revenue of our customer base.
Recently, PayPal and Visa have joined forces to help increase the small business industry and help them gain access to more funds. What can you tell us about this strategic partnership and how do you believe this will benefit SME owners?
I think it’s important that our small businesses are being able to manage their money how they want and not be [hindered] by any financial institutions of any sort. Getting their money into their bank account as fast as they possibly can be one of the things we searched out for and found a partner to be able to do that with.
We made it really easy for our small businesses to sell with creating revenue, we’re allowing them to ship faster to their customer base, we’re allowing customers to return if necessary at no cost to the retailer and now they have the balance of the money. In many cases they keep it in the ecosystem, to sort of use it as they normally would, but other small merchants want to be able to take their money out quickly and buy more inventories or use it however they want. The partnership with Visa allows that to happen. You can now instantly take out your money, with some banks with a wait time of 30 minutes at most, at a very small cost.
Recent studies have proven that 85 per cent of small business owners finds it critical to have access to real-time payments and would be willing to switch to a merchant who can provide this service. In your opinion, why do you believe it’s important for SME owners to have access to real-time payments? How can it impact the success of their business?
A recent study has shown there is a high percentage, about 70 percent, of small businesses have not been able to pay one of their monthly bills. Small businesses do not have this constant dream of revenue. It’s really high in some periods of the year, it’s really high in some periods of the month and it’s down at other periods, and so, allowing them to take their money out if they want to and do it in real-time allows them to smooth out some of the costs associated with their business. In particular, we want to make sure they don’t incur any penalties or help them get their money faster so that, at a minimum, they can pay their utility bill or whatever costs are associated to running a small business.
What do you believe is the number one challenge that SME owners face when it comes to their payment solutions and how can PayPal Canada help them overcome these challenges?
A consumer has gone through the trouble of finding what they want on the website that they wanted and went through that whole process, they don’t want the final step to be difficult. They want it to be easy. Keeping a person on that website with the least amount of complexity or concerns, maybe the payment option they are choosing is the wrong one or there might be risks associated with it. Our strength in the market is we are known for trust and security. If someone clicks on that PayPal button, they know they can trust it, they know there is security in the exchange and that it can now happen extremely quickly.
On a final note, you have over 20 years of experience in the payment’s industry. How have you seen it evolve throughout the years?
The move to eCommerce has been eye-opening. The traditional forms of payment on brick and motor [businesses] we’re known and well-established and easy for people to understand what their options were and easy for retailers to understand what their options were. If someone was coming into their store to buy something, you knew easily how you are going to accept their money and how they wanted to pay. Online is a whole new world. How people want to pay, how fast they want to pay, what they consider to be secure and not secure, what their concerns are, if there is a little bit of movement or friction on the page, the speed with which consumers can pay and the speed with which small businesses can get the money after the exchange are all in this evolution of everything happening faster, more effectively and at a lower cost. It’s opened up the ability for so many people who would never sort of think about having a prick and motor store, but they had a great idea or product or solution that they wanted to get out to the market. They can do it now after hours or during traditional working hours, they can open up a business at very low cost and the payment side of that is particularly easy. It’s up to people like us and others in the payment space to help remove some of the complexities and concerns with how someone goes through that whole process.
We continue at PayPal to look at any area that is causing concern or any opportunity for our small businesses to manage their business better. Every time we find one of these spots, we work diligently to remove the barriers that small businesses have to make it faster, easier and more secure to operate.