Along with the payment and financial businesses, the merchant business is one of the mainstays of PayPay’s monetization efforts.
In this installment, we will introduce the Merchant Business Strategy Division, which is responsible for all operations related to the planning and growth of services related to the merchant business, as well as its overall strategy, planning, and KPI management.
In this interview, we spoke with Kamikawa-san of the Service Planning Department, who was in charge of planning the PayPay Flyer service that was launched on February 1, 2023. We discussed what the best part about his service planning work is.
Team Leader, Service Planning 1, Service Planning Department, Merchant Business Strategy Division
After graduating from university, he entered a major telecommunications carrier-affiliated ICT solutions company. While there, he worked in technical support, product planning, and marketing. He then joined PayPay in January 2022 after working as a SaaS service consultant, product manager, and head of the planning/development department at a data analysis company. Currently, as Team Leader, he leads the overall planning work for new merchant services.
Driving PayPay’s substantial growth through the creation of sales promotion services that span offline and online domains
It has been a year since you entered the company. What made you decide to come to PayPay and what has been your impression of the company since you joined?
I chose PayPay primarily because of the company’s ability to bring new services to numerous merchants and users. PayPay has actually exceeded my initial expectations and grown significantly since I joined the company. Now I quite enjoy planning new services for our 53+ million users and over 3.74 million merchant locations.
In my previous job, I was engaged in the planning and development of data-driven B2B online marketing and sales promotion support services, but I was interested in more than just the online domain. I was also fascinated by the digital transformation of the entire value chain through utilizing user behavior and purchase data across online and offline services. I also wanted to get involved in B2C, as I only had experience in B2B up until joining PayPay. So, I decided to take the leap because I believed PayPay was one of the best places to make all these wishes come true. Now I know that I wasn’t wrong.
Tell us about your current responsibilities
I am the leader of a team that plans new merchant services. I lead and promote a series of service planning tasks, from business model design—including feasibility studies—to defining feature development requirements.
Please tell us about the Merchant Business Strategy Division
PayPay is now in the stage of moving from market share expansion to monetization. In addition to charging payment fees, which is the first layer of monetization, we are now accelerating and expanding monetization efforts via merchant services and financial services, which are the second and third layers. The Merchant Business Strategy Division leverages the user and merchant base that grew through the payment business and services—the first layer—to oversee the second layer, or the merchant services business. The division is responsible for gathering all issues and requests from the merchants, and the launching and growth of services.
Within that process, the Service Planning Department, which I’m a member of, is responsible for planning new services as well as growing existing services, such as PayPay Coupon and PayPay Stamp Card. We do market research and concept planning, develop business models, and define feature requirements. Furthermore, we also both improve and add new features to PayPay for Business, a payment information and sales management tool for merchants. We also promote service planning for intra-group cooperation, which has recently been strengthening.
Creation of services that attract both users and merchants through tailored service design
Congrats on the launch of PayPay Flyer! Can you tell us about the service?
I’ve been working on this since right after I joined the company, so it feels great to have finally launched it!
PayPay Flyer is an e-flyer service that improves on the issues and weaknesses of traditional inserts and e-flyers. You see less paper flyers nowadays but they do still exist, and although there are already many e-flyer services, it is difficult to measure the actual impact of these flyers on store visits and purchases, making it a complex task to verify the effectiveness of sales promotions and to make improvements. Not only does PayPay Flyer solve the problems of traditional e-flyer services by leveraging PayPay’s ability to track payments, but it also provides merchants with more cost-effective promotional activities and users with a more affordable and convenient shopping experience.
As a merchant, you can potentially reach out to PayPay’s 53 million users, target promotions to our payment service users, and measure the payment-linked ROI (return on investment). For users, this allows them to compare and find the best deals at any time, and save even more through flyer-specific coupons.
What tasks were you responsible for when preparing for the launch of PayPay Flyer?
I was mainly responsible for managing the overall direction and progress of service development, approving, and reporting to management—what you normally refer to as a project manager. Rather than standing in front and leading everyone, I consider it more important to prop up weak spots or places where progress is slow, while creating an environment that allows members to succeed in their tasks and areas of responsibility.
What process do these new services go through before they are launched?
Hmm. Let me briefly explain the process from planning to launch, using PayPay Flyer as an example.
In order to create a service that has strengths and characteristics unique to PayPay and that can provide new value, we research our competitors and the market, as well as conduct surveys and interviews to gather the opinions of merchants.
We come up with a concept and formulate a business model based on the information and data obtained from the research. Then, we create billing systems and models based on various economic conditions and estimate business feasibility and profitability. Simultaneously, we check the laws and regulations regarding the provision of the service.
Once we decide on the concept, we use it to identify the necessary features and their requirements while keeping our future vision of the service in mind. When that is done, we figure out what the minimum viable product (MVP) would be.
After we narrow down the requirements for the MVP, we determine the features for the initial development stage through discussions with the product developers.
We then promote go-to-market activities through collaboration with related departments such as sales, marketing, and service operation divisions.
After an internal pilot, we launch the service.
The concept of the PayPay Flyer was already somewhat in place by the time I joined the company in January 2022, so it only took a little over a year from planning to launch.
I think I’m starting to see the fun and difficulties of service planning after hearing you talk about PayPay Flyer. Can you tell us a little more about the fulfilling and enjoyable aspects of your work?
I would say the fact that we can create services that capitalize on the company’s strength of having over 3.74 million merchant locations. When planning a service, we research the market and conduct surveys and interviews with merchants to determine the concept of the service, so that we can understand what value we should provide and in what form. Thanks to the efforts of the sales department and other relevant departments, which have built and continue to build solid relationships with merchants, PayPay is able to speed through this process, regardless of scale. I believe that it is only through the actual voices of merchants that we can greatly increase the granularity of issues and requests. I am very grateful for this environment where we can be take action based on the confidence that we can create better services.
The best part is that the more we debate, the more we throw ideas at each other, the more we hone our service quality. There are constant negotiations and meetings with various internal stakeholders—including product development, sales, marketing, and CS—from the planning of a service to its launch. As a service planner, I find it very helpful that in PayPay we can work together to aim for the best possible result while receiving feedback from multiple vantage points, both from merchants and users.
On the other hand, I assume there are challenges and difficulties. Can you share some examples?
PayPay has thankfully attracted a lot of attention, both good and bad, so we need to carefully consider not only the features of the services we offer, but also the non-feature requirements and risks. In addition, a well-balanced and detailed service design is necessary to ensure that the service provides benefits to both merchants and users. Because we are involved in high-impact services, there is a great deal of pressure and responsibility.
When I just joined the company, PayPay Flyer was already in its conceptualization stage, so I started working on the details of the project as soon as I became a member of PayPay and went on to give a presentation to management two weeks later. It was quite tough since I had a lot of catching up to do in a short period of time. This kind of speed at the workplace was quite difficult to get used to.
Developing lasting and effective sales promotions and the best shopping experience as a comprehensive online/offline sales promotion platform
What are some of your future aspirations and goals?
Currently, we provide standalone services such as coupons and stamp cards, but in the future we would like to offer comprehensive solutions to support merchants’ sales promotions. We want to support merchants so that they can conduct sales promotion activities that are optimized around the specific shopping scenarios and experiences of users, especially payments. Also, we want to enable users to discover convenient and economical deals, as well as attractive services and stores.
I know you are actively recruiting, but what kind of person do you think would succeed in PayPay?
If you have been involved in planning SaaS or sales promotion support services/products, whether it be B2B or B2C, you can make the most of your skills here. Skills and experience in defining upstream business requirements are a plus, but those who have actually translated business requirements into development requirements or planned and improved service strategies will have more opportunities to succeed. On top of that, if you have organized projects which involved many internal and external stakeholders or promoted the growth and enhancement of services/products after their launch, you can fully employ all that expertise.
Now, although the above skills and experience are important, more than that, we want to grow PayPay with people who share the company’s vision and are interested in the great potential our app has in becoming a super app.
Current job openings
*The recruitment status is current at the time of the interview.
Special Thanks: Kojiro Kamikawa / Editor: Sura / Author: PayPay Inside-Out Editorial Team / Photographer: Tak
*Employees’ affiliations are as of the time of the interview.