Lynk & Co is all about making mobility better than it was before – and easier. With different membership plans users can get access to a state-of-the-art car without owning it, through subscription. They just need to decide which color and which engine they prefer, and then they can start driving – while Lynk & Co takes care of everything else.
But who is taking care of things for Lynk & Co – things like the obvious need to get paid for providing access to better mobility? The answer is simple: strong partners like Arvato Financial Solutions. The Bertelsmann subsidiary helped Lynk & Co to roll out its innovative car subscription and P2P sharing platform across seven European countries in a short time by making sure that all the complex financial processes in the background run smoothly.
To quote Lynk & Co’s CEO Alain Visser: “We don’t have the arrogance to say we can do everything in-house. We also need professional partners who can implement our ideas. If a car is shared between customer A and B, then payment also needs to take place between the two of them. That’s where it’s important for us to work with absolutely professional partners like Arvato Financial Solutions.”
Entering a new world with Arvato Financial Solutions as a backbone
Given the ambition of Lynk & Co’s platform, one can easily see where Visser is coming from: His company’s business model caters to customers all over Europe – with huge differences when it comes to their preferred payment methods. And while the business of car manufacturers was traditionally built on big one-time revenues through sales or leasing models, Lynk & Co relies on a backbone that caters for use cases ranging from mileage-based billing to usage based subscriptions, which completely changes the rules of the game. “It’s a completely different model of customer interaction when you sell a car for fixed prices or have to handle thousands of monthly invoices or peer-to-peer sharing transactions,” explains Kay Dallmann, Senior Vice President at Arvato Financial Solutions. “These are simply different worlds.”
With the subscription model, Lynk & Co also keeps the cars on its own balance sheet instead of transferring the risk of ownership completely to a buyer. This obviously has implications for managing risks in the relationship between company and customer. Accordingly, assessing the risk associated with a subscription. Subscription management, payment processing, receivables management and debtor management are the other building blocks of the holistic Subscription Management Platform that Arvato Financial Solutions offers.
How platform approaches support the sharing economy
For Kay Dallmann, this platform approach is the best choice for companies whenever consumption data is processed, invoices are created, or receivables must be collected. He comments: “It’s absolutely important to think about processes from the perspective of the end customer. There definitely are processes in the background that can be set up centrally to make them available to many while ensuring offers with high customer relevance. For example, the areas of billing, invoicing and accounts receivable management. It is vital to have specialists on board for that.”
Besides these areas, Dallmann assigns high importance to digital payment systems. They offer shared mobility providers like Lynk & Co the opportunity to track all processes. And they help reduce payment costs such as default rates. These can vary widely – from less than one percent to three percent of actual transactions. “The better sharing providers manage this process, the more effective it becomes and the better the user experience, especially for smaller amounts which are quite common in the sharing economy”, Dallmann explains.
Features and benefits include, for example, determining the payment method based on individual risk assessments or using the payment method to set limits, split payments or even transfer the complete payment risk. Arvato Financial Solutions knows these business models from the digital world and executes this kind of tasks millions of times a month. That’s why the company is uniquely positioned to transfer this process experience into the shared mobility sector so that sharing can be handled as cost-effectively as possible.
Dallmann is convinced that sharing models will continue to grow – in the automotive industry and beyond. “For many western countries this can be seen as a sign of saturation”, he says. “Owning something seems less important as a result. For developing countries on the other hand, sharing is a means of utilizing goods more efficiently and ultimately saving resources.” For sharing models to fly, however, some questions need to be answered. How does a provider profit? Is their business model just mobility? Or can they collect additional movement data from consumers to continually improve processes and offerings and respond better to their needs? Thanks to their vast experience, Arvato Financial Solutions can help with the answers.