We live in a continuously evolving world and it is certainly not easy to keep pace with the times. For Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2010), for example, speed is now their bread and butter. In the Ecommerce world, with the dawn of the digital era, new sales and management methods are constantly being introduced. This requires that we keep up with the times; starting from “old” paper money and transitioning to credit cards and later to e-wallets and online banking. As the years pass, we get further and further from physical payments and closer to reaching an increasingly conceptual and digital speed.
This frenetic evolution does not simply involve the Ecommerce world, but all commercial activities. Whether you operate an online business or physical stores, you might be asking yourself: am I keeping up with customer requirements?
The key concept is being ready to adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape. However, in the digital world, not everyone feels at ease using a credit or debit card to make online and in-store payments. And others, especially in some markets, prefer using alternative payment methods or don’t use cards at all.
Therefore, it appears extremely important for Ecommerce platforms to accept forms of alternative payments; otherwise the risk is to drive away potential customers who want to pay using these options.
They are alternative methods for paying for goods or services directly from a device (e.g., a smartphone) by managing digital wallets or through online banking solutions. Alternative payments eliminate the need to use physical cards directly (or at all).
In some countries, credit cards are no longer the main payment method, and alternative payments have quickly picked up on this aspect. In addition, many consumers select local payment methods.
According to a 2020 Wordpay Report¹, 32% of Ecommerce payments in UK in 2020 were made by digital or mobile wallets, like Paypal, Amazon Pay, Google Pay or Apple Pay. Although the leading method of payment online seems to be alternative methods, debit and credit cards are still widely used – amounting respectively to 29 and 21% of Ecommerce payments in UK during 2020.
Regarding proximity payments - in-store payments made via smartphones – the forecast is that around a quarter of smartphone users in the UK are going to be proximity mobile payment users by 2023.² In 2019, the proportion was at just over 19 percent and in 2021 more than 22%.
E-wallets like Paypal, Apple Pay or Google Pay allow you to securely deposit funds and conduct payments or electronic transfers. There are two types:
This method is not only fast and secure; it also offers other benefits, such as the possibility to pay with a single device in all participating stores, both in-person and online. The list is quite long, but just to cite a few others, Samsung Pay and Amazon Pay are expanding, while 2Checkout or TransferWise are already commonly used. Another interesting payment method are account-cards, like Hype, which enable you to easily make purchases online or in stores and withdraw at no cost from any branch worldwide. Every payment method provides a range of benefits, but what is common to all is the simplicity and security that they offer in both online and POS payments.
Bank transfers are alternative payments carried out through online banking. In this case, users authorise the payment online directly from their bank’s reserved area. This payment method has been gaining ground very quickly for Ecommerce in the past years. What has enabled their rise? Certainly, the low acceptance costs and the lower number of chargebacks for merchants have provided a decent push, however the support provided by the European PSD2 regulation is a factor that should not be underestimated.
Why offer alternative payments to customers? Here are a few benefits for merchants:
The result? More sales.
However, there are also benefits for the customers:
Paypal is one of the most recognised alternative payment methods in the western world for Ecommerce. However, if you want to sell abroad, you should evaluate the local payment preferences for different countries.
Are you interested in the Chinese market? Alipay, PayMe and WeChat now dominate that market. Specifically, 67% of mobile users in Hong Kong say their preferred method is Alipay, followed closely by PayMe with a 64% rate and WeChat Pay with 43%.³ Let’s say a Chinese customer goes to your Ecommerce site because he’s interested in a product. He is first going to check the payment methods that are accepted and if Alipay and WeChat are not an option the result may be losing the purchase from a potential customer.
You can even offer the perfect product for the market you are seeking to reach, however if you don’t offer the payment methods those customers prefer, your sales may not take off. This is particularly important for markets that are so different from our own, like China.
Accepting local payments is fundamental not only for Ecommerce, but for all commercial activities. In the tourism sector alternative payments are developing quite rapidly. There could be many tourists who prefer to use alternative payment methods such as Google Pay or Apple Pay; methods which they trust. The same is true for other nations within Asia and Africa, where credit cards are not always available and departing tourists can choose to only use alternative payment methods to book their trips.
There are several ways to implement a new payment system: by registering directly on the platform (eg. PayPal), by contacting the company directly (eg. HYPE) or by contacting an authorized intermediary (eg. Apple Pay).
With Axerve Ecommerce Solutions, our online payment gateway, we have created a payment hub that is able to support the merchant from a strategic point of view, becoming the ideal partner to grow his business by simplifying the access to these tools.
Moreover, if your business needs a more complex payment orchestration solution, Axerve’s Payment Orchestra™ is the single touchpoint for a wide range of payment providers to safely and effectively manage your payments at all times in different countries and with alternative currencies.
We have seen how alternative payments are expanding worldwide: from e-wallets to online banking, the future is oriented towards an increasingly digital world. It doesn’t matter how big your Ecommerce website is, alternative payments could give you the edge to attract new customers, by offering them local payments that they trust or internationally recognized digital wallets.
Wordpay Report, 2020.
Marketing Interactive, 2020.
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