E-commerce has had a profound impact on our daily lives, creating new ways to consume goods and services and significantly changing our purchasing habits. Customers have embraced online shopping with enthusiasm for its ease and convenience, and increasingly they demand high levels of service and simplicity as a standard when they shop. Consumers expect retailers to adapt to their specific markets, especially in areas such as language, presentation and payments. As a result, when international retailers enter foreign markets they must develop a localised strategy in order to provide the customer experience which consumers are accustomed to expect. Furthermore, merchants such as marketplaces, which have multiple sellers from different regions, must ensure that they adapt both to local requirements of buyers as well as to the local needs of individual sellers.
Localised Payment is key to success
Checkout and payment pages are key to completing a purchase, but also often a point of high customer drop off and as such they are very important to get right in order to ensure maximum possible conversion.
If the consumer encounters any problems, such as rejected payment, unfamiliar or unexpected payment flow, unknown payment methods or lack of expected payment options the consumer may abandon the transaction and most likely not come back to the website again. It is, therefore, very important for the merchants to build an optimised and localised payment experience for their international websites. It is even more vital for the international players as they compete with other international but also local merchants and thus the consumers expect the same or better service from them.
Enabling local payment acceptance
Customers in diverse markets show preference for different payment methods. These can include cards, e-wallets, prepaid cards, direct debits or bank transfers. There are many well established payment brands such as Alipay in China, Yandex in Russia, Ideal in the Netherlands and many more. Enabling these multiple payment methods in different countries can be a fundamental task for any merchant big or small, domestic or with international presence. Each of these would require legal, administrative, back office, financial and technical efforts to be integrated into the merchants systems and processes. As a merchant grows and sells in more markets it will need to add new payment options. Furthermore, different payment methods change over time, so there is a need to continuously update systems and processes in order to be compliant with the relevant payment acceptance procedures.
Aside from building all the connections internally, there is an option to use a third party provider whose platform can perform the task of aggregating and harmonising all these payments to make the process easier for the merchant. Many merchants opt for having an alternative payments provider who helps them stay on the top of the ever growing requirements for accepting new payment. In some cases they may outsource the processing of all payments, in some cases they may accept some directly and some via third party. Such rationale often depends on their existing systems and also on the overall volumes through each payment method.
Think globally, act locally
With consumers expecting the highest levels of service and the most relevant features from the websites, which include payments, the bar has been raised high for retailers, and for marketplaces and their sellers. Localisation is an essential part of a global expansion strategy and merchants should consider all options available to them in order to grow and retain a loyal customer base.
Masha Ciliers, Digital Payments Consultant