There’s more to global payments than the age-old question, “debit or credit?”
Interest in alternative payment methods has skyrocketed in recent years, and it doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon. U.S. e-wallet usage surpassed that of debit cards in 2017 and, according to Worldpay’s 2017 Global Payments Report, is projected to increase by nearly 20 percent over the next five years, eventually topping credit cards by 2021. Changing payment preferences aren’t unique to the U.S., however. For example, in Australia, credit card payments are set to decline more than 15 percent by 2021, making bank transfers the most popular payment method in that country.
Curious how to keep up with evolving payment preferences? From identifying business needs to understanding distinct market traits, the following tips can make it easier to cater to consumers all around the world.
Take a Look in the Mirror
Before considering consumer preferences in the markets you serve, assess your brand’s goals and attributes, because switching payment methods is not a quick or easy task. Hours of website development coupled with a redesigned sales process and new payment provider contracts can draw out the process. Despite the effort involved, the return on investment to be gained makes the time and money spent worth it in the end.
Start off by doing a deep dive on your company's needs. Is mobile optimization a high priority? What about storing customer data for a fast, easy checkout? Currently the second most used payment method in the U.S., e-wallets are projected to become the top payment option with a 46 percent usage rate by 2021. Cater to these preferences with an e-wallet offering that provides consumers with the speed and simplicity they’ve come to expect from your business. It’s also a good idea to recognize the value of your company's offerings. Since some payment methods have specific transaction limits, they may not be a feasible option.
Last but not least, take consumers’ expectations — and how those may change — into consideration. If your business consistently delivers a speedy checkout experience, then lean toward payment methods that can help get customers on their way.
Gain a Feel for Each Market
When it comes to meeting the needs of various markets, a one-size-fits-all approach won’t cut it. In the same way shoppers have different tastes, preferences vary drastically among global markets. For example, in the established e-commerce markets of Western Europe, many consumers would rather remember their online banking details than the information needed to pay by card. Credit cards, however, are expected to remain the premier payment option throughout Hong Kong.
Tailor your mix of payment options to the needs of each of the markets you sell in. Otherwise, the strategy of offering the same set of payment methods to each market may prove costly. Make the investment to deliver on a full suite of payment methods, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Work with an experienced payment provider that can reduce friction while also providing local knowledge of payment options and shopper payment preferences. Nearly 80 percent of U.S. consumers say that the payment experience affects their willingness to return to a retailer’s website. Therefore, the more informed you are, the better chance you have of creating a checkout experience that will keep customers coming back for more.
The payments landscape is constantly changing. With a growing number of payment options at their fingertips, consumers everywhere are re-evaluating which methods best meet their needs. Stay one step ahead of the competition by doing the same. From factoring in your company's operations to keeping up with payment preferences, preparing for additional shakeups can position your business at the top of a fragmented payments industry for years to come.
Casey Bullock is the general manager, global e-commerce, North America for Worldpay, a secure payment processing company.
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