International E-commerce (496 words)
Your e-catalog is set for international release. You’re using the local currencies, culturally relevant copy, the best international character set in the business, and the native language right down to the intricacies of dialect that can change in a matter of a few blocks. What could stand in your way? Payment.
If you are only offering payment by check or credit card, you’ll significantly bottleneck response rates. Research carried out by Forrester Research points out that 85 percent of all Internet users do not buy products online because they are unwilling to use their credit cards for Web purchases. A study conducted by Ernst & Young ranks credit card information security as one of the biggest concerns of international Web users. The Internet consulting firm NUA (www.nua.com) further affirms in a survey of 460,000 Belgians that 75 percent won’t give their credit card number for online purchases.
Another caveat: Compared to the United States, credit card penetration is much lower overseas.
Handling Online Credit and Collection
Handling international payments in-house is an option, but not always viable. Implementing and negotiating payment plans and forming relationships with banks in all of the countries where you intend to do business takes time, and in the e-tail world, that can mean a lot of missed opportunity.
If you’re thinking about outsourcing, WebCollect could be the solution. Launched in August 1999 as a pilot with Apple Computer, WebCollect is a payment structure for the Internet developed by TNT Post Group (TPG) under the management of GlobalCollect, which handles renewal and payment for the international versions of Forbes and The Wall Street Journal.
In three to four weeks WebCollect sets up your e-tail Web site to accept payment in four different ways: credit card, bank transfer, check or giro (a pre-printed invoice for balance transfers that is popular in such countries as Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium and Japan).