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Online retailers must cater for different ‘cultures of payment’ if they are to succeed


A recent poll conducted by the electronic payment specialists PPRO Group has shown that 68 per cent of UK consumers have abandoned an online retail site due to the complicated or unfamiliar payment process used by the website.

More than half of those polled said they gave up because it was too complicated, whilst 46 per cent said they did so because the website did not offer their preffered payment method. These figures make it increasingly clear that online retailers must seriously consider an omni-payment strategy to keep customers interested through to completion of transaction if they are to maximise sales.

This has been made especially hard for international online sellers, who have to deal with differences in preferences according to different cultures and nationalities. Whilst PayPal is by far the most popular method for British consumers (more than twice as popular as credit cards, the next most popular method), in Germany buyers prefer to pay on account and by direct debit. Not only do individual countries have different preferences, but they are extremely hostile to unfamiliar methods: 92 per cent of UK consumers would not pay with a method they did not know.

Understanding this differentiation is crucial to increasing the chances of success of any retailer hoping to export their business to an international audience. Tobias Schreyer, co-founder of the PPRO Group, said that businesses first had to understand different cultures of payment themselves. Without this, he argues, a ‘beautifully designed’ website is ‘pointless’ if the customer ultimately refuses to complete a transaction due to a lack of payment options.

Consumers also expect variety when it comes to payments with 88 per cent of UK consumers expecting to have the option to pay by a number of means when they shop online. Merchants need to accommodate this and offer alternative methods. If payment options are limited, so are sales opportunities.

“By removing the boundaries and complexities of international electronic payment processes, consumers can ultimately buy what they want, where they want and how they want, increasing opportunities for merchants. If these barriers are not broken down the ramifications can be severe,” adds Tobias.

Published on Monday 18 August by Editorial Assistant

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