Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Rise of the Alternative Payment Solutions

With consumer behaviours rapidly evolving, the ability to choose how, when, and where to pay for goods and services has never been so important. As alternative forms of payment are emerging, a flexible approach to accepting payments is vital to the customer shopping experience. Whether it is online, mobile, e-wallets, or contactless payment acceptance channels, businesses have opportunities to generate increased sales by offering these options to their customers.

The global economy has seen significant growth from the emergence of electronic payments, with additions of over $983 billion between 2008 and 2012 according to a recent Moody’s report. This can be attributed to increased convenience, greater access to an increasing number of channels, and guaranteed payments for both consumers and businesses. The content below is to inform you on methods of alternative payment used by consumers that should be considered by your business:

Online: E-commerce has driven significant economic growth in the UK, with contributions by this channel to the GDP expected to reach £225 billion by 2016 according to a recent study by the Boston Consulting Group. Accepting online payments through your website will provide your customers with a convenient, secure way to pay for goods and services with just a few clicks of their mouse. Online payment processing can be integrated with your business bank account, making it easier to reconcile your funds and accelerate your cash flow.

Mobile: Developments in mobile commerce have allowed businesses to offer improved access to their products and services via mobile apps making it easy for consumers to make payments on their mobile devices. Consumers can now make purchases anytime and anywhere, without sacrificing efficiency and security. Businesses can also take advantage of mobile Point of Sale solutions allowing them to accept card payments whilst they are on the move.

Electronic Invoicing: Electronic invoicing is a highly efficient way to accept payments from your customers, accelerating the speed of incoming payments and reducing the time and hassle of chasing customers. It will enable your business to track and manage your invoices and balances, while also dramatically reducing the time and costs associated with invoicing. Look for a solution that is integrated with your credit card processing for easier management and quicker access to your funds.

E-Wallet: Electronic wallets are used for online and mobile purchases where a customer can securely save their credit or debit card details, automating the order form process. This eliminates the need to re-enter card details when making multiple purchases, and can be accessed by password, PIN, or even voice biometrics. Protecting the contents within the e-wallet is the responsibility of the e-wallet provider, allowing you to avoid situations regarding mishandled or misused customer information.

Contactless Cards: Although they can only be used in a physical store, contactless cards allow consumers to make low-value purchases quick and easy by just placing their card in front of the card reader. Contactless provides a more efficient transaction process, allowing you the opportunity to serve more customers through reduced queues.

Flexibility towards emerging and alternative payments can become a huge asset for your business. Only accepting cash and cheques will limit how and when you can serve your customers, and will put you in a competitive disadvantage to those businesses that have already embraced the emerging technologies. Prepare your business for the future, and adapt to customer expectations. You don’t want to be in a position where you are scrambling to catch up.

Written by: Ronnie Kondub

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