How does your business define great customer service? For most e-commerce companies, it starts with engagement. In other words, it’s all about building loyalty and excitement by involving customers in the core of your brand and mission.

However, while customer engagement through social media, e-mail, and online chats is essential, there are some basic, technical building blocks of good service that your organization should embrace, beginning with the options you offer for online payment. It’s important to understand the different habits, financial requirements, geographic preferences, and demographic trends that apply to your existing customers and potential buyers.

In addition, if your business already has a global audience or has plans to take advantage of the massive potential of cross-border trade in the future, you need to stay up to date on international payment trends.  With all this in mind, let’s look at some of the key payment options that your online sales team should consider:

The Basics

Credit cards are the old standard in the realm of online payment, and your e-commerce store no doubt processes the major cards. According to Statista, 22% of buyers worldwide prefer to use credit cards, making it the second most popular form of payment. The reign of credit cards at the top of the transactional ladder has been fading, as digital wallets and Buy Now Pay Later methods grow in importance. Still, many consumers are loyal to their cards – and to the loyalty points they accrue by using them.

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The Digital Wallet

Globally, digital and mobile wallets are the most popular form of payment, preferred by more than 44% of online buyers in 2020. Statista predicts that this number will rise to nearly 52% by 2024. The digital wallet stores a customer’s personal and financial information, allowing a simple log-in process to complete a transaction. By simplifying and streamlining the experience, this payment option can significantly improve the likelihood that your customers will see a transaction through to the end. In other words, digital wallet payments help to reduce shopping cart abandonment, and your company should take steps not only to accept this form of payment, but to promote its wider use.

The most popular digital wallets are well-known to businesses and consumers alike, and include PayPal, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, Google Pay and Alipay. It’s important to have these payment options available to your customers:

  • PayPal is used in more than 200 countries, making it especially important if you are doing business in international markets.
  • 93% of mobile shoppers have an Amazon account, making Amazon Pay a critical choice.
  • Apple Pay comes preinstalled on all Apple devices, meaning it is easily available to millions of consumers, and for Android users, Google Pay is similarly accessible.
  • Alipay is the most popular digital wallet in Asia, with more than 1.2 billion users.

Buy Now Pay Later

Consider offering an installment payment option, given the increasing popularity of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL). For young buyers with limited resources, but also for cost-aware Boomers, BNPL offers an affordable and often low-interest way of paying over time. According to Statista, over 60% of Gen-Z (aged 18-24), millennials (those aged 25-40) and Gen-X-ers (aged 41-56) made at least one BNPL purchase over the past year. However, over 40% of the over 55 group had also used this option. Customers report using BNPL to avoid credit card interest fees, to make purchases that otherwise might not be affordable, and to obtain credit in some cases without a credit check.

Some popular installment payment programs include Klarna, ClearPay and PayPal’s “Pay in 4.”

Cash on Delivery

In a large part of the world, online purchases are actually made with cash, although trends suggest that this method is waning in popularity. In a cash on delivery transaction, the recipient makes payment at the time of delivery. In some cases, actual cash is not involved, and the buyer instead makes payment on delivery with an SMS pay link-based system using credit or debit cards.

Ultimately, offer customers a variety of options that account for new technology and advances in payment processing. The fact is, payment systems are constantly evolving, and it’s essential to evolve with them.

What is your business doing to give customers more options for online payment? Let us know on Twitter @DHLUS.

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