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How to drive cross-border e-commerce growth

Digital technologies are the “great equaliser” of our time. If you’re a business, digital means it’s now easier than ever to reach new markets. If you’re a customer, you now have access to products and services from almost anywhere on the planet.

UK e-commerce sales up 15%

How to drive cross-border e-commerce growth

The impact is most evident in the e-commerce space, an industry that’s expected to be worth $424 billion by 2021. But even offline, businesses are increasingly operating in an international marketplace at every stage of the supply chain – writes Andrea Dunlop, CEO of Acquiring & Card Solutions, Paysafe.

Against this backdrop, businesses can no longer afford to treat payments as a mere commodity.

Indeed, a recent Paysafe White Paper has identified five proven payments strategies for businesses to stimulate cross-border growth and expand reach by engaging new audiences.

Build a seamless experience across different channels

The days when consumers transacted through a single channel are long gone. Which is why omnichannel has become a strategic priority for 37% of businesses, according to a report by PWC.

Consumers typically think of shopping as one single experience, even when transactions involve different channels or a cross-border dimension. And they always expect payment to be easy and safe, whatever the time, date, location, type of product and availability.

So, offering a seamless payment experience across channels and borders can help customers feel more connected to your brand.

Use security and compliance as a unique selling point

Security in digital payments presents a unique challenge.

On the one hand, having robust checks in place is key. Unauthorised transactions and other fraudulent activities can result in chargebacks eating away at your revenue. And there’s the risk of long-term loss of business caused by reputational harm and lack of consumer trust.

Regulatory pressure is also increasing. For instance, PSD2 — which will come into force in January 2018 — calls for two-factor authentication on all electronic payments over €10 (at the time of writing, €10 is approximately US$12.00 or £8.87).

But customers often find security procedures complex, frustrating and annoying. Indeed, PSD2’s security requirements have caused considerable alarm in payment circles due to concerns about increased friction and, consequently, greater shopping cart abandonment rates.

Clearly, choosing payment methods that offer a happy medium between security and ease of use can put you at a considerable advantage.

Explore alternative payment methods to deliver variety, choice and relevance

From money remittance to electronic payments and beyond, relevance is often underrated. Nowhere is this more apparent than in e-commerce, where 46.1% of cart abandonment issues occur at the payment stage.

Consumers want to pay using the payment method they know and prefer. So, with international markets now more competitive than ever, offering the right mix can make the difference between success and losing a significant chunk of business.

Relevance depends on many factors, including the cultural context, people’s attitudes and the economic circumstances in a given market. From digital wallets that link to individual customers’ preferred card or account to payments using cryptocurrencies, alternative payment methods can address the issues of relevance and variety whilst also being scalable.

Alternative payment methods also offer other benefits, including mobile-optimised solutions, recurring payments and multi-currency payments.

Serving the underserved

People often take bank accounts and credit cards for granted, especially in more advanced markets. But the underserved are everywhere, not just in developing countries. In Europe, for instance, 138 million people still don’t have a bank account, even though the Payment Accounts Directive grants all EU citizens the right to have one.

Even where access to banking services isn’t a problem, some people simply prefer using cash. And this precludes them from participating in the digital economy.

Alternative payment methods that allow people to convert cash into digital currency can create inroads into largely untapped markets, and help economies become more inclusive by bridging the gap between analogue and digital payment spheres.

There’s never been a better time to expand beyond the confines of your local market. The most successful cross-border merchants will be those with the foresight to leverage payment technologies, alternative payment methods and value-add tools.

For this to happen, partnering with a trusted cross-border payment provider is crucial. Aside from help with selecting the right technology and transitioning smoothly, your provider offers many other benefits.

Add value to your payment solutions

Offering added-value payment solutions is a great way of building brand loyalty whilst also standing out from the crowd. And this holds true as much for B2B customers as it does in the B2C space.

Adding value doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel. It can be as easy as using existing payment methods in novel ways.

A case in point, you can deploy prepaid cards as loyalty cards, so they serve both as a payment method and as a way to collect rewards.

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