Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the October 2011 issue of Direct Marketing, an Ontario, Canada-based publication about interactive marketing and sales.
Have you ever been in a retail store that only accepted credit cards for payment? No cash or debit payments? That would be bizarre. But when you go online, you’ll find thousands of sites that are still only accepting credit cards for payment, including those for the majority of the direct marketing industry.
The Internet has been traditionally very credit card oriented since the early days, but things are changing fast, and while e-commerce has been a very positive experience for most direct marketers, they often face unforeseen payment and fraud costs when they expand internationally.
Looking to the gaming industry
When we look at the e-commerce payments strategy followed by the online gaming industry, we can see that their sites ensure their customers can fund their accounts with credit cards and a wide variety of other alternatives.
Today, many of the payment companies that became well-known in gaming have also become the leaders in global e-commerce payment processing.
Savvy direct marketers realize that accepting more forms of payment is the easiest and fastest way to boost online sales and profit. Plus it offers a competitive advantage. If you can’t accept the form of payment your customers want to use online, they’ll either go to the more expensive offline channel or to your competition.
Recognizing the danger of this, the majority of online businesses are now implementing comprehensive, global payment strategies that include accepting more forms of payment than just credit cards.
Offering multiple forms of payment
You might be thinking that accepting payments can’t be that difficult, since most consumers have credit cards to make purchases, but research actually shows that 30 to 40 percent of consumers don’t have a major credit card and others don’t want to use theirs online. Also, credit cards are not as popular outside of North America, so if you have international customers, you need to offer them the payment methods they have in their local country. A web merchant can’t make the sale online unless the merchant can accept the payment.
PartyPoker.com (which does not accept U.S. players) is a prime example of a company offering multiple payment options to its customers; every online business could learn from the company’s payments strategy and increase sales globally. Remember, by offering your customers more online payment options you increase the odds of making that sale online.