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Brands ‘must improve’ online experiences and embrace personalisation

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

While most top retailers have gift cards available there is still a huge opportunity for brands to capitalise on the gift card market.

That’s according to research from NAPCO, in conjunction with Blackhawk Network, which evaluated the state of key merchants’ gift card offerings, including TKMaxx, H&M and Apple.

The report highlights how retailers can reap the benefits of this growing market – Of course, Amazon topped the list, cementing itself as king of yet another sector, but even the retail giant has some room for improvement.

Essentially, the report found that across the board, top retailers are missing out on significant revenue streams by not giving customers what they want when it comes to gift cards. Even the most basic innovations seen across other areas of retail are yet to be implemented for gift cards. Key areas for improvement cited include:

  • Better personalisation: consumers have come to expect high levels of personalisation throughout the customer journey yet no retailer is capitalising on this when it comes to gift cards

  • Gift cards are often associated with consumer gifting but there is huge growth predicted in the B2B market. Tesco is leading the way in this category, scoring 100%, but other retailers are falling behind

  • There has to be better synergy between on and offline. The gift card space is lacking considerably when it comes to digital, with many retailers not offering the chance to purchase online or in-app.

Retailers routinely provided a weaker gift card purchase and recipient experience within their mobile apps. In fact, many do not offer gift cards within their apps at all.

Fashion retailers performed better than other verticals in the area of mobile app payment options. ASOS, Zara, Superdry, and Ted Baker offer standard Visa, MasterCard, Amex, and Maestro, with additional options including PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Afterpay, Klarna, Clearpay and Switch.

However, attention to the gift card purchase experience within apps is clearly lacking. This, the report says, is a missed opportunity to drive loyalty and build a long-term relationship with customers, particularly when it comes to younger audiences – research from Comscore finds that smartphone users between the ages of 13 and 24 are the heaviest mobile app users.

Perhaps the most significant takeaway of this report is that retailers must improve performance when it comes to the ease and experience of purchasing gift cards within their apps. Especially because consumers that have downloaded a retailer’s app are more likely to be loyal and regular customers.

A personalised experience is not optional

In 2021, customers have come to expect a personalised experience in almost every aspect of the consumer journey – and gift card purchases are no different.

A recent report from Accenture found that 91 percent of consumers are more willing to make purchases from retailers that ‘remember them’ and provide relevant offers.

But the NAPCO research found that personalisation within the gift card purchasing process could be vastly improved. Advanced personalisation options that should be considered include specialised faceplates, personal photographs or video content. For example, one brand lets buyers upload a personal video alongside their digital gift card to make the experience extra special.

B2B will drive sales

GlobalData forecasts that the gift card market is set to grow 24.7% over 2019–2025, and this will be primarily driven by growth in B2B sales.

Apple successfully highlights its B2B offering by providing 50 card packs for businesses, as well displaying a nice visual promoting its gifts for business on the gift card landing page.

Tesco, which earned 100 percent in the B2B category, has a dedicated corporate gift card site that allows users to customise the number and denomination of gift cards which puts it in a strong position.

Looking at the bigger picture, the report says retailers need to do more to capitalise on the B2B opportunity. The majority are leaving a significant amount of money on the table by not investing in activities to grow the number of customers who could purchase gift cards in bulk.

WEBINAR REWIND: Creating a Winning SCA Strategy in 2021

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Don’t worry if you missed last week’s insightful Signifyd webinar, Creating a Winning SCA Strategy in 2021 – you can now re-watch the entire session online.

Here’s the premise: As if the challenges of COVID weren’t enough for online retailers to cope with, the second phase of the payments services directive continues, bringing with it its requirements for stronger customer authentication.

This comes with a cost – the cost of compliance, new technologies, training, and potentially negative customer impact. But with that cost also comes opportunity – The opportunity to rethink checkout processes and optimise payments for better conversion than ever before.

Signifyd’s Senior Product Manager of Payment Solutions Shagun Varshney and guest speaker, Forrester Analyst Jacob Morgan, take a deep dice into the issues, covering:-

  • The current state of play for SCA in Europe
  • What ecommerce merchants can learn from their predecessors – the banks – through
    earlier implementations
  • How you can build an exemption strategy to protect your customers and your
    revenue now
  • Best-practice authentication strategies for the most seamless experiences in
    the long-term

The 60 minute session is now available online in full – Click here to watch now.

Getting conversion right doesn’t stop at the buy button

960 640 Guest Contributor

By Ed Whitehead, MD Europe, Signifyd

There is no great mystery behind the reasons conversion rate is the gold standard for measuring ecommerce success.

Conversion is where the money is. It’s the moment that the hard work of marketing, merchandising and customer acquisition pays off.

So, is it possible to be too focused on conversion rate? Well, yes. Or at least it’s possible to be too narrowly focused on conversion rate. Think about it? When is a conversion not a conversion?

There are fraudulent orders that result in chargebacks. There are returns that result not only in a lost sale, but additional cost for shipping, restocking or otherwise redistributing the product. There is friendly fraud, when the customer receives their order, but says they didn’t and gets a refund in addition.

All of these misfortunes befall an online seller after a customer clicks the buy button. And all of them can be better managed with a view of fraud management that is tailored for the new era of ecommerce.

First that new era: Few would dispute that the coronavirus pandemic has propelled ecommerce years into the future and that it’s never coming back to its 2019 status.

Global ecommerce sales rose 49% in 2020 over 2019, according to Signifyd’s Ecommerce Pulse data. In February, sales were still tracking 31% above their year-ago figures.

Consumers shifted to online shopping — and they liked it. Nearly 83% of UK consumers said they would be shopping differently post-COVID than they did before the pandemic, according to a Signifyd survey conducted by market researchers Upwave. In significant numbers they said they’d be doing more online shopping and more frequently availing themselves of click-and-collect.

These new realities call for a new way of looking at fraud management — a way that sees fraud management not as a defensive shield, but as a means of revenue optimization.

This new thinking starts with retailers examining the buying journeys they’ve created, so they can identify spots where they are unwittingly leaking revenue due to barriers they’ve placed in the way of customers.

In working with retailers, Signifyd has discovered that retailers are leaving as much as 10% of potential sales on the table due to revenue leakage. This loss occurs because of friction in the buying process — everything from poor user experience, overly conservative payment gateways, outdated fraud management and two-factor authentication.

And with new Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) enforcement coming to the UK in just a few months, it has never been more important to understand where the drop-off is happening.

The good news: Merchants can optimise their sales funnels. And while retailers aren’t oblivious to lost sales and damaged customer relationships, the issues often don’t get the attention they deserve.

Silos make it difficult to see where revenue is leaking

The lack of attention stems from the fact that it’s hard for any one team to see all the holes in the buying journey where revenue leaks. Teams often work in silos, relying on walled off data. By collaborating — marketing, payments, fraud management, customer support, operations and finance can build a more complete view.

Signifyd has developed a way to look at the revenue leakage problem that allows retailers to survey the entire buying journey and plug the leaks. Start with the way payment gateways operate, and rules governing transaction velocity and the like triggered by ecommerce platforms. Add the imperfection in some retailers’ fraud reviews. All of which leads to false declines.

Then, there are returned orders — which can easily reach 20% or higher — and chargeback claims to deal with. Before you know it, the initial set of customers that marketing acquired has shrunk by as much as 30% in some of the hardest hit verticals.

So, what do you do about revenue leakage?

What should retailers do to tighten up those journeys so they do not leak revenue?

The first step is to break down the internal, organizational barriers that prevent retailers’ customers from completing a sale. Data and communication silos have to go, so that all teams have a clear and unified vision of the buying funnel that encourages collaboration.

Next, merchants need to develop a revenue leakage dashboard that provides a comprehensive view of the buyer’s journey to help assess and plug holes. Retailers then need to establish a revenue-leakage benchmark. In short, merchants need to know where they stand in comparison to others in the same space. There is a whole industry of consultants whose expertise can be drawn on.

From there, retailers can identify the biggest leakage problems and go to work on those. The next part of that phase includes optimising that trouble spot; measuring improvements and testing effectiveness; then moving to the next problem and repeating the cycle again.

One likely suspect, where revenue normally leaks, is at the payment level. Significant progress can be made here and retailers should trust their fraud professionals to drive the relationship with payment gateways in their favour. Typically payment gateways try to dictate how risk management operations perform and so we advise that inhouse fraud experts strive to drive and control this relationship.

Fraud fear kills conversions

Beyond reviewing outside payment processors, retailers need to assess their own fraud tools and processes. Experts can, appropriately and easily, review and disable some rules and filters activated by payment gateways, ecommerce platforms and card processors to see what orders are not getting through systems. Also, retailers should strive to understand whether they are suffering from an unreasonably high percentage of declines from payment partners. Accessing benchmark data from the likes of Visa can help here.

Finally, merchants should evaluate the market for SCA solutions that will allow them to provide the best customer experience and minimise the number of step-ups caused by SCA.

Marrying modern fraud management with the right ecommerce platform, the right design and user-experience can stem revenue leakage and preserve lifetime customer value – giving retailers the confidence to serve more legitimate customers in the way they want to be served.

PSD2 is live – What are merchants experiencing?

960 640 Guest Contributor

By Ekata

The revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) went into effect this past January 1st for many countries across Europe. The payments ecosystem has been hard at work for the past year setting up their compliance for the new regulation. Now that the time has come to see the interactions play out, we wanted to investigate the merchant experience in the first months of 2021.

For merchants generally transacting in real-world goods, the online channel was a small subset of their total revenue. Once Covid-19 hit and all the shopping behaviours of 2020 impacted their business, most merchants became digital-first by necessity. This also means that understanding digital risk, fraud and PSD2 has happened incredibly fast for most companies.

THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEAD IN CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AND TRUST

PSD2 Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) provides rich opportunities for everyone in the payments ecosystem to strategise and win long-term:

  • Issuers want to stay “front of wallet”. Thus, it’s in their best interest to focus specifically on the customer experience and reduce any friction experienced by the consumer that could lead to an abandoned transaction.
  • Acquirers/PSPs want to develop new fraud capabilities (real-time fraud checks, Transaction Risk Analysis (TRA) etc.) and differentiate against an increasingly commoditised space.
  • Merchants want to increase conversion and do so by building frictionless experiences that keep the consumer returning to make additional purchases.
  • Everyone wants increased authorisation rates because, ultimately, this key business signal is tied to the bottom line.

THE SURVEY

Ekata and Allyiz  (formerly STRATGranat) interviewed top global merchants on their experiences in the first months of 2021 to understand their strategy around PSD2, and learn how they are actively monitoring and assessing SCA performance to drive better customer experience and trust.

Of these merchants, 90% were truly global and 10% were spanning various European countries. In order to ensure good SCA knowledge, we focused on people in Payments roles.

You can access our full study here to understand what these global merchants are seeing in the market – the ultimate temperature check on all the effort undertaken by the various payments players in the ecosystem.

Are you optimising your European checkout conversion rates?

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

By Max Roberts, UK Country Leader, Stripe

All ecommerce businesses face a common challenge: How do you remove unnecessary friction so that a consumer is more likely to make a purchase? One of the final and most crucial steps in this conversion journey is often neglected: the checkout flow.

As companies scale to new global markets, they need to consider the regional preferences of their consumers. Not translating your checkout to the language of your customers, or failing to offer popular local payment methods, could cut off entire countries from their addressable market, leading to lost sales.

As an example, when three Hong Kong-based businesses selling into the Netherlands enabled iDEAL, the most popular payment method among Dutch customers, payment volume from the Netherlands increased by 79%.

When we conducted a detailed review of 450 of the top ecommerce websites in Europe we found 58% had at least three basic errors, adding unnecessary friction for customers.

Here’s a snapshot of our findings.

Checkout form design

More than one-third of ecommerce companies added unnecessary friction to their checkout flow, preventing customers from checking out.

  • 42% did not automatically verify the card number as it was entered, increasing the likelihood of customers submitting inaccurate payment information
  • 39% let customers attempt to pay with an expired card date
  • 19% did not allow card numbers to be entered without spaces, adding friction by forcing customers to enter data in a certain way
  • 45% did not confirm card type when a card number was entered, missing the opportunity to validate payment details in real time

Mobile optimisation

Ninety-six percent of checkouts were designed to adapt to mobile screen sizes, but only 12% supported mobile wallets.

  • 4% did not adapt to mobile screen sizes
  • 29% failed to surface a numeric keypad to enter card information on mobile
  • 88% did not support either Apple Pay or Google Pay

Localisation

The majority of checkouts were not translated into other languages and did not offer the most relevant payment methods for international customers.

  • 74% of checkouts were not translated into local languages when customers elsewhere in Europe attempted to make a purchase
  • 81% did not offer local payment methods such as iDEAL, EPS, P24, or Bancontact in markets where they are widely used

You can read the full report on the common errors and why they matter in our State of European checkouts in 2020 report.

About Stripe:

Millions of businesses of all sizes — from startups to large enterprises — use Stripe’s software and APIs to accept payments, send payouts, and manage their businesses online.

Stripe updates its payments infrastructure an average of 16x a day. This velocity helps us continually increase conversion rates, reduce abandonment rates, and optimise checkout experiences.

To find out more contact us at https://stripe.com/gb/contact/sales.

Pixxles – The future of payments is coming

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

By Pixxles

Payments don’t need to be complicated. Pixxles is keeping it simple with a new end-to-end payment solution for online merchants. We’re not re-inventing payments, we’re just perfecting them.

The future of payments is coming soon.

Visit www.pixxles.com to register for launch updates and search #PixxlesPowerUps for tips on how to grow your #eCommerce business.

Synchronising Europe — Is regulatory compliance slowing your international growth?

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

By Nick Noyer, Head of EMEA Marketing, Stripe

Sixty-four percent of online businesses would sell to 10 or more EU countries if regulation were consistent.

In 2020 we commissioned research with leaders of 500 online European businesses to understand how they would benefit from a more consistent and harmonised regulatory framework across the European Union’s member countries.

Compliance — The challenges

Harmonised standards and tax policies should in principle ease international growth, however our study discovered a significant number of businesses cite regulatory issues as their biggest challenge. The diversity of regulations across the EU is a significant, costly, and an increasingly important challenge in the minds of online businesses. The study found that:

  • 72% of online businesses say compliance with regulation is a barrier to international growth
  • 33% of online businesses are fully confident that they are compliant with regulatory standards
  • 93% of online businesses are interested in using technology to help with regulation and compliance

Tackling the challenges

The results clearly show that diversity in EU regulations is holding businesses back. So what are the methods being utilised to support compliance?

Technology has always been an enabler for businesses, and it can be a means to align necessary regulatory standards and every business’ desire to expand. In fact, 57% of online businesses state that the availability of internet-based technology and tools has made it easier to run their business over the past 5 years. This makes online tech and tools the number one factor in making the lives of our managers and executives easier.

Other than online tools, online businesses reach to other important sources in order to meet their regulatory challenges: 44% pay for external advisors or consultants, and 41% recruit the manpower themselves.

How might technology help more?

The technology, just like the regulations, is seen as too country-specific and rather piecemeal. Ultimately, businesses are looking for an online tool that allows them to seamlessly carry out transactions across the EU and has built-in software supporting the varying tax, VAT, and regulatory requirements across the different markets. An integrated solution to the complex challenge would dramatically reduce the opportunity cost when dealing with regulations across different markets.

Conclusion

The opportunity for tech firms to ‘raise their game’ with compliance solutions is significant. At the same time, there is a need for further harmonisation of regulations across the EU. Regulations themselves drive standards, enabling quality, safety, and differentiation. But unharmonised, opaque, or hidden regulations hinder European businesses and intra-country trade to the tune of billions of euros.

Apart from the obvious approach to continue to streamline regulations across the EU, technological solutions could — and should — be part of the solution. Businesses overwhelmingly believe tech has the potential to assuage their regulatory worries but feel there is far more progress to make.

You can access the full study Synchronising Europe – Regulation, Technology & International Business Growth here for free.

Finally, a real alternative to cards for e-commerce and contact centre payments – Open banking payments

640 427 Stuart O'Brien

By Ordo

As businesses have digitised, payments had to follow suit.  The only option for taking these remote payments, to date, has been with credit and debit cards.  But cards are expensive and increasingly complex to support operationally, and fraught with fraud.  New open banking payments regulation and technology has allowed innovative regulated payments institutions like Ordo, regulated by the FCA, to deliver attractive new alternatives.  These services allow businesses to collect payments for only a small, fixed fee, and without the customer experience difficulties of cards, the exposure to fraud, or the waiting days for collected funds to clear.

Innovative e-commerce and real time request for payment (contact centre) solutions are exploit the following key features of open banking:

  • Faster Payments Service low cost base – unlike global card schemes, bank charges are only a small fixed fee per transaction irrespective of the value of that transaction;
  • reduced flow of account details between parties; and
  • irrevocable Faster Payments – once a payer pays, there’s no reversing or clawing back the payment, eliminating the risks of fraudulent payments for the collecting business.

And it virtually eliminates fraud. Push Payment Fraud – frauds against the senders of payments, usually sent through the Faster Payments Service, where a payer has been persuaded, tricked or misled into either sending a payment for a fraudulent service, or a legitimate payment to a fraudster’s account – in the first half of 2020 caused £207.8m of losses.  Only £73.1m was returned to customers, meaning £134.7m had to be absorbed by the impacted consumers and businesses.

Isn’t it time you protected your business, and implemented an efficiency drive that delivered results?

Try Ordo for free at https://www.myordo.com/landingPage or find out more here https://ordohq.com/enterprise/

Limonetik helps Utily.fr, a French moving company startup, expand its payment method options

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

By Limonetik

The COVID-19 crisis has given a fillip to the moving company market. French startup Utily.fr has called on Limonetik, specialised in international payments and marketplace solutions, to set up a multi-instalment payment solution with FLOA, a French banking leader in omnichannel payment.

Launched in 2018 and based in Vincennes near Paris, Utily.fr, a moving company, is riding the wave in a booming market worth over €4 billion in France alone. From 2018 to 2020—the year in which COVID gave a huge boost to the moving business—this innovative new company showed exponential growth of 609%.

“The lockdown was so brutal that many French people chose to move, which explains why our business has really exploded and is now considered ‘essential'”, says Mike Dejardin, 28, erstwhile corporate middle manager, who is founder and president of Utily.fr.

But the sudden desire of the French to move to larger and/or greener residences does not solely explain the success of Utily.fr. More importantly, the company is meeting the latent needs of consumers, especially when it comes to confidence.

“It may seem surprising but, for the French, moving is the third greatest source of stress! This is explained by numerous problems with movers, not to mention security issues, consistent pricing, payment terms and itemized quotes… in short, customers are mainly blaming movers for a lack of transparency and support.”

Meeting latent customer needs

The Utily.fr marketplace allows customers to simulate an online quote and compare movers. The company offers a variety of concierge services for both individuals and businesses, and boasts other advantages:

“A move can often be very expensive. That’s why we needed to offer different payment terms to meet the needs of all our customers. We decided to give them the option of splitting their payments.”

In a nutshell, a customer can take out a micro-credit, select the desired package and then spread payment over multiple instalments.

To make this possible, Utily.fr partnered up with another French business, Limonetik, a specialist in automated online payment management, and its partner FLOA Bank (part of the Casino Group).

“Limonetik has a solid reputation in online payment with a number of marketplaces. Particularly, we found their solution to be much more effective and capable of being easy integrated into our platform. What’s more, the Limonetik service team speaks our language—a real advantage since we are collaborating on this new payment system to most effectively meet our customers’ expectations.”

Disruption in the moving business and a changing image

Utily.fr is unique in that it acts as an intermediary for the mover and not as a broker paid on commission. This offers an advantage to professional movers and end-users by having to deal with only one contact.

Utily.fr allows customers to independently compare offers from movers selected for the quality of their services and then choose from one of three plans. The company handles all insurance issues. Clients receive a detailed quote before being contacted by a consultant who checks that all the information is complete. Utily.fr then handles the rest.

This offering has already attracted a large number of customers, both in France and in nearly twenty countries within and outside Europe. In 2021, Utily.fr plans to build up its sales force and call centre with a dozen more staff. This company strategy is addressing some three million moves that take place each year in France.

www.limonetik.com

PSD2 SCA: How Ready are Issuers? A Guide for the Payments Ecosystem

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

By Ekata

In the fall of 2020, Ekata conducted in-depth research into the European Payments Service Provider (PSP) ecosystem. We surveyed over 500 large and medium issuers & platforms to better paint a picture of the opportunities and challenges ahead.

This ebook aims to inform and help merchants, PSPs and acquirers with issuer readiness findings and future updates. 

Click here to download now.