Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Alternative digital payments: Festive Season lessons from Black Friday

By Supplied Time of article published Dec 23, 2018

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JOHANNESBURG – South African e-tailers who provide their customers with alternative digital payment options beyond those of credit cards will benefit from increased sales this festive season where traditional payment service providers are unable to cope with demand.

“Having learnt from the system outages from previous years, large e-tailers went to great lengths to ensure their systems were robust and available during Black Friday. Unfortunately, the inability of some major payment service providers to do the same would have had a massive impact on sales were it not for alternative payment options such as instant EFT,” said Thomas Pays, Chief Executive of  i-Pay.

This, he says, points to a changing of the guard where alternative online payment methods will become increasingly popular and  take their place alongside traditional payment methods.

“The connected world we live in means South African consumers expect a smooth online experience. This is not only limited to streaming movies and music, surfing the Web, or engaging in social networking activities, but also extends to the online shopping experience.”

He believes that if a merchant is unable to facilitate a smooth transaction (whether due to a site issue or payment problem), a customer is likely to move to a competitor. And considering that the global online shopping cart abandonment rate is hovering at around 77%, merchants must do everything in their power to get customers to complete their purchases. Giving them more payment options is certainly a step in the right direction.

“Brand loyalty is a thing of the past. If people are unhappy, they are spoilt for choice and can easily go elsewhere. This is why digital payment services such as Instant EFT are so important because they cut out the middleman and leverage a direct relationship with the financial institution. There is no need for the customer to register or even have a credit card. It is as easy as securely logging in to their bank account and making payment immediately.”

Even better, Pays says, this technology supports any mobile platform making it an ideal solution for the South African market.

“Data we collected shows that 61% of online shoppers who used our Instant EFT platform did so on a mobile device. Even more significantly, Android made up almost half of our total users with Windows desktop and Apple mobile coming in second and third, respectively” he said.

This reflects the importance of using a payment solution that supports multiple platforms, devices, and operating systems.

Beyond the user experience, there is also a significant amount of work needed on the technical back-end to ensure digital payment systems remain available, irrespective the load.

“As with last year, i-Pay used its own technical infrastructure to ensure no processing bottlenecks occurred. The focus was on being hyper-available at all costs. And judging by the success of Instant EFT on the day, the investment clearly paid off.”

Pays feels the increasing use of the availability of the platform on such a high traffic day as Black Friday, signals that the country has finally woken up to the brave new world of digital payments.

“Customers will expect their merchants to give them the freedom to choose how they pay. Traditional solutions on their own are simply not good enough any longer,” he said.


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