Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Do Not Assume Payment Methods Are Universal! Neither Demographically or Geographically!
One of the challenges we all face is being able to step out of what works for us and understand what any one or group of our customers is going to have a preference for. This is especially true for payment choices. The closest thing we have to “universal” in ecommerce is Visa/MasterCard. But, if you are selling to Germans, you better support something called ELV which is a form of direct debit or move on to another country. And, as a person with a marketing degree I have a hard time saying this, but surveying your customers to ask them what payment methods they want or what is most important about those choices, may lead you down the wrong path. What people say they want and how they act in this regard can be significantly disconnected. ie; Is security important to you? Who is going to say “no”? But, many payment methods have fallen flat on their face if the hurdles to usability are significant due to security. What was one of the things that made PayPal grow incredibly fast? All you needed was an email address. Of course, their fraud rates were through the roof too but they had the luxury of taking in a whole bunch of VC money and being able to tolerate the cost and eventually they dug themselves out of the hole. Two of the most important questions you have to ask yourself are; 1) what is my target demographic and 2) what geographies do I want to serve? Then and only then can you seriously research the options and start making decisions about what to offer.