Ecommerce is now two decades old – online consumers deserve smoother, more advanced payment methods says Andy Khawaja, CEO, Allied Wallet

Modern life can be stressful.  A new survey has revealed that, as well as fretting about our future career prospects, our ageing appearance and whether our children will ever afford to leave home, many of us still worry about security of our payment information even though we continue to shop online.

The online retail sector grew by 18.6% in 2015 and is expected to rise by around 17% in 2016. In contrast, growth rates for retail as a whole range between 1.5 and 3.5% per annum. So it’s clear these concerns aren’t driving anyone away from buying online and that shopping this way is now entrenched in our lifestyle.  Yet, a new survey carried out by Allied Wallet suggests that fewer than one in ten feel totally confident that their online payment data is safe. And, it seems, it’s not just the British being cautious. The results were remarkably consistent across all three countries surveyed; Australia, UK and US, with only 9% of the sample in each saying they were ‘very confident’.

When it comes to using credit or debit cards abroad the results were similar. One in three respondents claimed they were ‘not particularly confident’ or ‘not at all confident’ about making payments overseas with, once again, only 9% overall saying they were ‘very confident’. When asked what issues they had encountered with payment systems that had affected brand perceptions, 58% cited ‘no clear guarantees that the payments process was fully secure’ and almost as many (52%) said ‘complex, time-consuming processes’.

Ecommerce has been around now for two decades – long enough for most businesses iron out any blips in their supply chains and evolve sophisticated and distribution and delivery models. So why haven’t other payment companies innovated security and functionality like Allied Wallet has to protect merchants and consumers?

There’s no denying that retailers are under considerable pressure – they need to be first to market, ensure smooth customer service while at the same time ensure the payment process itself is efficient and secure. They have to select a payment gateway with currency conversion, apply fraud prevention measures and integrate the website, gateway and shopping cart software. They also have to ensure PCI compliance.

Yet the technology and skills are available to integrate all these different elements enabling the merchant to select a shopping cart solution, a processing agreement, implement a cart module, test the payment process and be up and running with a smooth and straightforward buying procedure, within a matter of hours.

It’s in the retailers’ hands – and with so many consumers still concerned about security, providing a reassuringly smooth and safe system can become a real brand differentiator. So much has been discussed and done about streamlining the ‘customer journey’ and yet, according to this survey, making a payment is still a barrier on the route to purchase. Get this right and there should be a smoother path ahead.

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