The customer is no longer king, but a dictator – I don’t know where I heard that saying, but somehow it stuck with me. I no longer talk about kings and dictators at trade fairs and customer meetings, but sometimes I use this dramatic quote as a direct introduction into a discussion with retailers on the change in the relationships between the buyer and seller. My message is that from some time now, companies running online stores have needed to focus on more than the client. They have do adapt to consumers, otherwise buyers stay away bringing tough times ahead because online shopping customers have plenty of alternatives.
This development brought about by the digital age in the last few years is also accompanied by another: online retailers are increasingly reliant on external service providers when optimizing processes. Most companies now understand how to guide the relevant customers through their online store with digital marketing measures and have a corresponding customer journey leading to a purchase – and this is precisely the point where the online retailer bows out of the process. One service provider takes over the logistics, and another the processing of payments.
I have worked long enough in e-commerce to know that for most of them, cooperating with partners is inevitable. Hardly any company has the know-how and capacity to manage the above described processes. On the other hand, however, this also means that the service provider not only intervenes in the customer relationship, but practically takes it over. If there are technical problems at the checkout or if the customer has a bad experience in the collection process, this does not reflect back on the payment partner; it ultimately reflects on the online store which the customer logically associates with the purchase.
This interaction can be fatal, but on the other side it can also help online retailers strengthen the customer relationship by choosing the right service provider – and this is definitely in the interest of every retailer.
When selecting a payment service provider (PSP), companies should therefore keep one thing in mind beyond the services and costs: the service to the end customer promised by the potential partner, which should already be demonstrated in existing cooperations. I would like to recommend simply calling a colleague and asking them whether they are satisfied with the service from the payment partner or not. There is no quicker or easier way to get an honest opinion, on condition that you don’t call your biggest rial who will presumably tell you other things.
Joking aside, this is my core message: online retailers should never forget that strong partnerships with the right service providers will also strengthen your own customer relationships. So it pays off to take a very close look not only at the external service provider, but also the service providers behind them. What is the benefit of the best PSP if they don’t have the desired payment method in their portfolio, that will turn customers into regulars?
With our pay-after-delivery solution AfterPay , which is easily integrated via different PSPs, this is precisely what we offer: a flexible payment method with which online retailers can strengthen their brand and therefore their customer relationships too. Header images on every invoice emphases your brand and advertising messages, product illustrations remind customers of the great shopping experience, which they do not associated with us as the payment partner, but with your online store.
If you have any questions or wish to find out more about our pay-after-delivery solution, you can contact me at any time by e-mail.
If you want to find out more about what you as an online retailer should watch out for when choosing an external payment service provider, I can recommend our new Business Insights Report. In addition to helpful statistics, it also contains tips from e-commerce experts who regularly reconsider their range of payment methods and who have therefore worked with various service providers.
Managing Director | AfterPay Germany