E-commerce Payment Processing: An introduction to the present and future of payments

Leveraging e-commerce can be a major competitive advantage for businesses.

The rise of e-commerce and social commerce is unmistakable—and business owners are recognizing that it has plenty of room left to grow. Merchants can no longer view selling online as an optional. At the very least, leveraging an e-commerce channel is a major competitive advantage for businesses.

But more realistically, e-commerce is a necessity for the long-term success of most businesses. In fact, research suggests that the e-commerce trend of recent years is not merely a flash in the pan.

E-commerce sales will account for 20.4% of global retail sales by the end of 2022, up from 10% five years ago. Statista forecasts that by 2025, the online segment will make up close to a quarter of total global retail sales. With so many factors driving this projected growth, there may not be a ceiling to this kind of boom.

That’s why finding a payment processing partner that can not only support e-commerce transactions but scale along with them is pivotal. Beyond being future-ready, by adding an easily integrated payment processing and e-commerce solution to your current business, you can streamline your operations and introduce opportunities for growth.

However, choosing the wrong partner can hurt your business more than it can help it, and you may not be able to afford those types of delays or security concerns, especially when dealing with sensitive customer information.

Therefore, you’ll want to carefully seek out a payment processor that can live up to the exciting promise e-commerce can have for your business by delivering a solution that retains customers, improves efficiency, and promotes overall growth.

Let’s take a look:

Why should merchants take advantage of e-commerce channels?

Fact: Businesses that take the measures to enhance their customers’ checkout experiences with more optionality open themselves up to more avenues for profit. The more flexibility your business can accommodate as the payments environment evolves and shifts, the more likely you are to retain customers who want to capitalize on that flexibility in the long run.

The benefit of introducing an e-commerce component to your business model is clear. By being as available to your customers as possible, on whatever channels they want to transact from, you open yourself up to increased customer goodwill, increased exposure, and higher sales and profit margins. Modern day consumers use online and mobile outlets more than they ever have before—leveraging these channels to the full extent of their potential can open many doors for businesses in any industry that want to meet their customers where they want to buy.

According to a report by Morgan Stanley, the e-commerce market could increase from $3.3 trillion to $5.4 trillion in 2026. Leaving money on the table by not investing in a dependable e-commerce payment processing partner in the present is not in the best interest of your business, especially when growth in the online business sector is only projected to continue.

What should merchants look for in an e-commerce payment processing partner?

Businesses need to make it easy for their customers to pay. Customers need to be at ease when navigating, and that means fully trusting in the security of their processor, as well as enjoying the checkout experience. Here’s what to look for:

  • Omnichannel: A scalable omnichannel payment provider is the logical partner for businesses in any industry that want to grow and succeed because they not only support e-commerce but can adapt to and attract customers from anywhere. That said, these payment processing providers need to be able to do more than just accept payments across every channel and outlet—they need to do it successfully. That means providing the very best security for merchants with the handling of their customer’s data, as well as offering a multitude of useful features needed to create a more streamlined and seamless buying experience not only for consumers, but also a singular platform for merchants to be able to conduct business themselves.
  • Consumer Ease: With e-commerce payment processing directly integrated into the website of any given business, you get a seamless system with consumers transacting directly in one clean go. Consumers may not have faith in third-party websites or can face friction when transitioning from one site to another to complete payments. Conversely, customers showcase more loyalty to a brand and website that not only expedites checkout flows in person, but online too. Merchants not only build goodwill by being available online, but also by providing a better and safer online shopping experience than their competitors.
  • Security: Customer data and information needs to be secure at all times. As fraud and risk becomes more prevalent and advanced, merchants need to trust in a payment processing partner and a payment gateway that is advanced and secure enough to be several steps ahead. Tokenization, encryption, and other advanced security measures are all particularly important when dealing with the e-commerce competent of payment processing.
  • Frictionless payments: Accepting multiple payment types and credit cards should be another requirement when selecting the perfect partner for your business. Flexibility and agility are key, so the ability to set up buy now, pay later platforms online and at the point of sale could be a bonus when trying to draw in more customer. These added features and capabilities allow for a broader, frictionless, truly omnichannel and limitless buying experience.

What are the basic takeaways I should have as a merchant?

E-commerce payment processing holds a unique and highly specific set of challenges and requirements that are quite different to those that come with traditional payment processing. You need to choose an e-commerce payment processing partner that has optimized their solutions for such a distinction.

While no payment processor may seem like a truly “one size fits all” solution, you can find one that has done the proper due diligence to ensure a successful partnership and solution for your business. Don’t settle for less when you can present a fast and simple online checkout experience to your customers, complete with secure payments and customer data.

At AFS, we know it is critical for merchants to meet their customers at their preferred point of purchase, whether it’s online, in-store, or at the point of sale. Go to go-afs.com to learn more about how we can set your business on the path of online success today.

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