Country Spotlight: South Korea Shows Strong E-commerce Growth

Country Spotlight: South Korea

South Korea is a hot topic right now, with the 2018 Winter Olympics taking place in Pyeongchang, but something else is also happening in South Korea: strong e-commerce growth.

South Korea is one of the biggest e-commerce markets worldwide, the third largest e-commerce market in Asia, and has the highest e-commerce penetration in the Asia Pacific region. This is thanks to strong technological and mobile adoptions; South Koreans are described as well-educated, informed, and unmatched in their technological abilities.

Over a third of South Koreans spend more than half of their monthly income on online shopping. Between 2012 and 2013, online shopping grew from 9.7% to 10.9% of total retail sales. Cross-border commerce is also growing rapidly; imports from foreign e-commerce websites rose 47% in 2013.

Unless otherwise noted, figures in this article are sourced from:

South Korean Consumers

  • Total population: 51.16 million (2018)
  • Internet penetration: 92.72% (2016)
  • Mobile penetration: 110% (2013)
  • Online shoppers: 30.5 million (2017)
  • E-commerce sales: $21.38 billion (2017)
  • M-commerce sales: $3.08 billion (2016)
  • E-commerce annual growth rate: 20.5% (2016)

M-commerce in South Korea is a major driver of the country’s impressive e-commerce growth. M-commerce is booming here, largely due to the fact that South Korea has some of the fastest average internet connection speeds worldwide and a high penetration of smartphones. Between 2011 and 2013, the m-commerce market grew 2.5 times faster than the US, and between 2015 and 2016, purchases made on a mobile phone increased from $22 billion to $31 billion, an increase of 41.8%.

Competition between e-commerce companies in South Korea is increasing and the delivery process is one place where merchants try to stand out. Merchants should offer a quick delivery service to attract and keep South Korean customers who expect fast and trackable deliveries when they shop online. Many South Koreans companies offer same-day deliveries so international merchants must offer better prices to compete. Studies indicate that South Korean customers tend to accept a longer delivery time if it means getting a better price.

The South Korean market is highly penetrated by electronic payments. The most popular payment methods include card payments and alternative payment methods such as money transfers (non-cash payments: wire transfers, electronic fund transfers, online bank transfers), and mobile payments. E-wallet payment methods are not common in the South Korean market.

Major buying holidays in South Korea include Chu-seok (the 15th day of the 8th lunar month), Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day), Parents’ Day (May 8th) and Children’s Day (May 5th). However, since South Koreans love to shop cross-border, they also follow foreign countries’ buying holidays, such as Black Friday, to find the best deals.

In 2017, fashion was the leading product category in South Korea, followed by Toys, Hobby & DIY. Other popular product categories for online shopping include Online Travel, and Home Electronics & Appliances.

Drivers and Barriers

Driver: Strong Cross-border Commerce Numbers

Cross-border e-commerce is exploding in South Korea, reaching $1.6 billion in 2016. In 2013, cross-border credit card spending grew 15.4% while domestic credit card spending grew only 3.2%. Many consumers here have discovered that products are less expensive overseas. This is because South Korean retailers have agreements with manufacturers that let them charge higher costs for products. This means that consumers have to pay up to nine times higher prices for local products compared to overseas ones!

Barrier: Protection of Privacy

Since 2014, South Korea has been strengthening its rules concerning privacy for personal data. International merchants should review the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) and ministerial data privacy/spam regulations before entering this market, as these can restrict e-commerce for companies that manage their user-data on international servers.

Driver: Cryptocurrencies

South Korea is one of the world’s biggest markets for Bitcoin. In 2017, South Korea was named the world’s third-largest Bitcoin market, after Japan and the US, according to market tracker Coinhills. More than three out of ten salaried workers have invested in cryptocurrencies. In January, it was also reported that the number of cryptocurrency app users in South Korea has increased to around 2 million users. Online merchants here have started to realize the value in offering cryptocurrency payments as a way to make payments more convenient for consumers.

Barrier: Domestic Sales Events

South Koreans who shop online are always looking for the best deals and they expect special sales on holidays. Prices drop and sales volumes increase dramatically during buying holidays such as Chu-seok and Seollal. South Korean consumers also look for deals during non-domestic buying holidays, such as Black Friday and Boxing Day. If you plan to compete with domestic companies, you must be prepared to offer big sales promotions during the South Korean holiday seasons.

South Korean E-Commerce Facts

  • The third biggest e-commerce market in Asia.
  • Has the highest e-commerce penetration in the Asia Pacific region.
  • Over a third of South Koreans spend more than half of their monthly income on online shopping.
  • M-commerce is a major driver of the e-commerce growth.
  • The most popular payment methods include credit cards, wire transfers, electronic fund transfers, online bank transfers, and mobile payments.
  • The biggest buying holidays are Chu-seok (the 15th day of the 8th lunar month),Seollal (Lunar New Year’s Day), and Black Friday (the day after American Thanksgiving).
  • The most popular product categories for online shopping are Fashion, Toys, Hobby, DIY, Travels & Reservation Services, and Home Electronics & Appliances.

As the e-commerce market continues to grow in South Korea, the popularity of cross-border commerce continues to grow as well. South Koreans shop at international online stores to find the best deals. If you can undercut the high prices of local merchants, South Korea could be a very profitable market for you.

Expanding into a new cross-border market is always a challenge, but it can be very rewarding if done right. For the latest news and information about how to scale up your e-commerce enterprise into an international success, subscribe to the Payza Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Payza E-Commerce School: Starting An Online Business

Payza E-Commerce School - Starting an Online Business

Starting your own business is an appealing idea for many ambitious people today. A study by Santander shows that more than 25% of university students in the UK run or plan to run their own business. Financial motivation is one of the most common reasons for starting a business, as well as turning your hobby into an enterprise and gaining work experience. Being your own boss and keeping your own hours may sound good at first, but it also takes a lot of determination and hard work.

If you have decided to become an entrepreneur, the Payza E-commerce School can help you out. Here is a list of things to do and keep in mind when you want to start your own online business:

Choose a Product or Service to Sell

Firstly, you must decide what your company will offer potential customers. This should be something that’s in demand, but also something that you know you can manage.

When picking a product or service to offer, you don’t always have to provide something that no one else supplies. On the one hand, uniqueness is good, it will help you stand out from the competition, but on the other, you do not want your business to offer something that no one wants.

If you need help finding a business idea, Entrepreneur has put together a list with 55 Business Ideas. The Payza Blog can also help you out – check out our list of Trending Products to Sell Online in 2018: 10 Hot E-Commerce Items.

Know Your Market

Do some market research and decide who the target audience is for your product or service. The first segment of the Payza E-Commerce School teaches you about creating your target audience. If you know your ideal target market, it will be easier to know how you can sell your business to your customers.

Create a Business Plan

You must have a vision of your purpose and targets when starting a business, which means that you need a business plan. A business plan should include the following details:

  • A summary of the purpose of your business
  • Your business’ mission statement
  • Your target market and how you plan to sell to your customers
  • Your marketing strategy
  • A launch and growing plan for your business

Make sure your business plan is convincing because you may need it later when looking for funding and additional support.

Set Your Budget

A new business means start-up costs that need to be paid. These can include the cost of setting up a website, purchasing inventory or software, getting licenses or certificates, and much more.

How much money do you need and how much money can you invest in your future business? You might not need a large amount of money to start a business, but it’s good to set a budget so you know how much you can afford to spend and to be prepared for unexpected costs that may pop up along the way.

Look for Funding

Some people may be able to launch a new business all on their own, but if you need startup funds, you can always search for investors and business loans to help you get started. Use your business plan to pitch your business idea to possible investors to see if they are interested in funding your business. In some countries, there are also government funding programs available that can support businesses.

Take Care of Legal Matters

It’s important to choose the right the legal structure for your company. Speak to an expert to determine which of the following structures is right for your business:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Limited liability company (LLC)
  • Corporation
  • Non-profit
  • Cooperative

Also, depending on your country, you will likely need to register your business name with the government and get a tax identification number. Finally, check with an expert to find out if you need any special licenses, permits or certifications for your business.

For a new business, an attorney who practices corporate law can be a big help. They can provide advice on the legal aspects of business ownership. This can also help you avoid accidentally violating the law while running your business.

Build Your Website

Your website is your online presence, the most important part for an e-commerce business. When setting up your website, you want a domain name that your customers can easily remember and find, so keep it short and simple.

Also, pay attention to your branding. Make sure that the logo of your company is visible on your website and that you have an “About us” page where customers can find your story, as well as the contact information they need to reach you.

Set Up Your Online Marketing

Keep your online presence strong by setting up the online marketing for your business. To avoid having too much information about your products or services on your website, you can use landing pages. Landing pages are a great way to provide specific information to customers that are looking for exactly what you offer. The Payza E-commerce School has more information: Building Landing Pages.

The Payza E-commerce School has even more online marketing tips and guidelines to help you get started: Marketing Tips for Online Businesses and Which Type of Online Marketing is Right for You?

Figure Out How to Manage Payments

Before you can actually start selling, you must decide how you will process payments. Make sure you keep your personal and business accounts separate, your accountant will thank you when it’s tax season.

A Payza Business Account gives you access to many great features: accept online payments by credit card, Bitcoin, or e-wallet; make payouts in both fiat currency and Bitcoin; handle transaction disputes; and so much more. Setting up a Payza Business Account is easy and our business support team is here if you need any help.

There are many things to keep in mind when starting your own business. This article is just a starting point, and on the Payza Blog you’ll find much more great advice for online business owners.

Stay tuned for more “Payza E-Commerce School” articles where we’ll share the e-commerce tips and tricks we’ve learned by serving thousands of online merchants. For all the latest news from Payza, be sure to subscribe to our blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Regional Spotlight: Consumers and E-commerce in Scandinavia

Scandinavia e-commerce

E-commerce in Scandinavia is blossoming, reaching a total value of €17.1 billion in 2015, an increase from €15.4 billion in 2014. Scandinavians love to shop online because they can do it whenever they like and online shopping is considered to be cheaper than shopping in physical stores. Consumers also feel they have a better selection when shopping online.

As an e-commerce merchant, Scandinavia is a region you’ll want to get to know.

Cross-border e-commerce in Scandinavia is very popular. Over one-third of online consumers in this region make purchases from international merchants every month. In 2016, purchases from cross-border merchants totaled €5.4 billion euros, 25% of the total e-commerce consumption in the region.

The most popular countries in Scandinavia to purchase from are the UK, Germany, the US, China, and Sweden. The most popular products purchased online are clothing and footwear, followed by media (including books, films, and video games), and home electronics.

If you plan to sell to consumers in Scandinavia, keep in mind that not all Scandinavian countries have adopted the Euro. Only Finland uses the Euro. Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes prefer to shop with their own currency: the Swedish Krona, the Norwegian Krone, and the Danish Krone (which all mean “Crown”).

Unless otherwise noted, figures in this article are sourced from:


Sweden is the third-largest country in the EU by area and the most active e-commerce nation in Scandinavia. E-commerce in Sweden is widespread thanks to a strong Swedish mail order tradition and powerful retail brands. E-commerce accounted for 6% of the country’s total retail sales in 2017. Between 2013 and 2017, e-commerce in Sweden increased by 45%, from almost €8 billion to over €11.5 billion.

Online shopping is very popular in Sweden. Almost three in four Swedish households order something online every year and almost three in ten Swedes order something online at least once a month.

When targeting consumers in Sweden, it is important to know that most Swedes prefer paying by debit or credit card when making a purchase. The second most popular option is to pay by invoice, followed by direct bank payment.

The popularity of m-commerce is growing in Sweden, with more and more consumers using their smartphone or tablet for their online shopping. The number of mobile users increased by 79% in 2016! Payment methods and mobile websites have improved notably during a short period of time, which has helped m-commerce become more popular in Sweden.

It is important to be aware of certain customer protection rules in Sweden if you plan to sell here: online providers must indicate their contact details on their website, clearly identify any advertising, and protect against spam.

Consumers in Sweden

  • Total population: 9.98 million (2018)
  • Internet users: 92% (2016)
  • Online shoppers: 5.8 million (2016)
  • Average spending per online shopper: €1,668 (2016)
  • E-commerce sales: €9.7 billion (2015)
  • E-commerce annual growth rate: 12.0% (2015)


Norway is known as a wealthy country; in 2016, Norway was ranked as the 4th richest in the world per capita.

For international merchants, Norway is an interesting country to focus on. In a 2015 survey of European online shoppers, Norwegians were the most likely to shop on foreign sites, with 46% of the Norwegian population participating in international e-commerce.

Norway is one of the easiest countries to deliver to in the world, an important detail for merchants who want to expand to new markets. When deciding which payment methods to offer to Norwegian consumers, they prefer paying by credit cards, followed by paying by e-wallet, cash on delivery and bank transfer.

M-commerce sales are not as popular in Norway as it is in Sweden. Many people here (83% in 2017) still prefer to shop via desktop instead of via tablet or smartphone.

Consumers in Norway

  • Total population: 5.3 million (2018)
  • Internet penetration: 87.4% (2017)
  • Online shoppers: 3.2 million (2016)
  • Average spending per online shopper: €2,467 (2016)
  • E-commerce sales: €7.9 billion (2015)
  • E-commerce annual growth rate: 1.7% (2015)


The Danish e-commerce market is small but mature. This country is among the world leaders when it comes to digital development and has the highest smartphone penetration in the world (77%). In 2016, Danish e-commerce saw an increase of 15.88% compared to the year before, but the online retail industry in Denmark accounted for only about 10% of the country’s total retail turnover. This number is growing each year though, and cross-border e-commerce in Denmark is also growing as Danish consumers buy more goods and services online.

Danes love to shop online. Not only does this country have a very high number of internet users, but data from Eurostat showed that 79% of all Danish internet users shopped online in 2012. In 2016, an estimated 32% of Danish online shoppers made international purchases. One reason Danes like to shop at foreign e-commerce websites is that they can find better prices than at Danish online stores.

In Denmark, the most popular payment methods are local ones such as Dankort, the national debit card of Denmark (which also functions as a credit card abroad), and MobilePay, a mobile payment solution by Danske Bank. It is important for merchants who want to do business in Denmark to be able to provide local payment options.

M-commerce in Denmark is growing. Owners of smartphones and tablets make online purchases more frequently than other consumers, which is why merchants should make sure they offer mobile-friendly websites for this market.

Consumers in Denmark 

  • Total population: 5.75 million (2018) 
  • Internet users: 5.4 million/96.1% (2017) 
  • Online shoppers: 3.7 million (2016) 
  • Average spending per online shopper: €3,111 (2016)
  • E-commerce sales: €13.84 billion (2016) 
  • E-commerce annual growth rate: 17.9% (2015)


Finland presents a large e-commerce market but still has some catching up to do. Finland lags behind in e-commerce in comparison to the other Scandinavian countries and Finns shop online less than their neighbors do. In 2015, Finland saw a 9.6% e-commerce growth but there is definitely more room for e-commerce in Finland to grow. Foreign retailers are a very important part of e-commerce in Finland, as Finns rely on foreign retailers for online purchases. Almost 50% of Finnish online shoppers made purchases abroad in 2017.

Internet penetration in Finland keeps growing: there is a steady increase here in internet subscribers, internet users and internet accessibility. The two biggest reasons for Finns to shop online are the greater variety of goods and the lower prices compared to brick and mortar shops.

The most popular payment methods in Finland are debit and credit cards, direct bank payment, invoice, and e-wallets or online payment options. Finns like having a range of different payment options to choose from, but the most important payment methods that merchants should offer are payment cards and direct bank payment.

As with Norway, m-commerce has not really taken off in the Finnish market yet. Mobile websites are still important for online retailers since mobile devices are often used for research and comparing prices, but three out of four online purchases in Finland are made from a computer. Less than 20% of Finns have used a cellphone or a tablet to purchase products. However, trends show that the Finnish m-commerce is increasing, especially among millennials, as trust in mobile payments grows.

On January 1, 2015, a reform of the Finnish regulation on information society took place. This Information Society Code sets regulations on e-privacy, consumer protection, communications networks, and data security. It is important that cross-border merchants are aware of these regulations before entering the Finnish market.

Consumers in Finland 

  • Total population: 5.54 million (2018) 
  • Internet penetration: 93.7% (2016) 
  • Online shoppers: 3.3 million (2016)
  • Average spending per online shopper: €2,170 (2016) 
  • E-commerce sales: €7.2 billion (2015)
  • E-commerce annual growth rate: 9.6% (2015)

E-commerce is showing strong growth in Scandinavia and consumers here have demonstrated a willingness to embrace online shopping. Scandinavian consumers love to buy online, especially from cross-border merchants, and the popularity of online and mobile shopping is growing each year. If you’re an international merchant looking to expand your business, this region could offer a profitable market for you.

Expanding into a new cross-border market is always a challenge, but it can be very rewarding if done right. For the latest news and information about how to scale up your e-commerce enterprise into an international success, subscribe to the Payza Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Trending Products to Sell Online in 2018: 10 Hot E-Commerce Items

Payza Trending Products 2018

Payza is committed to helping online business owners succeed, so we’re sharing 10 hot products for 2018 to help you stay on top of the trends.

If you have an online store or are thinking about starting one, you need a line of products that make you stand out. Get ahead of the game by stocking some of the hippest, trendiest items around.

If you haven’t seen our previous list, there are lots of hot products from 2017 that are sure to be popular in 2018 as well, like VR products and smartwatches. Like last year, we have picked out 10 hot products with strong growing interest according to Google Trends.

Leave your competition in the dust by carrying the products online shoppers will be searching for this year.

Bluetooth Headphones

Bluetooth headphones are becoming a must-have item, thanks in part to Apple eliminating headphone jacks on their iPhones. It’s been over a year since Apple made the decision to remove the headphones and now other phones, like the Google Pixel 2, are following suit.

Bluetooth headphones aren’t just for mobiles either, they’re also great for late night binge-fests when everyone else in the house is fast asleep.

Vinyl recordsVinyl Records

8-tracks, audio cassettes and CDs have all mostly disappeared as MP3s and digital downloads dominate the music industry, but one form of audio media is actually making a comeback: Vinyl Records. For music lovers that want something physical to hold onto while listening to their favorite tunes, vinyl records are gaining popularity. Whether you offer new releases or vintage collectibles, vinyl albums can make your online store a popular destination for audiophiles.

Instant cameraInstant Cameras

Most people know these as “Polaroid Cameras,” after Polaroid popularized the concept of cameras that print their own pictures. These cameras largely disappeared over the last decade before making a big comeback. The Fujifilm Instax line of cameras is leading the resurgence with their line of hip devices and fashionable accessories, but there are many different instant cameras available to help you take advantage of this trend.


Funko Pop! Figures

It’s hard to wrap one’s head around just how popular Pop! figures have become over a short period. During the Christmas season, Pop! figures make great stocking stuffers and secret Santa gifts, but Google Trends shows that searches for “Funko Pop” are popular all year round, and growing rapidly.

No matter what fandom you belong to, there’s sure to be a Funko figure for you. Funko has over 175 pages of Pop! figures in their catalog with 15 items per page. That’s over 2500 different figures! Retailers will be happy to know that collecting these characters can become addictive, so much so that an “Addicted Popper” husband recently signed a contract with his wife promising to limit his habit.

E-Bikes and Accessories

The electric bicycle market is primed to hit its stride thanks to many positive factors, according to Persistence Market Research. Increasing awareness, environmental sensitivity, and government support are combining to push e-bikes into the spotlight.

Demand for electric bicycles is expected to be highest in the Asia Pacific excluding the Japan region, as well as India, however North America and Europe are also considered target markets. While e-bikes can sometimes carry a hefty price tag, they remain a practical and economic transportation solution.

Beard Oil

Who says scruffy men don’t care about hygiene? Beard oil is making its mark as a must-have grooming product for men with facial hair, and beard oil is just the beginning. If you’re supplying facial hair grooming essentials, there are countless grooming tools and products that would interest any bearded man. Data suggests the beard trend may be peaking, but the market for beard products is just getting warmed up.

Essential Oils

Essential oils have many uses and benefits, from relaxation to skin care to cleaning products and more. According to Grand View Research, sales are expected to grow from over 6.0 billion USD in 2015 to 11.67 billion USD by 2022. On top of solid search growth for the Essential Oil topic, searches for “how to use essential oil” are trending up as well, so if you carry these products be sure to help your customers out by providing tips on how they can use them.

Subscription Boxes

When done right, subscription box businesses can be incredibly successful and this model is increasing in demand. People love surprises and love to get exclusive, hard-to-find collectibles for their favorite hobby or fandom. If you know how to stay on top of the trends for your specific niche, curating a subscription box is a great way to show off your skills!


Cryptocurrency Wallets

Cryptocurrencies were all over the headlines in 2017 as fear of missing out (FOMO) drove Bitcoin and Altcoin adoption. The craze got so great that several exchanges had to temporarily stop accepting new customers because they had more members than they could handle! As adoption grows, Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallets are sure to be a hot item since it gives users a convenient way to store and protect their coins.


Personalized Gifts

Everybody wants a gift that was made just for them and personalized items let you give exactly that. If you’re an artisan or if you sell your own crafts, giving customers the option to personalize their purchases could help you stand out.




Make Sure You’re Ready to Accept Online Payments

Once you have your line of products set, you’ll need to decide how you want to get paid online. You’ll want a payment processor that gives you options, and of course it needs to be secure and reliable.

A Payza account makes it easy to accept online payments and there are lots of added bonuses like free recurring billing, built-in fraud protection, and no hidden fees. With Payza, you can process credit card, Bitcoin and e-wallet payments from customers all around the world. Set up your Payza Business Account to get started.

For all the online selling tips and tricks, be sure to subscribe to the Payza Blog and follow Payza on Twitter and Facebook.

Country Spotlight: Germany, the Third Most Active E-commerce Country

Germany Country Spotlight

Germany is Europe’s largest economy and the most populous and largest country in the EU. It is also the third most active e-commerce country in the world, both for imports and exports, after the US and the UK. The German e-commerce market is strong worldwide and accounts for 25% of the European e-commerce turnover.

Germany had a total turnover of €105.6 billion in 2016, an increase of 10% from 2015. This is a lucrative country to do business in, especially online, as Germany ranks 5th in the world for online sales volume. German consumers have a big interest in online shopping, in fact, Germany shows the second highest interest in the search term “shop online” according to Google Trends.

Unless otherwise noted, figures in this article are sourced from: 

German Consumers

  • Total population: 82.11 million (2017)
  • Internet penetration: 71.1 million or 86.8% (2013)
  • Mobile penetration: 139.9% (2013)
  • Online shoppers: 51.6 million (2015)
  • E-commerce sales: 59.7 billion EUR (2015)
  • M-commerce sales: 4.97 billion (2013)
  • E-commerce annual growth rate: 13.3% (2015)

Germany is the most populous country in the EU and over 62% of Germans shop online. 90% of all internet users buy their goods or services online and spend on average €1,157 per year. The biggest online shopping day in Germany is “Green Monday,” the first Monday in December. This day works as an online shopping promotional event before Christmas.  

Credit card usage is uncharacteristically low in Germany, making bank transfers and invoices the most popular payment methods. A survey from 2013 showed that six in ten online shoppers prefer to pay after receiving the items they’ve ordered online. Other popular payment methods in Germany are online payment services and e-wallets.

The top product categories in Germany for 2016 retail e-commerce sales were Clothing (an increase of 11.5% in sales from a year earlier) and Consumer Electronics & Telecom. Other popular categories include Shoes & Lifestyle and Information Technology.

German businesses are also turning more towards online shopping for their B2B needs; 83% of the companies surveyed in a 2015 study stated that they frequently made company purchases online, such as for office supplies and other business needs.

Drivers and Barriers

Driver: Cross-border Commerce

Germany is one of the world leaders in cross-border e-commerce and German online shoppers love to buy cross-border, mostly from the UK, the US, France and China. The cross-border e-commerce penetration among German digital buyers is on the rise. In 2015, 53% of German internet users made an international purchase, which is more than shoppers in most other European countries. Furthermore, Germany is responsible for 15% of global cross-border sales.

The German e-commerce market totaled €59.7 billion in 2015 and grew about 12% to €66.9 billion in 2016, according to a report by Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel (bevh). This market is one of the most active ones in the world and is growing faster than any other Western European Country.

Barrier: Aversion to Credit Cards

Many Germans are wary of using credit cards because of a fear of carrying debt. In 2015, the level of card payments was at just 12%, a number that is expected to fall to 8% by 2019! Also, only 25% of German shoppers use credit cards when they make an online purchase.

Merchants who wish to sell to German online shoppers need to offer alternative payment options beyond credit cards. Popular alternatives to credit cards would be paying via bank transfers, invoices and e-wallets.

Driver: M-commerce

Mobile commerce is gaining popularity in Germany and a big proportion (62%) of the German population own smartphones. In 2013, 10% of all online sales were made via a mobile device and in 2014, it was reported that 15% of German consumers made a monthly purchase on their smartphones. In 2016, retail m-commerce sales made up 33.2% of Germany’s total retail e-commerce sales.

Merchants wanting to do business in Germany should focus on offering mobile-friendly websites and provide convenient ways to shop using a mobile device (such as apps), as this will surely result in profits for the business. By optimizing for mobile payments, merchants can attract more German consumers.

Barrier: Strict Data Protection & High Return Rates

In Germany and the EU, data protection and privacy laws are very strict. The European Union “Electronic Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC)” provides rules for online services in the EU, which the German regulatory environment follows. Among other things, online providers must respect consumer protection rules by indicating contact details on their website, clearly identifying advertising, and protecting visitors against spam. Consumers must also be informed when businesses are collecting data, what the data will be used for, and who will have access to it. They must also be given sufficient time to object to how their personal information will be processed. Companies are advised to consult with a lawyer before collecting, storing or processing any kind of data in Germany.

Germany is also known for having a high return rate and many German consumers are hesitant to shopping abroad because they feel that returning products would be too difficult or costly. There are reports claiming that 50% of all orders by German consumers get sent back! This is very important for merchants to be aware of and when shipping internationally to Germany, it’s important to offer the same returns policy as the one in place for the business’ native country and it could be good to have a local return address.

German E-Commerce Facts

  • The third most active e-commerce market, after the UK and the US.
  • A world leader in cross-border e-commerce.
  • Accounts for 25% of the European e-commerce turnover.
  • Most popular payment methods are invoices, bank transfers, and e-wallets.
  • Green Monday (the first Monday in December) is the biggest online shopping day of the year.
  • Ranks 5th in the world for online sales volume.
  • 51.6 million of the population shops online and 90% of all internet users buy their goods or services online.
  • Retail m-commerce made up 33.2% of Germany’s retail e-commerce sales in 2016.
  • The most popular product categories for retail e-commerce sales include Clothing, Consumer Electronics & Telecom, Shoes & Lifestyle, and Information Technology.

German consumers love to buy cross-border, making Germany a fruitful market for international merchants. Online and mobile shopping are gaining popularity as well, both among personal shoppers and German businesses, so whether you sell to individuals or businesses, Germany is a lucrative market for you.

Expanding into a new cross-border market is always a challenge but can be rewarding if done right. For the latest news and information about how to scale up your e-commerce enterprise into an international success, subscribe to the Payza Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Country Spotlight: Egyptian E-Commerce Comes to Life

Country Spotlight: Egypt

After an extended period of instability, Egypt’s economy is beginning to strengthen once again. This is due in part to a series of bold economic reforms on the part of the Egyptian government, including measures to induce investment and spur private-sector job creation, the introduction of a value-added tax (VAT), and a reform of fuel subsidies. These reforms have inspired praise from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and has helped earn the country a $12bn loan.

Any large influx of money into a market is bound to catch the eye of investors, and rightly so! The loan and the economic reforms have improved Egypt’s public finances and strengthened social programs, stabilizing the economy. This in turn puts more disposable income into the pockets of Egyptian consumers.

With money to spend and the recession now firmly in the rear-view mirror, today’s consumers in Egypt are turning to e-commerce to get their shopping fix. If you are an e-commerce merchant looking to expand your reach to Egypt, here are some important points to consider:

Unless otherwise noted, figures in this article are sourced from:

Egyptian Consumers

  • Total population: 92 million
  • Internet users: 48 million
  • Online shoppers: 8 million
  • E-commerce sales: $5 billion USD
  • E-commerce annual growth: 22%

As with any newly-affluent demographic, Egypt’s growth potential is great and, for now, the consumer demand for e-commerce merchandise is far greater than the supply. However,, the biggest domestic player and the largest online shopping portal in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), was purchased by Amazon early this year. Around the same time, Souq’s biggest competitor Jumia also invested $20 million into Egypt. The success of Jumia and other new online sellers in recent years proves that the Egyptian market is still hungry for more e-commerce options.

Egypt is home to the highest number of internet users of any MENA country, with more than half of the country’s population online. However, the proportion of the online population that participates in e-commerce remains extremely low, with only 1 out of 6 people using the internet to shop. That number is expected to rise rapidly though, as the wealth of the nation grows.

Currently, most online sales to Egyptian consumers fall under the categories of electronics, entertainment, airline tickets, and fashion.

Drivers and Barriers

Driver: Rapid Economic Recovery

The political and economic turmoil of recent years has prevented Egypt from fully modernizing its economy and its e-commerce sector in particular. As we’ve seen in many other countries, such as Spain and Ukraine, this state of affairs is almost always followed by a massive explosion of growth in infrastructure, internet connectivity and e-commerce penetration. The investments being made by the local government and the IMF have created a period where the demand for e-commerce options far outstrips the supply, so it is an ideal time for retailers to find their audience.

Barrier: Cash Dependency

Payment card penetration is low in Egypt, with only around 10 million credit or debit card holders in the country, representing a little more than 10% of the population. That number is slightly higher if we look solely at Egypt’s online population, but roughly 80% of e-commerce purchases are still paid for by cash-on-delivery. Credit card issuance is growing by 40% yearly, so cash dependency will decrease over time, but it is very beneficial to offer alternative payment options when selling to Egyptian customers.

Driver: Localized Services

Prior to Amazon’s $580 million purchase of, the American e-commerce platform had spent years competing with the Egyptian company throughout MENA, failing to oust the incumbent platform due to poor or nonexistent language and currency support. Consumers in Egypt place a great value on localized services, so retailers who offer Arabic-language websites and support the Egyptian pound currency (EGP) have a competitive advantage over other cross-border sellers.

Barrier: Market Control

Key among the government initiatives to stabilize the Egyptian economy was the introduction of a VAT rate, which currently stands at 14%, along with restrictions on foreign investments in several sectors of the economy. Though designed to create the conditions which allow business and innovation to flourish, these controls also give domestic businesses a competitive advantage over cross-border retailers.

Egyptian E-Commerce Facts

  • Largest online population in the MENA region.
  • Egyptian consumers spent an average of $641 USD online in 2015.
  • The demographic that spends the most online is urban, well-educated people aged 26-35.
  • The most popular payment method is cash-on-delivery.
  • The most popular product categories for online shoppers are electronics, entertainment, airline tickets, and fashion.
  • According to Payfort’s State of Payments in the Arab World, Egypt’s e-commerce market is expected to reach a value of $2.7bn by 2020, a growth of 100% over 5 years.

Despite Egypt’s ongoing concerns, the country’s growth potential is unmatched in the region. Egyptian consumers are hungry for independent retailers, with numerous underserved market segments and little access to cross-border merchandise. The challenge with the Egyptian market is that after so many years of economic instability, it’s hard to quantify the market’s risk factor. At the same time, that’s also what makes the potential reward so great. E-commerce businesses have the opportunity to gain significant traction in a rapidly maturing market by expanding their reach into Egypt.

Expanding into a new cross-border market is always a challenge but can be very rewarding if done right. For the latest news and information about how to scale up your e-commerce enterprise into an international success, subscribe to the Payza Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The 5 Most Popular Alternative Payment Methods

Popular types of alternative payment methods

Alternative Payment Methods, or simply Alternative Payments, are payment options that don’t require a traditional payment device, such as a credit card. The term most often applies to online payments but can be used for brick and mortar payments as well.

Many alternative payment options are now gaining ground on credit cards, becoming more popular every year. Here are five of the most popular alternative payment methods today:

An e-wallet, or digital wallet, is a secure place to store funds for payments and money transfers. E-wallets are particularly helpful for industries that have difficulty obtaining credit card processing or businesses that need to both send and receive online payments.

E-wallet payments recently surpassed debit cards in 2017 as the second most popular payment option. They have their sights set on credit card payments next; the 2017 Global Payments Report by Worldpay states that e-wallets will overtake credit cards in the United States within five years and will account for 45.9% of the payments market by 2021.

One benefit of e-wallets is that they can be funded in many different ways: by bank account, credit card, prepaid card and more, depending on the platform. Several of these funding options are instant, so customers can load it beforehand, or wait until they’re ready to make a payment or send money to another account.

The biggest advantage that e-wallets have over credit cards is that they can provide a fast and streamlined checkout experience. All payment information is stored within the e-wallet, so in most cases a consumer simply has to authorize the purchase to complete the checkout. There’s no need to fill out long credit card forms.

Examples: Payza, PayPal, Alipay.

Mobile payments

This alternative payments method turns your phone into a payment device. Mobile payments can vary slightly by device and region, but all forms require a phone or mobile device.

Statista reports that the worldwide mobile payment revenue in 2015 was 450 billion USD and is expected to surpass 1 trillion USD in 2019; the global mobile payment revenue is increasing rapidly. In the US, mobile payments continue to gain popularity. The 2017 Global Mobile Consumer Survey: US Edition by Deloitte states that 29% of consumers surveyed had made an in-store mobile payment. There has also been a 50% increase in consumers who now use mobile payments on a weekly basis.

Mobile payments are also catching on in Europe: there was a record breaking increase of 200% from 2015 to 2016 of people making mobile payments. According to Statista, the transaction value of mobile payments in Sweden is expected to grow by a rate of 66.4% annually over the next five years, from $1,100m in 2017 to $8,425m (USD) in 2021.

There are different ways to pay using mobile money, either in the real-world or online. For some payments, you can simply “tap” your phone to the payment reader, for others you would use an online portal. Some mobile money systems don’t even require a smartphone at all, but allow you to send money through a feature phone.

Analog mobile payment systems are popular in developing countries because they bypass the need for bank accounts, credit cards, and smartphones. In developed regions with high internet and smartphone penetration, mobile money is more commonly sent online. In both cases, this payment method tends to be best suited for domestic transfers and are not as convenient for international transactions.

Examples: M-Pesa (Kenya), bKash (Bangladesh), Swish (Sweden), Venmo (USA), Apple Pay, Android Pay.

Alternative Card Payments

While many card payments are made by credit card, there are other types of cards that can be used as well for online and real-world purchases: debit cards, prepaid cards, and charge cards. These card types help to limit overspending by either using existing funds or not allowing you to carry debt from month to month.

This table offers a quick summary of the differences between credit cards and alternative cards:

  Credit cards Debit cards Prepaid cards Charge cards
Safer than cash x x x x
Linked to a bank account x
Pre-funded x x
Billed for later payment x x
No spending limit x

Debit cards can be swiped at retailers or used online to purchase goods and services, like a credit card. However, with direct debit cards the money is drawn from your bank account right away when you make a purchase.

Prepaid cards are pay-as-you-go cards, because you load them with cash when buying them and top them up when they run out. The prepaid card company keeps a record of your card and will be able to block and replace it if it’s lost or stolen, making this a safe payment method.

When using a charge card, you must pay the bill in full every month by the due date, which can help control spending. For your purchases to be approved, your spending and payment history is taken into account, as well as your financial resources and credit record. Charge cards can be used to build a credit history without risking getting into expensive debt, as long as you pay the full balance each month.

Examples of prepaid cards: Paysafecard, Vanilla Card.

Examples of charge cards: American Express, Diners Club International.


Cryptocurrencies, also called digital money, are secure digital records that cannot be forged, duplicated, or altered. In most cases, transactions that have been completed and confirmed by the network are irreversible, making this payment option very attractive for merchants who are worried about credit card chargebacks.

Cryptocurrencies were conceived to be decentralized digital cash systems. This means that no central body such as governments or banks have control over them and they are resistant to censorship. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency, but there are now hundreds of other alternatives: Altcoins. Luckily, many of these cryptocurrencies can be described in four words or less.

Cryptocurrencies are generally linked to a Blockchain, which acts as a ledger that records all movement of the digital currency. The ledger is publicly accessible and is verified by multiple independent members of the community. The cryptocurrency is thereby decentralized and no single entity has full control over the coin.

This graphic from Blockgeeks explains how a basic blockchain works:

Blockchain - how it works

Cryptocurrencies are still very new; Bitcoin is less than 10 years old, so merchants are understandably skeptical about adopting it. However, early movers such as and Expedia were able to attract new customers and garner media attention by adopting cryptocurrency payment options.

Examples: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin.

Bank account payments

Bank account payments let you send money directly from bank account to bank account. This can be an attractive option for merchants as bank payments in general have a lower cost for payment acceptance than credit cards.

There are two ways to accept bank account payments: customers either make payments directly to your bank account or they can use an online banking system to complete the payment.

There are three types of bank account payment methods, each one has their own advantages and drawbacks.

Bank transfers are forecast to become the second most popular payment method globally by 2021, according to the 2017 Global Payments Report by Worldpay. This option has low fees, making it a favorite among merchants and consumers. iDeal (Netherlands) and Giropay (Germany) are examples of online banking systems for bank transfers.

Bank wires transfer money via either a bank or non-bank provider, such as Western Union. The bank requests for the transaction to be completed by transmitting a message via a secure system (such as SWIFT) to the receiving bank. This option is extremely secure but usually has high fees, making it a better choice for large payments.

With direct debits, funds aren’t transferred right away. Instead you authorize the merchant to collect the money from your account at a set time, then the money is deducted from your account automatically. This is a simple and handy way to pay monthly and recurring bills as you only need to authorize the payment once. SEPA Direct Debit (Europe-wide) and ACH Debit (USA) are examples of online banking systems for direct debit.

  Bank Transfers Bank Wire Direct Debit
Secure x x x
Instant/fast x x
Low fees x x
Domestic x x x
Global x
Manual direct payments x x
Automated payments x
Good for subscriptions x

Alternative payments offer many benefits for both merchants and consumers. By understanding your customers and their payment needs, you can offer the right alternatives that will help take your business to the next level. To get started with alternative payment methods, be sure to sign up for your free Payza personal or business account today!

Subscribe to the Payza blog for more articles on alternative payment methods and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news from Payza.

Alternative Payment Methods: An Introduction

Alternative Payment Methods

Alternative Payment Methods, or simply Alternative Payments, are payment options that don’t include traditional credit cards, especially for online purchases. There is a growing list of alternative payment methods, each with its own unique application. Most of these are either connected to a specific country or region, or have been designed to facilitate online transactions.

It’s not easy to find a single definition for alternative payments, but most experts agree that any payment method where you aren’t required to enter your credit card number at check-out would qualify as an alternative payment. An alternative payments system would therefore be any payment system that doesn’t require any credit card association for a transaction.

Alternative payment methods can increase a merchant’s global reach, provide customers with more choices, help to simplify checkout from both desktop and mobile devices, and potentially save merchants money by lowering processing fees and fraud risks. Whether you’re an online shopping enthusiast or manage an e-commerce business, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the wide range of alternative payment options available to you.

Some of the most common alternative payment methods are:

  • E-wallets
  • Mobile payments
  • Bank transfers
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Prepaid cards
  • Direct debit

By offering some or all of these alternative payment methods, your business will stand out by meeting the various customer demands and individual preferred means of payment.

Alternative payment methods present benefits for both merchants and consumers:

Benefits for Merchants

Online shoppers worldwide have diverse payment method preferences, so it’s necessary for merchants to offer a range of payment options, which will in turn attract more customers.

Alternative payment methods are valuable for merchants as:

  • They can enter markets with low credit card coverage.
  • They can accept more than credit cards.
  • They get a lower risk of returns & avoid loss of sales due to credit card declines.
  • It presents a real-time online payment acceptance.
  • It’s a trusted buying process.
  • It increases sales, both domestic and international.
  • It presents a real-time online payment acceptance.
  • They can provide payment options familiar to the consumer.

Avoid Loss of Sale Due to Credit Card Declines

When credit card payments are declined, there’s not a lot that business owners can do if that’s the only payment method that they accept. One of the most important measures of success for a merchant is the conversion rate: your revenues get higher the more your customers complete the checkout. Credit card declines can impact this as customers whose credit card gets declined may be discouraged to complete the checkout.

Credit card declines are a big problem, for the merchant, the consumer, and the credit card issuer. In 2014, a survey revealed that 17% of consumers interviewed had experienced a credit card decline in the United States, and this number is only increasing.

According to the Baymard Institute, credit card declines kill 2-5% of all potential sales. 90-95% of transactions are accepted on the first try, leaving 5-10% of consumers to try to complete their transaction a second or a third time before it’s approved. Typically, half of these transactions will then succeed, which still leaves 2-5% of e-commerce sales lost due to credit card declines.

To avoid a loss of sale due to credit card declines, merchants need to consider offering an alternative to card payments. By offering alternative payment methods, merchants give their customers greater flexibility which can be an excellent motivator in a purchase.

Increase Sales & Engagement

Alternative payments have been shown to drive traffic and increase sales, as well as “reduce shopping cart abandonment, support customer acquisition and help marketers overcome other key challenges.Research from Blackhawk Network in 2017 has revealed that alternative payment methods can:

  • Increase the likelihood of customer purchases and recommendations: 77% of the surveyed consumers would likely recommend a retailer that offers an alternative payment method, and 78% also believe that alternative payment options makes it more likely for them to make a purchase.
  • Foster loyalty: 67% of the respondents believe that using an alternative payment method keeps them loyal to the brand or retailer.
  • Drive shopper traffic and affinity: 37% of the respondents are more likely to visit a website or store that accepts alternative payment forms.
  • Prevent cart abandonment online: 11% of the respondents said that a mobile payment option would motivate them to complete an online purchase.

This means that merchants are not simply adding value and convenience for their existing customers by offering alternative payment methods, but these options will also help them attract new customers while generating greater loyalty and engagement from existing customers. Alternative payments can for that reason be seen as a great engagement tool for merchants.

Providing many payment options would also increase a business’ conversion rates, as it’s more likely that a customer will complete a purchase and come back in the future if there are more payment options to choose from. This is not something new: in 2009, research showed that 50% of surveyed British adult online shoppers said they would not complete a purchase if their preferred payment method was not available. The same survey showed that 40% of these shoppers would be more comfortable purchasing from an online business that offers many different payment methods. So merchants who want to make shopping at their store simpler and more attractive can actually increase profits by offering alternative payment methods.

Increase Cross-border Sales

Many countries have populations that want goods from outside their borders (“growing internet penetration and young populations accelerate this trend”), and “banks and traditional payments take time to get established in these new markets.” Alternative payment methods that can accept payments from across boundaries provide easier e-commerce worldwide for a business that is not limited by geography. So an online business can gain popularity in a country and connect to its consumers if it can offer payment options that are familiar to the consumers.

Reduce Chargebacks

Alternative payment methods would also reduce the risk of chargebacks as many alternative payment methods do not allow for chargebacks (the forced return of funds to their original source). This means that merchants can feel more secure when they accept a Bitcoin or money order payment over a credit card payment for example, since they know that the payment cannot be refunded without their permission. If you want to reduce your chargebacks, you should consider alternative payment methods.

It’s not just merchants who benefit from alternative payments, there are big benefits for online shoppers as well.

Benefits for Consumers

Today, it’s important that consumers feel that they have a choice when doing a payment, so that they are not “forced” to pay in a single way (for example by credit card). When doing an online purchase, it is much more convenient for a consumer if they can choose a payment method that they are familiar and comfortable with, which is why alternative payment methods would also be beneficial for consumers.

Alternative payment methods are attractive to consumers because:

  • They offer locally preferred payment methods.
  • They provide language and currency localisation.
  • They are recognized as trusted payment methods.
  • No credit or debit card is needed.
  • They are convenient, reliable, simple and secure.
  • They get access to more products and services.
  • They help simplify the shopping experience.

Local & Trusted Payment Systems

While alternative payment methods are not always country specific, it is important to recognize that there are different preferred payment methods for populations in different countries. Specific local payment systems are very attractive to the consumers, as they can use the payment system that works best in their country and this facilitates their online transactions.

Payment methods that offer instructions in a consumer’s own language and uses local currency will also put consumer at ease and make them feel more comfortable when completing checkout. This will help lower abandonment rates and increase customer satisfaction, giving you a big advantage over the competition. 

Added Security

As a shopper, it is generally safer and more secure to use an alternative payment method than a credit card for online payments. Online fraud is a major concern but alternative payment options tend to have a much lower fraud risk than credit cards. Customers that are concerned about online security and would prefer not using a credit card can opt instead for a reliable alternative like an e-wallet or cryptocurrency, which would be a safer and more secure option.

Save Time

Most alternative payment methods don’t require consumers to fill in as many online forms as a credit card purchase requires. This simplifies the online shopping experience and allows users to make their purchases faster. With an e-wallet, customers only have to enter their email address, and their billing and shipping information would be pulled from their e-wallet account. Customers will come to appreciate the rapid checkout experience, which could translate into more repeat business for your e-commerce website.

The popularity of alternative payment methods is growing, so as a merchant you might want to look into which alternative payment method(s) would work best for your online business.

With the Payza e-wallet, you can send and receive money online instantly, using credit and debit cards, bank transfers, bank wires, cryptocurrencies and so much more. Sign up for your free personal or business account today and discover all the alternative payment options offered by Payza!

Stay tuned for more articles on alternative payment methods, and for all the latest news from Payza, be sure to subscribe to our blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Payza E-Commerce School: Building Landing Pages

Payza E-Commerce School - Building Landing Pages

It’s time for another learning lesson from our “Payza E-Commerce School,” a series of articles covering the e-commerce tips and tricks we’ve learned by serving thousands of online merchants. In this week’s class, we’ll help you design and create landing pages for your online business.

But first: what is a landing page? Well, landing pages are specialized, optimized, standalone web pages designed for a specific objective, usually known as the “call to action.” This means that landing pages are distinct from the main website of your online business. The actions that a visitor takes on a landing page is what determines your business’ conversion rate.

In most cases, visitors can only access a landing page by clicking on one of your business’ ads. If you need help crafting the right advertising for your landing page, check out our previous articles of the “Payza E-Commerce School” series: Marketing Tips for Online Businesses and Which Type of Online Marketing is Right for You?, to learn about different types of online marketing that you can use.

You use landing pages to present specific products or to get customers to make a purchase. When customers click on your ad, they are brought to the landing page that presents the specific product or service that was seen in the original ad. These pages are optimized for the specific ad to help you maximize your conversion rate by displaying a customized message for your customers.

There are two basic types of landing pages: Click Through and Lead Generation.

Click Through Landing Pages

These landing pages have the “goal of persuading the visitor to click through to another page.” If an ad doesn’t provide enough information for a customer to make a purchasing decision, the landing page can help by describing the “product or offer in sufficient detail.” From there, the landing page can lead to a shopping cart checkout or a member registration page.

Lead Generation Landing Pages

Also called ‘lead gen’ landing pages, these are used to “capture user data, such as a name and email address.” The purpose of these landing pages is to collect information on potential customers to connect with them later. These pages normally contain a form along with a description of what the person will get for submitting their personal information. In B2B settings (business-to-business), companies will tempt users to leave their contact information by offering valuable resources in exchange.

These are some of the resources that can be distributed through lead gen landing pages, provided by Unbounce:

  • Ebook or whitepaper
  • Webinar registration
  • Consultation for professional services

In B2C situations (business-to-consumer), there are other items that might convince a customer to fill out the form:

  • Discount coupon/voucher
  • Contest entry
  • Free trial
  • A physical gift (via direct mail)
  • Notification of a future product launch

It is important to make sure that the form is not too long and that it doesn’t ask for too much personal information. Unbounce advises to “ask for the absolute minimum amount of information that will enable you to market to your prospects effectively.”

Tips for Building a Landing Page

According to Unbounce, it is important to use landing pages because “they help increase your conversion rates” by focusing on a single objective that matches the ads they’re connected to. This is why it’s critical to match the message of your ad with your landing page, the landing page should “reflect the messaging presented on the upstream ad.” The best landing pages are connected to a single specific product or service that your business offers, so this should be clearly reflected in the landing page message. While it may be tempting to advertise all the products or services your company offers, this could end up confusing your customer and hurting your conversion rates.

Have a clear objective in mind when you start working on your landing page. It’s important to know what you want to achieve with the page. Tailor the landing page for your target visitors, based on their “pain points, wants, and needs.” Also, make sure that your landing page is mobile-friendly.

When your landing page is ready, make sure to direct traffic from your ads to the dedicated landing page, and not to your homepage.

The Core Elements of a Landing Page

There are some things that your landing pages should always feature. Upbounce and Instapage present these core elements for your landing pages:

  • Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), broken up into four main parts:
    • The main headline, that should grab the visitor’s attention and make them want to stay on the page.
    • A supporting headline, that should back up the main headline and offer more insight.
    • A reinforcing statement, to provide further proof of your claim.
    • A closing argument, to tie everything together.
  • Images/video showing context of use:
    • Make sure they are relevant to your offer and that they help explain what your product or service does for the customer.
    • Make sure they look great, because using unprofessional images or video will leave a bad impression on your customers.
  • The benefits of your offering:
    • A bullet list summary of benefits.
    • Specific benefits and features in greater detail.
  • Social proof (I’ll have what she’s having):
    • Testimonials from satisfied customers.
    • Embedded social media testimonials that can be verified by visitors.
  • A single conversion goal:
    • Your Call-To-Action (CTA). This is the action you want your visitors to take so that you get a conversion. Ensure that the CTA is clear and well-designed.

Bonus Rules of Thumb for a Landing Page

Upbounce presents these additional tips to apply to your landing pages:

  • Ensure the primary headline of your landing page matches the ad visitors clicked to get there.
  • Use directional cues to direct attention to your call to action (CTA), such as arrows or photos/videos of people looking or pointing at your button.
  • Congruence: every element of your page should be aligned conceptually with the topic and goal of the page.
  • Show your product/service being used in context.
  • Use video. It’s been shown to improve conversion by up to 80%.
  • Edit to remove unnecessary content. Be succinct.
  • Show social proof via indicators of your social status.
  • Test new ideas using A/B testing. Let your customers decide which message works best for them.
  • Provide a guarantee to reduce/remove risk.
  • Include partner co-branding to increase trust by association.
  • Simplify your copy using bullets.
  • If you are selling a book, or giving away an eBook via lead gen, provide a preview to increase trust and show that you are proud of your product.
  • Segment by traffic source: send your PPC, email, social media, organic and banner traffic to separate landing pages for better message match and measurability (which channel performs best).
  • Segment by user type: don’t send offers about men’s health products to the ladies on your email list.
  • Show your phone number so people know you are real and can interact with you on a personal level.

When creating your landing pages, make sure you keep what we’ve listed in mind for them to perform successfully and in turn generate positive sales results for your online business.

Stay tuned for more “Payza E-Commerce School” articles where we’ll share the e-commerce tips and tricks we’ve learned by serving thousands of online merchants. For all the latest news from Payza, be sure to subscribe to our blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Payza E-Commerce School: Which Type of Online Marketing is Right for You?

Payza E-Commerce School - Types of Online Marketing

Last week, we presented tips on how to manage your online advertising: Marketing Tips for Online Businesses. Now we want to help you discover which type of online marketing would work best for you and your business.

Engaging in online advertising can be very profitable when done right and there are many ways to advertise your business online, but it can be difficult to know where to focus your advertising budget. In this segment of our “Payza E-Commerce School” series, we’ll share the online marketing tips and tricks we’ve learned by serving thousands of online merchants.

Here are different types of online marketing you can use to promote your business:

Social Media Marketing: Increase Visibility  

Social media is very popular today, and you can take advantage of this to increase your business’ visibility by creating a business profile and placing ads on the bigger social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Blue Fountain Media states that “social media marketing is a key element for success in marketing.” Here are some of the many advantages of using social media to market your business:

  • With the help of social media, you can increase your business’ visibility and brand awareness, as social media offers a broad audience of consumers.
  • Social media lets you interact with your customers directly, which is important for marketing.
  • Your customers can send messages to your business so you get marketplace insight through direct feedback.
  • By being active and reachable on social media, you have the opportunity to reach customers outside of your existing customer segments.
  • Social media marketing is a “cost-efficient part of an advertising strategy” as it is free to sign up and create a profile on most social media networks.
  • It’s not expensive to design ads and buy advertising space on the social media networks.

If you’re ready to try social media marketing, here are some steps to take:

  1. Get exposure and interact with online influencers and potential customers by creating social media profiles for your business.
  2. Create high-quality content that integrates the targeted keywords for your business.
  3. Design and place ads for your business on the social media networks.
  4. Develop relationships with your customers by being interactive: share content, comment, post statuses, and respond to customers’ comments. This personifies your brand and attracts more customers. Also, posting original content and responding to customers “makes you appear more credible.”
  5. Increase your reach by publishing your content and participating in discussions on as many platforms as possible.
  6. Monitor the activity on your profiles to see what your customers’ interests and opinions are.

Embrace social media marketing and, in the words of Blue Fountain Media, “be communicative, connect with your audience, share content, and promote your authority.”

Video Ads: Appeal to a Wider Range of Senses  

Take advantage of video-centric social media networks such as YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Vimeo to produce and distribute short video ads. These networks have massive audiences: YouTube currently has over one billion users, Instagram over 500 million daily active users, Snapchat over 173 million daily active users, and Vimeo over 100 million users. Take advantage of the attention these social networks can provide for your ads by running them before and after other popular videos.

The study “Video Marketing Statistics 2016” shows that many consumers prefer to watch a video ad than reading a product explanation. “Video ads generate far more emotional cues than a photo can, with the ability to tell an extensive story and appeal to a wider range of senses.” A video can evoke more emotional responses than a simple text can and this type of advertising has been proven to be successful.

Video ads can however be tricky to get right. If you don’t have the expertise to film and edit your own professional looking videos, it can be a good idea to have an agency create these videos for you. The blog has written a blog post about “Promotional Facebook Videos: The Good, The Bad, The Indifferent”, and this video has some examples of good and bad ads: “Good Vs. Bad Advertisements.”

Google AdWords & other Pay-Per-Click Ads: Target Your Industry Keywords

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads and campaigns are “Internet-based advertising modes specifically used to direct traffic to a particular website,” so when using this you simply pay a publisher when the ad has been clicked on by someone. Google AdWords is Google’s advertising platform that you can use to reach your target customer. With AdWords you bid on keywords in order to make your clickable ads appear in Google’s search results.

WordStream states that Google AdWords can be effective for many kinds of businesses, “as long as they don’t waste their money on the wrong keywords, or write weak, low CTR ads.” So the effectiveness of Google AdWords depends on the keywords you’re bidding for and the relevancy of that keyword for your business’ sales. Since you pay for each click, it’s important to optimize these ads by using your target customer profiles to deliver the ads to the people you want to reach.

Yes, Google AdWords costs money as all marketing channels do, but if you learn how to use it you can get an impressive return on that investment. However, fine-tuning and tracking your ads can also be time-consuming. Luckily, today there are many time-reducing tools and systems that can help with the time spent on paid search. “AdWords is an affordable form of advertising that allows for targeting qualified, in-market prospects, and if managed correctly, it can deliver strong ROI, helping you grow your business’s leads and sales.” Learn more here: Does Google AdWords Work?

Other Forms of Online Advertising

In their article “10 Popular Paid Online Advertising Strategies,” Ballantine presents several other types of paid online advertising methods that you can also use to promote your business:

  • Banner Ads: These are “small, rectangular ads that appear on various Web pages.” Once someone clicks on these, they will be directed to your website or landing page. Banners let you add visual branding elements to your ad along with a descriptive text.
  • Contextual Ads: These ads are “placed by an automated sponsored ad system on a number of related web pages.” This type of ads is becoming popular on mobile sites for mobile visitors.
  • Floating Ads: These ads are “superimposed over a page that has been requested or visited by a user” which means that they appear over a page that someone is visiting and disappear after a while. They’re useful as they “make their appearance over a web page.” While these ads definitely are seen, you need to be careful as many consumers find them intrusive and annoying.

Along with a well-thought-out ad strategy, you should create landing pages for your online business. With landing pages, when the customers click on your ad they are brought to the landing page that presents the specific product or service that was seen in the original ad. These pages are optimized for the specific ad to help you maximize your conversion rate by displaying a customized message for your customers.

It can be difficult to decide upon the best type of online marketing for your online business. Depending on what type of products or services you offer, a mix of some or all of the types of online marketing presented here may be profitable for your business. Whichever method you choose, be sure to track your ads to see if they are performing up to your expectations. If not, you’ll want to make adjustments or opt for a different type of advertisement.

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