Czech Republic – The Rising Star of European E-Commerce

The Czech Republic is one of the youngest nations in Europe, making it all the more surprising that it is emerging as one of the growing markets in European e-commerce. Whilst the powerhouses of Britain, France and Germany are starting to slow down in their markets, newer and smaller nations such as the Czech Republic are finding new ways to stay relevant in the e-commerce market, visible by their improvement in J.P. Morgan’s Global Payments Trends Report for this year.

To give more insight into the country’s business, the number of online shops went from 3,900 to around 40,000 in 2017. Its e-commerce market now worth a total of 4.4 billion euros, and is estimated to increase at a rate of 16% each year until 2021.


The sites that make up the majority of the Czech online stores would be domestic ones, whereas shopping services of other countries tend to be very unpopular. Due to this, online shoppers have higher expectations for delivery times, 75% either expecting or choosing same-day

delivery, yet only 6% would consider purchasing a premium service for this need.  That said, local brands hold the advantage of not needing to import goods or add additional shipping prices, leaving non-Czech brands with a need to update their business model if wishing to remain relevant in this territory.

The Czechs have made sure not to ignore the advantages of mobile commerce either, with it now making up 54% (or 2.4 billion euros in sales) of e-commerce within the country.


Despite all this, there are still some problems the Czech Republic will face. Cash is currently the most popular way to make payments within the country, making up 45% of transactions, which puts the country behind many other markets in that area. Focusing purely on cash will limit merchants when it comes to matters such as payment delays or additional required costs.

Whilst credit cards aren’t very popular, debit cards have shown some usage with an annual growth rate of 19.2%, making it apparent they will be seen as a fine second option when some businesses need more flexibility than cash-only payments.


Despite having some problems to tackle, this rising star nation in e-commerce seems set to show how well a small nation can function in the market with the proper steps in internalising it in the most efficient manner.

Conversational Commerce and Why It Matters

Even if you have some experience in e-commerce, you may not have heard of the term conversational commerce. To put it simply, it’s a way to communicate with your customers, whether through chatbots, automatic e-mails or customer feedback. It can also help when working with site analytics, as to best figure out what questions will be the most likely for customers to ask.

Even in an age where information and research is easy to obtain, sometimes the aid of conversational commerce can help provide a wider perspective on how to manage an online business.


The Importance

Following on from that, being as specific as possible is important for modern customers who are often spoilt for choice. If you can get to the root of any issues people have with your site, you can stop them from jumping ship to one of the millions of other e-commerce sites waiting for them with open arms.

This makes having some sort of FAQ or query system essential in making a customer satisfied, which is where conversational commerce comes in. By having somewhere in which they can ask some questions and quickly find an answer, you avoid the tedious process of talking on the phone to a customer service agent, or the even more tedious process of searching for a fix online- or the feared “finding another site”.


Statistics also show the growth of messaging apps, of which chatbots completely run the show for companies. The top 4 messaging apps have found more active users than the top 4 social networks as of 2017, showing the potential utilising this conversation option can hold.


Another thing to consider would be the cost-effectiveness. Putting in place a chatbot to answer an infinite number of customers at any time will mean far fewer workers will be needed to be hired for customer support teams. It will also take far more stress off this support team, with their use being reserved for more complex tasks a bot isn’t capable of doing.


How to Utilise Conversational Commerce

With all that said, having a responsive chat feature will definitely raise the likelihood of making a successful sale with the customer, rather than them getting fed up with a lack of support and leaving your site.

But how should your chat function? One of the main features to take into consideration is making it proactive in asking customers about their experiences and need for help.  With a helpful and energetic approach, people will openly tell you about anything they like and dislike about your site. Conversational copy is another important point, as people tend to be more honest when they’re more comfortable.


Improving Mobile Sales

Anyone who’s learned anything about e-commerce will know that optimising your website for mobile users is essential for gaining traction. Assuming you’ve already taken that step, it’s time to optimise commercial commerce for the mobile app. With mobile e-commerce sales expected to make up over 54% of e-commerce sales by 2021, it’s an area that can’t be ignored.

There are a lot of small bugs that can come through, and it’s useful to be on top of them. Make sure to make it easy to report a problem, and make sure you fix them fast, and you’re good.

In many cases, people will hear about your products through social media apps on their mobiles, so making the transition to your site smooth rather than forcing them to get on their laptop to use it properly is something to take into consideration.



It’s quite a vague term, but conversational commerce is essential for every business out there.


Why every business needs E-commerce


Within the modern market, everyone has multiple online devices, and this inter-connectivity has led to e-commerce becoming one of the main forms of business in the world. Internet transactions of goods have been a popular choice of business ever since the 90s, with the current form of the practice having reached the ease of only a few taps of a button or screen being enough to make a purchase.

Now, having opened up the pathway of what technology can achieve, e-commerce is something your business needs to incorporate in order to have a large amount of success in your field.


Just how popular is E-commerce?

With how easy it now is to purchase a product, and the large number of brands available; shopping is now far different from the days in which a customer was required to visit a shop in person and look around at what was physically available, and nothing else. Being able to search for key words/terms for what you want has made shopping far simpler for a lot of people. With the growth of the internet, e-portals in which e-commerce can work on is set to continue increasing at a rate too fast for many to comprehend. An accurate number for growth is hard to calculate, but it is predicted by many to expand over a dozen times its current level in as little as the next few years.


The e-commerce industry, which has birthed such giants as Amazon or Flipkart, is arguably most influential in India. It has become the home of such a strong e-commerce market through two main reason: the country’s large population, and the ever-growing amount of internet users it makes up.

Further advancements are expected to be made through India’s market, including voice-based transactions and trust systems, allowing for a more coherent and polished form of UX-forward business. Here are some of the reasons all businesses benefit from having an online store:



Globalisation and Costs

Going back to the point about inter-connectivity, being able to communicate with and gain customers from all over the world without the costs and resources of establishing stores across the globe, is effective to say the least. In an age where a lot of products and categories are quite similar to each other, it would be foolish to limit your market to only a local one if people can easily get something close online without needing to leave the house.


Along with not needing to physically establish new stores, e-commerce will allow your business to save money in several other ways. Digital advertising for something online is a far cheaper option than having physical ads, especially with the effectiveness of social media. Many staff positions can also have some relief with AI like chatbots and virtual assistants.


Personalisation and Traffic

By obtaining customer information through analytical data, you can easily personalise offers to your customer base in order to increase customer satisfaction, and promote products they’re more likely to buy. Amazon’s “Related to items you viewed” section is a good example of this.

Having an online presence through a store and advertising through email or social media will help provide more traffic for your site and, thus, make your business far more viable for retail than if you treat your site as just a secondary option.



Despite the name, Omnichannel isn’t some network in a dystopian sci-fi series, though the previous generation would consider it just as futuristic. It is, in fact, the method of having multiple channels through which your business can work; easy navigation between portals, well designed apps, variety in payment options and constantly introducing new customer service channels.


Consistency in pricing between the physical and digital sale is important in allowing the customer to develop more trust in the brand and assure their loyalty in buying from the company again. As an example of the contrary, there is a significant amount of criticism towards the UK retailer GAME, with many of their newer releases costing more to buy in-store than online by up to a £10 difference.

One method of keeping track of the price equality would be through a smartphone mobile app, which can help both the retailers and customers keep track of pricing and stock.


Things to be careful of

Despite the massive growth of the industry, e-commerce isn’t a perfect system just yet. Perhaps the biggest one is the general preference many customers have for buying an item in-store, being able to physically examine it and check the quality before purchase.  For such reasons, it’s important for online businesses to have good, high quality photos to allow the audience to make up their own mind.


All personal information you share on an e-commerce website is shared with the retailer and its affiliated e-portals. Because of this, the possibility of hacking and data theft is something all businesses should be vigilant about. Security’s importance can never be overlooked, so making sure your business has a good security system and keeping an eye out for any suspicious transactions will always be necessary.


Another thing more exclusive to emerging brands is keeping up to date with customer demands. Making sure you have a good range of options in terms of searching, item categories and payment methods along with an easy-to-use interface is what separates successful online stores from mediocre ones.


Many online stores don’t do the best job in delivering the product to the customer quickly, a major issue when trying to gain customer trust. Making sure you put in place as fast a delivery system as possible as early as possible will be a key factor in getting happy buyers.



Whilst any e-commerce brand has a few hurdles to overcome, every business venture does, and there aren’t many valid reason to limit your business’ potential to just one local store. Having a good online store means having a worldwide following.


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E-Commerce- 7 new trends that won’t die

Whenever new improvements to technology arise, e-commerce will always find a way to benefit from it. According to Statista, e-commerce is estimated to make a total of $4.5 billion from sales in 2021. That says a lot to the kind of profit you could make with the right approach. The right approach, however, is constantly changing, and there are businessmen far and wide struggling to keep up. Here are 8 e-commerce trends we’re expecting to see grow in the near future, so you can implement them now:


Subscription services

According to McKinsey, subscription-based e-commerce services have grown more than 100% per year for the last 5 years. If you’re wanting to retain loyal customers, a subscription service can help you build a strong fanbase. Giving people freebies or discounts for buying from you monthly can be the difference between a one-time customer and one who invests in your product for years on end, and that’s why companies worldwide are jumping on it.

Increased personalisation

In an age where a customer’s needs are catered to in a variety of ways, you may fall behind if you’re not doing the same.

Recommended items are an easy way to take a customer’s data and give them a worthwhile experience. It keeps them coming back, and persuades them to buy more, which is a no-brainer for an online store.


Chatbots, chatbots everywhere

The tool of AI assisted chats have been around for a while as a way to easily perform tasks simple enough a human isn’t required for it. As 2019 continues, many companies are looking into the benefits of using them for tasks previously needing a human’s input, like checking inventories and answering customer questions, as it saves a lot of money.

As for the biggest example of chatbots in e-commerce, that would be eBay. Their use of it allows customers to become aware of new deals and find what they’re looking for far easier.


Note: Whilst AI is expected of the technological age, many customers still prefer to be able to naturally talk to a human when it comes to specific queries on an item before they buy. Not only that, but having a team of only chatbots would be an awful idea. There needs to be a balance, so people don’t lose patience if there’s ever a bug or something else stopping the bots from functioning.


Better visualisation

Seeing a product in person and being able to physically feel for quality it are two aspects lost in online stores compared to the more traditional type. It can be highly disappointing to see a product that has a nice image, but has poor functionality or product quality when it comes to finally using it.

Because of this, it should be a goal for anyone working in e-commerce to invest in the idea of 3D imaging and other types of virtual reality to make this drawback a thing of the past. Whilst nowhere near the sort of virtual revolution written in your typical sci-fi story, it is an area of technology that has made strides in recent times, enough to the point of maybe becoming a common way for people to evaluate products without needing to go to a store.

Along with the enlarged 3D images of the products, video descriptions are becoming more popular to allow the customer to get a more in-depth experience.


Voice Search

Moving from the eyes to the mouth, the voice search feature is quite a new one that has already grown to the extent that it makes up 20% of all searches at this point. Comscore also estimates it will make up 50% of all searches by next year.

With the growing popularity of phone assistants such as Alexa, more companies are making an effort to improve their voice search system, as demand in the market rises. Voice search is a lot more convenient than typing for a lot of people, so we can guarantee it’ll continue to grow.


Instalment payments

Let’s say a customer wants a product from you, but doesn’t have the money at the time. This could be costing you a sale. Instalment payments are getting more popular because of this, with PayPal being a huge innovator in the space.

A lot of companies do seem to lack the trust in customers to do this, and maybe rightly so, but when it works, it really works. For instance, the retail chain Very makes a lot of its profits in the sales of electronics through monthly instalment payments from customers.


As for creating a good experience out of this, convenience for the customers is key. They should get automatic updates on a payment before the deadline so they can plan accordingly, as well as the option to pay the remainder all at once if they become capable of doing so.


The power of influencers

Nowadays, those of the millennial generation constantly make up a larger percentage of the market each year. In terms of their spending habits, 70% of this group tend to buy products based on peer recommendation according to a survey by Collective Bias. Meanwhile, blogging seems a useful tool as well, with 30% going by the recommendation of a blogger. That is why brands love influencers, and that is why they’ll continue paying them to talk favourably about their brand.


While all of these things are already being used by the biggest online stores on the internet, there is good reason. If you’re looking for the next step to bring you closer to the user experience levels of Amazon, these should help.


Need help setting up a store?

If you’re currently only researching e-commerce for a store you’ve not yet opened, we can help! We can turn your store into an online store using Sage Pay. After filling out a short quote request, we can integrate your company over to Sage, install fraud prevention measures and screening tools, and provide you with analytical tools to see your company’s growth first-hand. As well as this, we can provide 24/7 support, just in case anything goes wrong.

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5 Fast Ways You Can Get More E-Commerce Sales

So, you’re starting up your business in the world of e-commerce. Maybe you’ve established it somewhat recently and just need the extra push to put it on the map. Maybe you’ve even got it all figured out but have hit a bit of stagnation as of late. Whatever the case, there’s always a need to improve and make more revenue for your business.

More sales doesn’t hurt, and sometimes you have to give something away to get people really coming to your site. Here’s 5 ways you can pick up some customers without really doing much:


#1 – Set up a loyalty scheme

You probably already have some level of a customer base to focus on. If so, making sure your products and campaigns are catered to is very important on keeping an audience, never mind expanding one.

Research done into the customer base who stayed for the purchase throughout its entirety showed that regular customers added more items to the cart, had higher conversions rates and generated more revenue with each visit.

Focusing on the customers already familiar with your business should come before gaining new followers. You should make them feel important by offering rewards for long-time customers, such as annual discounts or perhaps a general VIP system for them.


#2 – Try free shipping

Nobody likes to look at the price of an item only to then have to factor in the extra of shipping. That said, it’s obvious that taking out shipping costs would make a business all the more appealing to customers. In fact, a study by Walker Sands in the U.S. found that 80% of respondents would view free shipping as the main factor in whether or not they’d make the purchase.

Once more when talking about e-commerce, we must use Amazon as an example. Their Amazon Prime subscription offers free shipping as part of the subscription, leading to the service constantly gaining popularity.


But how do you go about this and still make a profit? That can be difficult, but there are a few methods as the key to it is to work it into your price margin. Making sure to consider how your products, customers and profits tie into each other will help you come up with a good system. A minimum spend for delivery saves you a lot of money but also entices customers, depending on product. If you don’t mind putting time into this, having a service like Amazon Prime would also be a huge reward for returning customers.


Overall, the key to sales is making the customer believe they’re getting the best value. Giving away something every now and again keeps customers happy, and happy customers are more likely to buy.


#3 – Give out a discount

A study conducted at Claremont University based on how the human brain reacts to discounts and vouchers yielded some surprising results. The full report is available here, but the participants that were given a $10 gift voucher for free while shopping online saw a 38% increase in oxytocin, and an 11% rise in their happiness on average.

This is a more dramatic change in mood than receiving a gift, which is pretty unbelievable. It proves that customers will always be looking for the best deals, or hanging around waiting for Black Friday or the Boxing Day sales. This proves that if you want to get more people on your store, the best option is to have a sale!


Another option is adding a discount for purchases above a certain amount, with 20% being a good baseline. This engages people to buy more than one item, and the profit margins have space to build up, even if you’re selling for less.


Of course, you must also take into account what your target audience wants and cater gifts around them, because the right offer goes a long way. A money off code is preferred for luxury items as it stops you from losing too much money, and a percentage-based discount code is better for cheaper items, as it’ll entice people to buy multiple items at once.


#4 – Prompt customers to review

93% of customers find user-generated content (UGC) to help them in deciding on a purchase according to research conducted by Adweek. Despite this, only 16% of companies bother to produce UGC.


If there’s one type of person you can trust on to advertise your product, it’s a loyal customer. In the digital age, social media and reviews are the first point of action for people looking to buy a product. You can use this to your advantage by building up a group of happy customers interacting with your page.

Gathering feedback is easiest to do immediately after your customer has made a purchase, so adding a section asking for a customer’s response is best to place either immediately after the checkout or through an automated email. Going back to vouchers, offering one as a reward for a customer response may be a good gift to a customer in exchange for their thoughts.


#5 – Add as many payment options as you can

Nowadays, customers love having options. Card, eCheque, PayPal, and even newer methods like Klarna’s “Slice It” and “Pay Later” are getting requested from online shops more and more. Every payment method you don’t accept cuts out potential buyers, so being sure you can accept as many as possible is a good idea.


Following all these steps, you should start seeing a change in your business. Maybe you’ll see an increase in customers or sales as soon as you implement them. Maybe it will take time. In any case, your business will improve, and you’ll be on the right track to making it great.


Have you started your e-commerce store yet?

If you’re currently only researching e-commerce for a store you’ve not yet opened, we can help! We can turn your store into an online store using Sage Pay. After filling out a short quote request, we can integrate your company over to Sage, install fraud prevention measures and screening tools, and provide you with analytical tools to see your company’s growth first-hand. As well as this, we can provide 24/7 support, just in case anything goes wrong.

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Why all e-commerce stores need mobile apps in 2019

Amazon and eBay are the two main pioneers of online shopping, and these e-commerce sites have helped mould the shopping behaviours of people in the modern age massively. It’s been a long journey, but now, the e-commerce system is widely accepted by the world- and customers now provide them with the trust they’d give to physical shops.


Now, the next frontier seems to be mobile. With so many of their users now almost exclusively using smartphones, brands have started to gear their sites to working perfectly on phones, even giving this medium priority over computers. The next step is creating an app, where people can easily reach your site by downloading it. This comes with unlimited feature possibilities too.


Mobile apps in e-commerce

The evolution of these apps has both changed the world of e-commerce and helped offer more customer-friendly shopping experiences for users, making a mobile app a quick solution to attracting more potential customers.


Even more so than desktop and mobile sites, mobile apps have been what has given rise to many businesses in the world of e-commerce. The marketing statistics website, Statista, reported that shopping apps are at the top of the list of categories in terms of the time customers used them in 2017. Shopping apps also had the highest profits in that year, with the category seeing a 54% rise in usage.


If you haven’t noticed, the biggest shops all have apps. Such apps are usually the best method for allowing your site to be viewed comfortably as a multi-device/platform service in whatever way fits the customer best.


The 5 main benefits

Here are the reasons you should get on board with this huge mobile movement:


#1 – Better Analytics

To start off, the specialised nature of apps let your business gain better analytics of your customers’ preferences and activities when it comes to shopping. They will also allow you to have more insight on what kind of user is buying what kind of products, to help refine your marketing strategies to improve your business.


Apps will often provide easy use ways for a customer to search for products, and you can get information on whether 75% of your shoppers want dog food, or if you’ve never had a search for bicycle helmets.


#2 – Security

On the subject of users and their personalisation, the high level of security the apps provide are something to make them extra enticing. This includes not just the user’s personal information, but also that of their credit/debit card or PayPal/Google Pay account. Being highly secure is essential for avoiding cyber-attacks, and well-functioning apps with good security help build trust with a customer.


#3 – Less Complexity

The layout of all mobile apps focuses on condensing all of a site’s features down into a package for a smaller screen. This includes things such as an easily locatable search bars, smooth navigation, easy access to products and offering multiple methods of payment.


#4 – Further Interactivity

With the more streamlined and condensed design that a mobile app provides, many of the features will be seen as more interactive to the users and convince them to use your app more often.


Part of this comes from the greater convenience apps provide. It will take less than a minute for someone to search and download your app from the App Store or Play Store for iOS and Android users respectively. This will allow them to download and use your app to shop at any time and make your business all the more popular.


#5 – Increased customer loyalty

Having a lot of potential customers isn’t going to matter if they abandon their purchase at the cart. According to reports from Baymard, cart abandonment rates on most websites are around 68%. On apps, however, the rate is as low as 28%.


Along with design differences, you can focus on several aspects to help increase customer loyalty. For example, your app including rewards for customers such as discounts will help make a customer far more willing to use your services. Some of the most common reward methods used by successful e-commerce businesses include:


  • Scratch and Win
  • Coupons
  • Transactional Tiered Rewards
  • Referral Rewards
  • VIP Luxuries
  • Digital Stamp Cards
  • Spin to Win




The ability apps have to easily send notifications, telling customers about the latest offers or discounts. Referring to users by name has been found to attract more customers due to the personalisation it provides. The most recent statistics showed that notifications caused 38% of users to return ten or more times to an app.

Along with the personalisation, notifications also have the advantage over traditional emails of popping up straight away, whereas emails may get lost under many more or may be incorrectly detected as spam.


Statista has also estimated that by 2020, mobile apps will generate $188.9 billion in revenue. They also reported from their studies that smartphone users usually prefer using apps over websites



  • Apps provide many benefits, which we’re going to list some of below:
  • More shopping convenience for customers
  • Expansion of the brand
  • Acts as a customer-friendly experience
  • Additional experience through using exclusive mobile features
  • Can be designed freely, rather than being limited by browsers
  • Easy and secure payment methods through mobile biometrics
  • Cater to the customer’s experience to make shopping fun
  • More responsive and interactive than websites


This user-friendly approach in e-commerce has led to the system becoming far more popular, with many now loving the advantages an app provides such as instant access, simplistic usage and the obvious time-saving it provides.

Need help getting into e-commerce?

We can help! We can turn your store into an online store using Sage Pay. After filling out a short quote request, we can integrate your company over to Sage, install fraud prevention measures and screening tools, and provide you with analytical tools to see your company’s growth first-hand. As well as this, we can provide 24/7 support, just in case anything goes wrong.


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The Guide to Growing Your Online Store

So, you’ve started up your e-commerce business, and it’s going okay, but you need the help to expand it into something bigger. Because of this, we’ll assume you know the basics of e-commerce, and if not, please see our “How to thrive in the e-commerce market” or “Getting a trusted online store” guides.

Many companies have applied complex strategies for years to stay ahead of the competition, or to even catch up to the competition. There are, however, four main objectives that you can follow to pick up some traction.


Tip #1 – Email Marketing Is King

So, you’ve got your plan of where to source your traffic from, and the ads are running. Email marketing is a great way to broaden your horizons and generate leads from elsewhere.

It’s incredible how quickly you can reach a large number of people in your target market with this method. With many other online and digital marketing strategies (including those highlighted later), and especially organic, it takes time to reach large amounts of people. With an email, you can quickly get your message in front of a huge group and fast.


Whether it’s a monthly newsletter or a promotional offer, grabbing a customer’s attention through email is a key strategy for many companies. This helps retain the customers you do have, and provides incentive for new ones.

Mailchimp is an example of a site that can also let you track clicks and judge how good your email is at getting attention. You can also craft a mailing list and segment the audience into different subgroups, which makes the job progressively easier for you, as you can contact your audience directly with deals and other ways to get them to return.


Tip #2 – Optimise, Optimise, Optimise.

When the customers are coming in, you need to focus on optimising your store- and never stop focusing on this. In the world of e-commerce, optimising is the same as evolving to survive.

By looking into your customers’ spending habits, it will become easier to figure out what they like and dislike, whilst seeing if these habits change over time. With this, it’ll be a lot easier to make educated guesses on anything from how much stock you need on certain items, to which web pages you may need to edit.


Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is incredibly important. With all this newfound traffic gained from tips #1 and #2, guiding customers to buy is the next step you have to take. Make sure the site is easy to navigate, put best sellers near the top and have web design and copy that catches the eye.


There are programs like Fullstory and Hotjar, which can pinpoint the exact moment a customer left your site. This is useful for weeding out bugs and glitches, or even just giving you hints on which pages might be in need of some changes. This should improve your conversion rate.


Tip #3 – Get Different Traffic!

Investing in a good idea can be a good thing, but remember to never put all your eggs in one basket. Many companies right now receive their traffic from multiple sources, Facebook and Google being the most common ones.

There’s always a chance of an algorithm change that dries up your business, or a rejected ad that throws a spanner in the works, so it’s always nice to have numerous ways to bring in traffic.

Make your traffic sources varied and diverse. Some key places to focus on would include the usual social media giants, Google paid search and any sites where your target audience may be. If you’re where the buyers are, people will buy.

If you have a defined target audience, this is easier. You’ll be paying less on ads and getting more relevant leads- and there’s always Facebook groups or chatrooms in your niche which are free!


Tip #4 Get Different Products!

Similar to your sources, you can’t rely fully on selling one product. There are brands that have made a lot from selling one thing, but they all branch out eventually. This opens the opportunity for a more varied market, and the chance to build a loyal customer base that returns for more.

The 80-20 rule in business supports this. In many cases, 80% of your profits come from 20% of customers, This shows that it’s very important to have more for those to choose from, as customer retention is important. If you own a clothing store that sells one shirt, and someone loves it, there’s a missed opportunity for that person to buy another shirt and a pair of jeans too, and come back for more at a later date.


Need help getting into e-commerce?

We can help! We can turn your store into an online store using Sage Pay. After filling out a short quote request, we can integrate your company over to Sage, install fraud prevention measures and screening tools, and provide you with analytical tools to see your company’s growth first-hand. As well as this, we can provide 24/7 support, just in case anything goes wrong.


Visit http://cheaperpay.me/taking-payments-online/ for more info!

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PayPal’s Schulman Not A Bitcoin Fan

Digital payment company PayPal is not betting on bitcoin as of now. In an interview with TheStreet.com, PayPal chief executive officer Dan Schulman said that while PayPal is focused on innovating in the payment market, it’s not focused specifically on the digital currency.

“I think right now, and we’re seeing this maybe more than ever, the volatility of the cryptocurrency makes it actually unsuitable to be a real currency that retailers can accept,” Schulman said in the interview. “[That’s] because retailers have very narrow margins, and when you have a bitcoin bouncing up and down by 15 percent over a couple weeks period, that can be the difference between profits and losing money on every sale.”

While Schulman is skeptical about bitcoin, he did says blockchain technology is a “real breakthrough” for any technologies that are founded on distributed trust. PayPal has a lot of room to innovate with blockchain technology.

“I think you need to separate out the bitcoin or cryptocurrencies as currencies and the underlying protocol called blockchain,” he said.

The executive also noted that blockchain isn’t being viewed as a competition to PayPal or to other financial services firms, but rather as a technology that enabled innovation to be created on top of it.

Schulman’s comments come at a time when bitcoin is garnering a lot of attention on the part of investors, something that has sent its value skyrocketing. The cryptocurrency began 2017 at approximately $1,000 per coin and was recently valued at $14,800 per coin.

The fact that the virtual currency is unregulated and extremely volatile has led regulators around the globe to warn about the risks associated with investing in bitcoin. China and South Korea have banned bitcoin exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs) altogether. Meanwhile, JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon called bitcoin a “fraud” last year and said he would fire any trader who traded in it.

Source: (Pymnts, 2018)

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SECURITY & FRAUD Consumers Want Biometrics – How Will Payments Respond?

With the holiday shopping season behind us, most shoppers can probably say with confidence that the worst part of the whole experience was trying to remember passwords for the eCommerce sites they shopped.

It’s not just the holiday season, either.

recent study by Visa showed that, unsurprisingly, consumers are ready to say goodbye and good riddance to passwords, both because of the friction they create when trying to remember them – and the inevitable stutter step that the “forgot password” prompt creates – and because in the aftermath of the Equifax breach, the public has never been more conscious of how far passwords fall short in preventing fraud and keeping their data secure.

“Everyone knows they have to move away from knowledge-based authentication,” said Mark Nelsen, Visa’s SVP of risk products and business intelligence. “It’s not sustainable.”

However, despite consumer and issuer enthusiasm for more secure authentication technology, industry movement around what consumers say they want instead – biometric authentication – has been slower to get off the ground than everyone would like. A lack of understanding of how to integrate and use this new technology within their financial institutions – and then what it will take in terms of cost and manpower to implement it – may be to blame, Nelsen said.

In a recent interview with Karen Webster, Nelsen explained where he’s starting to see momentum building – and how he views Visa’s role in helping issuers accelerate the journey to deploying a technology that all players across the payments ecosystem, especially consumers, are ready to embrace.

Getting Comfortable With Biometrics

Nelsen acknowledged that issuers and merchants have no higher priority than keeping consumer account credentials safe and in securing the transactions in which they are used. But knowing where to start, in the face of so many options for securing customer account data, can be complicated. So too, Nelsen said, is knowing how to align point fraud solutions at an issuer who now sees the value of taking a holistic – and enterprise-grade – approach to delivering a great consumer experience across all touchpoints with the bank: the retail bank, online and mobile channels, and payments.

As attractive as the prospect of having a single, enterprise-scale authentication platform can seem to an issuer, Nelsen said that it also becomes a little bit like boiling the ocean: “It’s a good long-term vision, but hard to get off the ground in practice.”

It was one of the big drivers, Nelsen said, behind the development of Visa ID Intelligence. Nelsen said that ID Intelligence is an ecosystem of authentication solutions to which issuers connect via a single API. Not only does ID Intelligence make a portfolio of vetted solution providers available to issuers, Nelsen said, it streamlines the integration of those solutions within the issuer’s environment. Solution providers assume the burden of integrating with Visa’s ID Intelligence API, enabling issuers to do a single integration. That, Nelsen said, makes the notion of a holistic and enterprise-grade authentication solution across all issuer touchpoints a little less daunting.

And more suitable to getting pilots off the ground, so that issuers can start to experiment with how to use biometrics in a way that adds value for their customers and their institutions.

Greasing The Gears

According to Nelsen, one of the areas in which he’s seen issuers express growing interest in getting biometric authentication pilots off the ground is account origination.

When you look at the stats, it’s not hard to see why.

Over the last four years, Nelsen said there’s been an enormous increase in credit applications – a healthy portion of which are from fraudsters who’ve stolen legitimate credentials and have attempted to use them to open new accounts. Banks now recognize that the best way to combat new account fraud is to put knowledge-based authentication in their rearview mirror, in favor of using tools like identity documents and device data to help determine whether an identity is legitimate, stolen or synthetic.

Value Proposition

Three years ago, said Nelsen, the payments world wasn’t ready for biometric authentication. Now, consumers are used to – and comfortable with – such biometric authentication as Touch ID, and even Selfie Pay – and  are impatiently waiting for the payments ecosystem to provide an authentication solution that makes passwords a relic of payments authentication history.

It’s a nudge that Nelsen said has become a call to action for issuers to do more to protect consumer data.

“Authentication and protecting consumer data is at the level it needs to be across the entire bank,” said Nelsen.

Like most things in payments, change on this scale can’t and won’t happen overnight, but the wheels of progress are starting to turn. Nelson said that’s why Visa felt it was so important to make it easy for issuers and merchants to quickly connect their systems to proven authentication technologies using Visa ID Intelligence. It’s one way, he said, to give them a running head start on keeping customer data secure, while simplifying the process of giving consumers the authentication methods they want.


Source: (Pymnts, 2018)

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BITCOIN A Cryptocurrency With “No Purpose” Has Raised $700M

According to The Wall Street Journal, this is the largest initial coin offering to date, with block.one’s market value now at around $4.5 billion. The sale of the token, called EOS, has benefited from a boom in ICOs – overall, 165 firms have raised more than $4 billion in 2017 through coin offerings.

Launched in late 2016 and registered in the Cayman Islands, block.one is a software company that writes code for its main project: a bitcoin-like operating platform that hosts any variety of applications.

EOS is the idea of Brendan Blumer, a 31-year-old internet entrepreneur in Hong Kong, and programmer Dan Larimer. Brock Pierce, a prominent bitcoin investor, is a minority partner and adviser.

Block.one is planning a full rollout of the software next June, which Pierce recently predicted would be “like Windows launching, but much bigger.”

But unlike Microsoft, block.one plans to only write the initial code for EOS and then release it publicly. Instead of building or developing the platform itself, the task will be left to unrelated third parties. As a result, the EOS tokens have no relationship to the software. In fact, a purchase agreement that investors must sign states the tokens “do not have any rights, uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features.”

Despite the reveal that the tokens have no real purpose, investors have been eagerly bidding for them. Investors in many countries, excluding the U.S. and China, can participate in a daily auction where block.one sells two million new tokens to investors.

Mosala Sehloho, a 32-year-old media producer in Johannesburg, said he understands the EOS tokens made no contractual promises, but he thinks the $10,000 worth of tokens he bought will rise in value. “I’d buy more” if the price dropped enough, he said. “This will be the technology that will be the best of its kind.”

And Matthew Roszak, one of block.one’s early investors, isn’t worried about the tokens. “I don’t think it’s fair reading into that language too tightly,” he said. Given the “regulatory environment is as clear as mud,” he said block.one needed to write something to provide the broadest protection possible.

Block.one’s EOS deal is now about three times as large as the next biggest coin offering. It plans to keep raising money until next June, and is on pace to raise “well north of” $1 billion, according to Pierce.

The company will use that revenue to invest in companies that could develop the EOS code into products.


Source: (Pymnts, 2017)

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Payments Testing One, Two, Three

Modern consumers have high expectations for technology. If something doesn’t work perfectly, they’re quick to grow frustrated and abandon it as junk.

“Our generation is a little bit spoiled,” said Bart van Hoek, head of Innovations with UL Transaction Security — and he said that is all the more true with payments tech.

Imagine going out for breakfast only to find that the point-of-sale (POS) terminal isn’t working. Without it, how will you pay for your meal? Maybe you happen to be carrying cash that day, but even if you’re able to hand over a crisp $20 bill to cover the cost, the experience has certainly created friction.

Online, there’s no cash to fall back on. If the payment doesn’t work the first time, said van Hoek, that sale is as good as lost. Nobody wants to see a box that says the website is experiencing technical difficulties; please try again later. The customer likely won’t even remember to try again later, and if he does, he may not return to the same site. Most shoppers just give up on the faulty site and head to a competitor to complete the purchase instead.

Perfection, however, is not easy to achieve in any singular product. In payments, there are hundreds of players involved in making every single transaction work smoothly, from acquirers and banks to regulators setting standards that must be met to, of course, the payments processor.

The point-of-sale terminal at Walgreens or Kroger must work with a credit card from Chase, a mobile payment, a foreign debit card and more. How can the company that produces the terminal ever be sure it can do all that?

Trial and error, said van Hoek. But not with real consumers or real transactions. That is where payments testing comes in. In a recent interview, van Hoek told PYMNTS how this quality assurance process works for payment technology companies, how that’s changed over the years and why this stage of product development is so important.


An Investment in Reputation

User experience is more than a buzzword, van Hoek said. Every tap on a mobile device, every imaginable payment method — all of it is about creating the most seamless and smooth user experience possible, devoid of any bugs or errors.

Testing lets the developer see how the product will perform for every customer in every situation and shows whether the software is logical and intuitive or needs to be smoothed over.

When developers invest in payments testing, they aren’t just ensuring that their product does what it’s supposed to do, said van Hoek. They’re investing in their reputation. Building a good reputation is hard. Destroying it is easy — all it takes is one bad product. Earning back consumers’ trust is more difficult the second time around.

With the speed of innovation today, it may feel like a race to get products to market, but the last thing any developer wants is to go to market only to watch the product fall apart in the real world. Between the expense of fixing it and the business lost due to damaged reputation, “Those are costs you don’t want to bear,” said van Hoek.



To achieve the highest level of product quality, the product must be subjected to a high level of testing, and that requires a lot of repetitive actions and test cases. The number of repetitive actions will only increase as new payment methods and infrastructure are introduced and must also be tested.

That’s why payments testing is often seen as a chore. But, said van Hoek, it doesn’t have to be. Today, there are tools on the market to help manage some of those repetitive tasks, freeing up human testers from pressing buttons all day to make better use of their time.

Van Hoek said that manual testing can be extremely labor-intensive and time-consuming in some cases. But that doesn’t necessarily mean artificial intelligence (AI) has to be a part of the answer, he said. It simply means that any pieces of the process that can be automated should be.

Which pieces? That’s a decision that only the company can make. Van Hoek said that, due to the complexity of some test cases, automation is not always cost-efficient, either. Individual organizations must decide what is the best combination of manual and automated testing to optimize their processes.

At UL Transaction Security, customers can submit their hardware to undergo a barrage of different uses and scenarios in UL’s test labs, and van Hoek said the company is always looking to automate even more of the process as new technologies become available. The key client problem that UL helps to address is reducing time to market by eliminating the complexity that companies are facing with new technologies and regulations flooding the market.


Divide and Conquer

In the old days, said van Hoek, testing used to be done on final products at the end of the development cycle. But today, payments testers, like UL, subject the product to smaller tests along the way. By breaking the project into manageable chunks, UL is able to be more thorough in its testing and can identify problems before the rest of the product gets built around them.

Van Hoek said that can save a lot of time and money throughout the development process, as it enables development teams to address issues as they go along rather than having to tear down and rebuild a final product that doesn’t work right.

The thinking around testing must change, he argued. It’s more about quality assurance, though testing is just one piece of a larger quality assurance process that includes identifying, anticipating, managing and resolving issues across the product, while testing focuses specifically on finding and eliminating bugs.

As development processes have become more agile, van Hoek said that testing processes throughout the lifecycle must also increase their agility.


Growth Ahead

Again, the number of payment methods out there — and the infrastructure that goes with each one — is only going to increase. There are many players trying to disrupt the industry, but people aren’t abandoning cash and credit cards to pay with their smartphones; it’s not “either/or” but “both/and.”

Cryptocurrencies are another growing method in the payments industry, and the price of bitcoin (currently around $11,000) reveals just how popular it is among its fans. Eventually, at least some consumers are going to want to spend that digital currency in real-world brick-and-mortar stores.

Money is money, and merchants want to be ready to accept whatever form of it customers want to hand them. Doing that will require new technology and new components, or new use cases for old components, van Hoek explained — all of which will need to be tested and validated before rolling out to merchants and the public — for their own good and for the good of the brand.

Source: (Pymnts, 2017)

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Google Predicts AI Will Be An Issue For Regulators

“It’s going to be a big issue,” Geoffrey Hinton said at a Reuters Newsmaker event in Toronto on Monday (Dec. 4).

Hinton should know: He led a group of scientists at the University of Toronto who developed some of the key algorithms that neural networks (programs that mimic the way humans learn to perform complex tasks) use to crunch massive quantities of data and train themselves to identify patterns to mimic the way the human brain would perform tasks, such as driving a car, analyzing potential financial trades or using medical images to diagnose diseases.

Those advances enabled Google to add voice recognition to Android mobile devices, and researchers also used it to cut error rates in optical recognition compared with earlier technology, said the Google executive.

And since neural networks teach themselves to perform complex operations, it is impossible for their developers to tell government regulators exactly how those systems work.

“All you need is lots and lots of data and lots of information about what the right answer is, and you’ll be able to train a big neural net to do what you want,” he said.

Hinton believes that deep learning is close to revolutionizing the way certain diseases are treated, including making more accurate diagnoses. In fact, he expects mobile apps to be created that use neural networks to examine images of skin lesions, advising users when to see a doctor for a possible biopsy.

“We’d like to make medicine better,” Hinton said.


Source: (Pymnts, 2017)

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Paytm Says On Track To Be World’s Biggest Digital Bank

In an interview with Bloomberg published Tuesday (Nov. 28), Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma said the company is aiming to have 500 million bank accounts.

“We are unveiling our money market fund, launching our debit card and we’ll have the capabilities to allow enterprises to open business accounts,” Sharma said. “Digital payments was our entry point, we want to become a vertically-integrated financial services company.”

While Paytm Payments Bank can accept deposits and remittances, it cannot lend money to its customers. The bank will be the country’s first mobile-only bank that does not charge fees for online transactions and will not require a minimum balance. The bank is majority owned by Sharma, but telecommunications firm One97 Communications has a 49 percent stake. According to Sharma, the company can get around regulatory obstacles to offer lending by working in partnership with One97, which will launch a credit card and offer monthly installment-based loans.

“We will launch share trading and insurance products very soon,” he added. “We want to become an nternet-agei financial services company.”

Sharma explained his company is leveling the playfield. The banking system has traditionally been skewed heavily toward those with money, while the less wealthy people of India have had a tough time paying their bills or transferring money to family members.

“Buying insurance and investing through our wealth management products will become widely accessible through the payments bank,” he said.

Paytm Payments Bank is an offshoot of digital money service Paytm, an electronic payment firm which recently obtained a permit to create a payments bank and provide financial services to those underserved by the Indian financial services industry.


Source: (Pymnts, 2017)

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Tech note, everyone – wearable technology is on the move!

We have often associated wearable technology with the fitness industry. Companies such as FitBit have produced spectacular results in this field, harnessing the ability to track and manage anything from distance run to calories burned over a certain period of time.
However, wearable tech is now leaving the wellbeing scene behind and advancing on to a period of world domination.
Advanced wearable biometrics can be used as a form of authentication for a number of things.
NEC corporation has recently adopted the software to identify people placed on ear readings – something previously unprecedented in the industry.
“The system enables biometric authentication via the otoacoustic emission, a sound made by the inner ear when the cochlea is stimulated, arising from the vibration of hair cells,” reports mobileidworld.
“According to a statement from NEC, its earbud device’s “otoacoustic authentication technology… recognizes the characteristics of a user’s ear”, suggesting that the emission is used to map the shape of the inner ear, which is presumably unique to the individual.”
The advancement of contactless, wearable technology is a clear indication of the continued progress of our industry.
The technical possibilities are endless – and NEC confirms this with future plans to commercialise the technology soon.
NEC plans to offer “services that combine individual authentication, indoor positioning, acoustic AR (augmented reality), vital sensing and other technologies”, according to NEC Business Development Division General Manager Tomonori Kumagai.
The contactless revolution has only just begun – don’t get left behind.