PayPal’s one-touch, localised payment options go global

E-commerce in the US is synonymous with using credit or other payment cards, but the story outside the US is very different. A fragmented mix of options — such as cash on delivery, bank transfers, mobile phone accounts and more — are used in different combinations, depending on the country where an online sale is being made. Today, PayPal — the payments business with 250 million global active customer accounts — is making a move to try to address that problem, with the global launch of Checkout with Smart Payment Buttons, which lets merchants in different countries customise payment options and create instant buying buttons and OneTouch checkout, without having to integrate with a number of different payment services.

As has fast become the norm with payment solutions in today’s market, the feature can be added into a checkout process with a few lines of code, rather than a lengthy integration.

PayPal has already been offering the product for the last three months — ironically, in the US (where cards rule the day) — a period that helped the company lay the groundwork for the wider and more complex rollout that it’s undertaking now.

The options that it’s offering now include the range of PayPal’s own services — PayPal, Venmo (US only), PayPal Credit (UK and US only subject to approval) — plus iDEAL for customers in the Netherlands, Bancontact for people in Belgium, MyBank for customers in Italy, Giropay for customers in Germany and EPS for customers in Austria (PayPal previously already taken SEPA Direct Debit in Germany).

The company will be adding more country-specific payment methods in the future. Earlier this year, PayPal led a $50 million investment in a startup called PPRO that specialises in cross-border payments, and that strategic investment is now coming into its own. While the Smart Payment technology is built by PayPal, “we do work with multiple providers to enable the many various local payment methods,” said Bill Ready, PayPal’s EVP and COO.

Merchants already using the quicker checkout include Beyond Proper by Boston Proper, Guess?, Inc., and Zumiez. Magento and WooCommerce have also enabled the new checkout experience for customers.

“We are seeing significant adoption of our Smart Payment Buttons since we first announced them, from small business to some of the largest retailers in the world,” said Ready. “We’ve gotten positive feedback about the ability to dynamically enable all the various payment methods, and many businesses — including many large retailers — have been using Smart Payment Buttons to enable Venmo as a checkout option.”

One of the key problems with e-commerce is that it turns out there is a lot of window shoppers out there — or at least people who are more likely to look but often jump elsewhere or lose interest when it comes to going through the process of buying. One of the reasons for that is oftentimes there are too many hoops that people need to jump through to make a purchase. PayPal is one of many “wallets” on the market that makes the pitch to merchants (and customers) to use it as a way around that issue: PayPal keeps your main payment details on file, and requires a basic login to work. PayPal claims that merchants that use PayPal Checkout see 88.7 percent conversions (purchases), some 82 percent higher than those not using PayPal.

Alongside the new localised payment options, PayPal is also expanding its marketing solutions globally, too: PayPal has been gradually expanding the services that it offers to merchants on its platform, to give them a more end-to-end suite of services. This has included making acquisitions like Swift Financial in 2017 for financial services; and today, adding in more marketing solutions such as sales analytics and sales incentives to help persuade prospective customers to buy during and after browsing.