How to prioritise payment strategy to enable growth

by Ben Popplestone
13 March 2018
How to prioritise payment strategy to enable growth
Head of Netstarter, Ben Popplestone outlines his key takeaways from his session at Magento Live 2018 where the panel discussed winning eCommerce payment strategies.

The world of eCommerce descended on Sydney’s Hilton on 22-23 February 2018 to hear about the latest tools and tips presented by industry leaders, sponsors, and Magento executives.

Payment platforms were a key topic for discussion. In fact, the opening session discussed exactly that: More than “Getting Paid” – Prioritizing Payment Strategy to Enable Growth, and was sponsored by PayPal.

I joined the following eCommerce experts on the panel:

  • Andrew Waite, Managing Director, Convert Digital Pty Ltd
  • Charles Hunter, Consultant, Tribal Concepts
  • Andy Barker, Head of Payments, Magento Commerce
  • Peter Ratcliffe, Head of Digital, RAG

In this blog, I will outline my key takeaways from the session.

Understand how your customers shop

According to our own Salmat Marketing Report 2018, 44% of in-store shoppers use mobile to inform their purchases. Think about how you shop.

Customer expectation today is that you can:

  • Research across multiple channels
  • Purchase on multiple channels
  • Be served across multiple channels

So how does that affect payment channels? Retail Apparel Group’s Head of Digital Peter Ratcliffe spoke on the subject in our session. Retail Apparel Group is home to leading Aussie retail brands, Tarocash, yd., Connor, Johnny Bigg and Rockwear. 

RAG undertook a survey of their customers to understand how they shop online.

They learnt:

  • Demographic skewed towards the older female
  • Customers were nervous to shop online
  • Customers made recurring purchases online
  • Paypal was a known and trusted brand
  • 70% of checkout share is Paypal (compared to industry average of 5-18%)

And, most importantly, more than 85% of emails opened on mobile so taking a mobile-first strategy was a must.

So what did RAG do?

It created a frictionless mobile experience to convert from email (with a responsive website); used tokenisation using Braintree to facilitate repeat orders (customer details securely saved in system); and, it introduced Afterpay, which now accounts for 30% of all transactions for one of its brands.

But what about retailers that have both online and offline channels? One thing we have learnt from SMR is that shoppers still like to shop in-store.

SMR: shopping in store vs online – what consumers prefer:

  • 49% of consumers prefer to buy in store
  • 32% of consumers prefer to shop online

However, the integration of offline and online channels is a hard nut to crack. While Click & Collect opens up the opportunity for shoppers to order online and pick up in store, this may not always be looked upon gladly by store managers.

The typical frenemy situation.

Store managers don’t want to use up stock on online orders, because they are not recognised for their contribution to the sale, hence creating an antagonistic relationship between the online and offline channels.

And what if the customer wants to return something they ordered online to store?

PayPal can pose a challenge for in-store refunds, and usually requires multiple forms of ID for the transaction to be completed – not favourable to the consumer or store manager.

But without Click & Collect, you lose the opportunity to cross-sell/up-sell. So how can you overcome this problem? In the session, I outlined my three-fold approach: People, Process, Technology.


Give your store associates the tools to place orders online on behalf of shoppers when items are out of stock through “the endless aisle”. Don’t let a shopper walk out the store empty handed.


Set up attribution modelling so stores are recognised for their contribution to a sale. Use store proximity to user/engagement with store when plotting attribution.


Help your customers and stores with real-time inventory visibility, consumer data and universal payment systems, with clear systems in place for refunds in store and online.

So how are payments changing in APAC?

The trend is to fit payment methods to your shopper demographics. The Deloitte Consumer Survey 2017 gives a nice snapshot of this:

"The number of Australians that browse online shopping sites on their mobiles has risen 14 percent in the past year, however online purchases have increased by 25 percent since 2016. The existing browsing community, who previously did not purchase, has been converted to smartphone online purchases, enabled by easier payment."


"18-24 year olds remain the primary adopters of biometric authorisation technologies at 50 percent, with Apple retaining their lead over their competitors."

Retailers must, therefore, understand the increasing usage of mobile and its impact on conversion.

Biometrics capabilities built into mobile devices are driving efficiency, security and increasing conversion. We are seeing that overseas customers are demanding these new channels as their preferred methods.

In China, for example, AliPay and WeChat account for more than 10% of GDP so it makes sense to offer these methods if you are expanding into the Chinese market. 

We advise that you review which device is most used to access your site, and where your customers are located, when choosing which payment channels to prioritise for your customers.

Consider the digital wallet, ApplePay, for example. The wallet can be used to make payments in store, online and in app. On the iPhone, payments are confirmed using thumbprint or facial recognition.


The rise of wallets is something to keep an eye on as digital wallets equal frictionless mobile transactions.

And, finally, the obligatory question about Amazon coming to Australia ...

There’s going to be a cultural shift for Australian shoppers, particularly with the introduction of Amazon Prime. Consumers will increase their expectations around the range of products and standard of delivery on offer.

This is going to raise the bar for pureplay players

In the meantime, it poses a great opportunity for Aussie retailers to make the most of your omnichannel proposition – something Amazon can’t do here ... yet.

Find out more about Netstarter’s eCommerce offering here or call us on 1300 725 628.

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About the author
Ben Popplestone
Head of Netstarter

As Head of Salmat’s digital agency Netstarter, Ben brings 17 years’ worth of experience with eCommerce solutions providers internationally and across multiple business functions. This includes working with a leading platform/services vendor followed by eCommerce agencies specialising in Magento. He has an in-depth understanding of eCommerce / omni-channel operations and business processes.

More articles by Ben Popplestone