The shift to digital commerce has provided consumers with a greater array of services at their fingertips and customers now expect seamless, quality online shopping experiences. Peter George, Managing Director, Amazon Payment Services, highlights how the payment services industry has transformed, why merchants need to keep a close eye on customer experience and how Amazon Payment Services champions the provision of secure, seamless and convenient services for end users.
How has the payment services industry transformed and what has caused that transformation?
The overarching shift in the payment services industry over the past several years has been the rise of digital payments, which is being propelled by consumer demand, government strategies and innovation in the FinTech and electronic payments sectors.
Digital payment adoption was already on an upward trajectory in the Middle East prior to 2020 and was further accelerated by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Customers in the Middle East have a strong appetite for digital payments, recognising the convenience, security and speed provided.
In particular, the digital payments sphere in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a highly dynamic and thriving space, partly driven by government strategies designed to promote the growth of the local digital economy.
We are seeing several FinTech start-ups innovate in the digital payments sphere to eliminate customer pain points and make cashless payments available to more people.
We were very proud to launch the Amazon Fintech Lab in the DIFC Innovation Hub in Dubai earlier this year, providing a forum for important discussions on digital payments and the future of the FinTech industry.
How has this transformation impacted customer expectations in terms of customer experience and providing robust security?
Digital payments have unlocked new horizons in terms of customer experience. Customers now expect secure, seamless and convenient purchase experiences, from the moment they open the merchant’s website until checkout and delivery.
A straightforward and seamless checkout experience is a deciding factor when people consider finalising their purchase and returning to you in the future. To achieve this, it is important that merchants eliminate any unnecessary steps in the process and streamline the customer’s journey as much as possible.
Merchants should implement easy access to the checkout page, with quick navigation to the basket review and confirmation stages. And for repeat customers, look for ways to minimise repeat information entry by securely storing customers’ details for the future.
Customers expect to be able to pay through their preferred method, which has made it important for merchants to enable a variety of payment methods based on their customers’ needs, while robust security is also another must for online shoppers.
How do merchants need to respond to keep pace with these changing expectations?
The key is to adopt a customer-obsessed approach. This means placing an absolute focus on creating a better customer experience, where customer needs are at the centre of everything you do. Under this approach, all decisions and processes stem from the needs and desires of the customer.
Customer-obsessed companies gather feedback from customers not to see how well they’re performing, but rather to see where their business should be going.
By focusing on the customer’s needs, businesses can identify potential pain points and work backwards to eliminate them.
We built Amazon Payment Services based on the customer-obsessed philosophy, using our deep understanding of businesses’ needs across the region to empower organisations with simple, affordable and trusted online payment experiences.
How can merchants and businesses best manage risk and establish trust with their end users?
When you move away from physical to digital commerce, transactions become faceless. The side effect of this is the rise of fraudulent and bad actors.
Data security incidents are disastrous for the customer’s trust in a merchant or a business.
According to a study by PYMNTS and NuData, 65% of e-commerce shoppers would abandon a merchant after a single data breach, making it imperative for merchants to effectively manage and minimise fraud by following a risk-based approach that caters to the unique risks faced by each business vertical.
First, they should have robust fraud-prevention solutions in place. This could mean stricter monitoring of all online transactions as well as implementing security protocols to assist with authentication and personal data storage.
Merchants should opt to use third-party real-time fraud prevention solutions that utilise Machine Learning to track behavioural patterns of customers to signal high risk transactions to an internal team.
Additionally, they can safeguard their customers’ payment activities with the help of a dedicated fraud management team and use finely tuned and fully scalable security features to offer their customers added protection for all their payments.
Maintaining round-the-clock vigilance with advanced fraud detection systems is key to ensuring that transactions are seamless, safe and secure, and that any issues are resolved swiftly to the customer’s satisfaction.
At Amazon Payment Services, we protect our merchants and their customers using sophisticated anti-fraud measures that automatically evaluate transactions in real-time to detect fraudulent behaviour.
How does access to business insights provide a competitive edge and retain customers?
Having access to business insights enables merchants to understand their customers and their purchasing behaviour on a deeper level. Combined with a customer-obsessed approach, this knowledge enables merchants to optimise their payment process to meet the needs and wants of customers and address their concerns, as well as segment their audience of online shoppers for more effective targeting.
The right data will empower merchants to confidently build strategies to achieve their core business objectives and tailor their approach to meet customers’ evolving needs and retain them over the long run.
Data and insights about the online payment industry can also be leveraged by merchants to increase sales.
To help merchants dig deeper into the trends and markets that matter to them, Amazon Payment Services provides cutting-edge consumer payments insights covering the UAE, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Egypt free-of-charge, helping merchants make better, more data-driven decisions for their business.
Which payment services should businesses consider as part of their long-term strategy?
Businesses should carefully select payment solutions based on their unique needs, goals and risks, while focusing on the customers’ needs in the decision-making process.
Amazon Payment Services offers a wide array of payment services and solutions that provide a seamless customer experience, including tokenisation technology, local payment methods, third party services such as advanced fraud tools and AWS Private Link, instalments, Buy Now, Pay Later, digital wallets, gateway redundancy and reporting APIs.
Regardless of the specific payment technology, businesses must invest in robust fraud-prevention solutions to secure the payment process. One of the most important pieces in the payment security puzzle is 3D (three-domain) Secure authentication.
Comprehensive support for 3D Secure is one of a multitude of services and solutions from Amazon Payment Services that enable a safer online shopping experience for your customers.
Why is scalability so important for organisations today and how does Amazon Payment Services enable this through its solutions?
Scalability is crucial for e-commerce businesses, as websites need to be able to withstand spikes in traffic. If a customer sees that a merchant’s website is down, they will simply move on to a competitor.
Merchants have the challenge of scaling to meet company growth and periods of peak order volume, preventing friction for the customer, reducing chargeback and fraud losses, minimising false declines and keeping the cost of fraud prevention itself down to a reasonable level.
Amazon Payment Services enables merchants to reach out to millions of customers with fully scalable payment solutions. By working with thousands of merchants at every scale, based on their feedback, we completely revamped the onboarding process to empower them to create their own payment experience that will allow them to select the services that fit their customers’ needs.
Today, we process transactions for thousands of businesses across multiple industries. With such a diverse customer base, we have built strong expertise that supports businesses at every scale, from SMEs looking to establish their online presence to large-scale enterprises requiring a dependable payment service to handle high volumes of transactions safely.
How does Amazon Payment Services set itself apart from others in this market and why should businesses consider you as a strategic partner?
Established as PAYFORT in 2013 as one of the first FinTech companies in the region, we have gained a deep understanding of businesses’ needs across the region. In 2017, Amazon acquired PAYFORT as part of the Souq Group acquisition. Since then, the focus has been on integrating PAYFORT and Amazon offerings to provide businesses with a convenient and trusted service.
Amazon Payment Services is now well-established, with more than 4,000 merchants across MENA and over 2,000 in the UAE, and is already one of the most trusted digital payment service providers in the region, having securely processed millions of transactions to date.
Today, we bring together local know-how and Amazon’s global expertise, something we believe is a significant benefit to both businesses and merchants, and ultimately customers across the MENA region.Click below to share this article