Updated: Jul 5, 2021
E-commerce allows businesses to reach out to new audiences both in the domestic market and abroad. During 2020 many merchants small and big adopted e-commerce as a means of survival and soon enough found out that there are limitless opportunities, companies are no longer confined to the physical boundaries, and customers from all over the world can reach online shops and purchase goods. In the age of globalization people are more opened to the idea of purchasing products and services from the overseas vendors, however, the merchants have to go an extra mile to provide users with customized and localized shopping, checkout and payment experience. Merchant's website and shopping cart should feel native to the user, optimization of payment pages lowers cart abandonment rates and increases shopper's trust and overall satisfaction with the shopping experience. Customizing payment pages for various markets will include displaying the right currency, payment methods, language, price, and design so that they align with customers’ most likely preferences.
In this post I list five action items that any merchant should consider localizing their payment page.
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1. Translate your cashier and payment pages
The bare minimum is to ensure the checkout and the payment pages are translated to the language(s) of the country you are planning to expand to. Be sensitive of the shopper's language, decide whether you need to translate to traditional or simplified Chinese, Spanish from Spain or Spanish from Mexico etc’. It may be that you need both versions. Google translator is not an option when translation a payment page, it is best to ask for professional service. Make sure you translate not only the fields of the cashier pages and buttons but also the messages the user sees before and after the deposit, including any disclaimers such as recurring payment opt-in. Do not forget to translate the confirmation mail as well.
2. Collect and validate shopper's details correctly
Your cart and payment page may require shopper to fill in details such as address, bank account details, dates, courtesy titles etc. All these details change from country to country and can make or break the feel of local user experience. For example, in some country’s “zip” or “pin code” will be used rather than ‘postal code”. There are quite a lot of countries where the addresses are not as precise as in US or UK, and some users may need to input address without house/apartment number. The bank account format differs between EU, UK, or Canada, so the validation may differ. Make and effort to prevent the loss of shopper’s trust by paying attention to these details, defining mandatory and optional fields, naming the fields correctly, using address verification tools only if they can truly support the target market.
3. Display prices & process payments in local currencies
Displaying product prices in local currencies is a vital step to localizing the shopping cart. For many markets the display of prices in a foreign currency can lead to abandonment of the purchase due to shopper's hesitation before the payment. The only goal of your payment page is for the customer to complete the purchase without delay, do not make them go to a different browser tab to check out the exchange rate.
It is advisable to process the payment in the local currency. Discuss this option with your Payment Service Provider most of them support multi currency processing. If the processing in local currency is not available or is not a viable option for you at this moment make sure you show both local currency amount and actual processed amount on your confirmation email. In some countries payment processing in foreign currencies may incur hefty fees or added taxes for the card holder. It is advisable to research the processing fees and local regulation and be aware of them as you may get some customer complains.
4. Analyse local competition
Before entering new market, you are probably making research and checking out local competition. Do not forget to look at the payment pages on the direct and indirect competitor's sites. Pay attention to offered payment methods as well as additional financial tools such as buy now - pay later, instalments, instant loans, etc. That may be especially important if you process high value tickets. Even better, try to make a purchase to see the complete checkout flow and the confirmation email sent to the customer. You may find some substile differences between the countries, but when dealing with sensitive topic such as payments these small little differences can make a lot of difference
5. Accept Local Credit Brands and Local Payment Methods
In many countries international credit cards are widely acceptable and may users have one. However, in some markets local debit or prepaid cards are extremely popular and you can miss a lot of customers if you do not accept those. For example, in Brazil you should be able to process elo or hipercard, in Argentina caral and naranja cards are popular, in China you must process China Union Pay cards.
Credit cards are not always the preferred payment method in different countries around the world. For example, in some European countries, customers prefer real-time banking options such as Sofort (Klarna), Giropay in Germany and Ideal in Netherlands. In Japan, cash is the king, many shoppers prefer to pay for goods with Konbini vouchers even though many will have credit cards. In India cash-on-delivery (COD) method is one of the leading methods. For China Alipay and Wechatpay wallets must appear on the checkout page.
There are also the big global players such as Paypal, Googlepay, Applepay that became trusted payment options appearing on most cashier pages around the globe. An additional advantage of these players for merchants is that they are able to accept local card brands for processing, thus, increasing the chances for the successful payment.
Today, as the competition rises, customers expect optimized checkout experiences. Luckily, the technologies are in place to enable your business to meet these expectations. Make sure your ecommerce store is localized to make the checkout process as easy and hesitation-free as possible. The cashier pages should be just what the shopper expects them to be, nothing must disrupt the customer from finalizing the payment. If you are using hosted payment pages provided by your Payment Service Provider, check which level of customization they offer for various markets. In some cases, you will discover that you need to add an additional payment service provider to allow local payment method processing. Once you’ve optimized your payment pages and tailored them to your customer’s expectations you start to see higher stickiness among your international customers as well as better payment approval rates.