The COVID-19 pandemic began to impact the US in March. Around the same time, Forrester Consulting engaged in several Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) studies focused on payment solutions for merchants. From this work, we have collected several insights for merchants looking to build a business case to estimate the value of adding a new payment option for shoppers — which is especially important in the context of today’s e-commerce market.
Unsurprisingly, e-commerce is key in today’s business environment, amid social distancing and self-quarantine. Forrester’s research shows that online shopping is up: In the US, 19% of consumer respondents reported using a digital payment for the first time. Other first-time behaviors, such as ordering online grocery deliveries and curbside pickup, also increased.¹
These new behaviors aren’t going away. Consumer respondents in the US say they intend to continue their new online habits:²
- 35% say they’ll likely continue to use curbside pickup.
- 38% will likely continue to order restaurant delivery online.
- 36% will likely continue to purchase groceries online.
- 45% will likely continue to use online shopping sites.
Here are some key benefit and cost factors we’ve seen consistently in our interviews with merchants. You can include some or all of these in your own business case analysis:
- New payment options can bring in new customers. A new payment offering can bring new customers, with revenue lift reported in the low single digits; while that may not seem large, in the context of total e-commerce business, that is significant. Some consumers prefer a specific payment app; others appreciate pay-over-time options. Some payment options are more easily available worldwide, which can increase access to regional markets. And these new customers making purchases can add new revenue and margin for you.
- Average order values (AOVs) may be higher. With new payment types that come with extra conveniences or credit options, customers may spend more; average order values for merchants that added new credit or specialty payment types more than doubled. Highlighting payment flexibility and credit options (especially 0% or low-interest offers) can drive larger sales, a benefit you can measure as the net revenue or margin increase from higher AOVs.
- Fraud may decrease. Some payment options include added features or capabilities that are meant to reduce fraud. If that applies to your business case, you might consider reduced costs from fewer chargebacks or more revenue from increased approvals.
- Cart abandonment may decrease. Customers may find it easier to complete a transaction with a preferred payment type or offer, leading to additional revenue from more sales.
- Omnichannel use cases may be impacted. Online sales may lead to store or curbside pickup; reduced fraud and cart abandonment can reduce logistical costs.
- You may also want to consider nonfinancial KPIs like how shopping cart abandonment and customer satisfaction rates might be improved with added convenience or by reducing operational processes with streamlined systems or other payment service features.
- And you can measure the net difference in transaction costs. The cost of transaction fees for a new payment solution may be higher than other payment types, but not as high as you think. You pay the fee for the new payment service, but if the customer would have made the same purchase with another payment option (like a credit card), you can subtract that original fee. Consider instead the net difference in transaction costs for these sales.
While benefits and costs vary based on your own situation, as well as which payment you are considering, hopefully these highlights and suggested benefit and cost categories are helpful for your business case development as you decide on a strategy for payment options. Forrester Consulting’s TEI practice is also available to further build your business case at firstname.lastname@example.org.
¹ Forrester asked respondents, “Which of the following, if any, have you done for the first time as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?” Source: Forrester Analytics’ Consumer Technographics® COVID-19 Survey (Wave 1), 2020.
² Forrester asked respondents, “Thinking about the activities that you have started doing during the COVID-19 pandemic, please indicate how likely you are to continue doing the following once stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.” Percentages used above indicate those who selected “Likely.” Source: Forrester Analytics’ Consumer Technographics COVID-19 Survey (Wave 2), 2020.