Eran Feinstein
Eran Feinstein 9 August 2017

How to Push Adoption of Digital Payments in Developing Markets

Even though the world has gotten smaller due to international trade and online commerce, there are still geographies to be tapped. Developing regions such as India and Africa, are perfect examples of huge potential markets that could hold much value to retailers.

Sub-Saharan Africa with its population base of 1 billion, and an emerging middle class population estimated at 300 million, represents a huge potential market for e-tailers. 

The region’s GDP is expected to grow 2.6% in 2017, and to increase to 3.2% in 2018, according to the World Bank.  The anticipated growth, combined with its currently young population, which will enter the workforce in the coming years, contribute to ADER’s (The African Development Bank) projections that consumer spending in Africa will reach $2.2 trillion in 2030.

Africa enjoys an 81% mobile subscription penetration level, and leads the world in mobile money adoption.  Africa accounted for more than half of the over 270 live money services in 93 countries, and for 64% of all active mobile money accounts, according to GSMA.  These levels of adoption, combined with the projected growth rates of such developing regions, create huge opportunities for retailers who are looking to move their sales online, or expand into additional markets.  However, in order to successfully penetrate developing markets, it is important to encourage potential customers to begin purchasing online, as well, and assure them of their security.

The following are a few key tips online merchants should use in order to push adoption of digital payments by consumers in developing countries.

1. Offer incentives for online purchases 

A common method that encourages online purchases is to offer special deals available only for those who complete online payments.  This is generally either a percent reduction on the total purchase, free shipping, or lower price levels than alternative purchase methods, such as CoD.  Research from Accenture has found that coupons and discounts would convince 54% of consumers to switch from cash to digital wallets. 

Research the different incentives commonly offered, and integrate those relevant to your offerings and business model.

2. Reward loyal customers

In order to encourage repeat sales, create loyalty programs that reward your customers for their continued patronage. In the Accenture study, 78% claimed they would increase mobile payment adoption if they received rewards points.  Whether special deals for loyalty program members, or a point system, which offers discounts on future purchases, these programs promote not only adoption of the desired payment method, but also repeat purchases from existing customers - a goal for any online commerce business.

3. Educate consumers on the benefits of online shopping

Create content that both addresses your target market’s security concerns, and highlights the benefits of online shopping.  These articles should include region specific security challenges, and an easy-to-understand explanation of how ecommerce is actually a very safe method for transactions when the proper steps are taken.  Additional benefits, such as convenience and time savings, should be addressed as well.  Post customer reviews which serve as proof of the advantages you offer by accepting digital payments, in ease of use and in heightened security.

4. Highlight the specific security measures of your ecommerce site

Once you have decided to accept digital payments on your ecommerce site, it is important to implement security measures, such as PCI DSS standards, which are required for credit card acceptance.  Sites that choose to use PSPs enjoy additional security, such as access to ongoing risk management and blacklists.  Highlight the steps you have taken to ensure your customer’s security, thereby increasing their level of trust in you and your site.  This can be done by including logos of your security service providers, such as your SSL provider and secure payment method provider.


Key Takeaways

  • Developing markets represent a potentially huge market opportunity
  • These regions have adopted mobile money technologies, but are still in their infancy in online retail.
  • The emerging young populations will drive ecommerce growth in these regions.
  • Merchants interested in pushing digital payment adoption in developing markets must address their customers’ concerns regarding payment and data security and educate their customers as to the benefits of online shopping.
  • Increased conversions can be achieved via incentives offered on online purchases and through loyalty programs.  While professional looking sites with trust icons encourage purchases.


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