Any e-commerce firm should want to make it as easy as possible for customers to pay them. This involves having a clear and simple payment process, secure yet not onerous and also the ability to pay in a number of different ways, making it as convenient as possible for the customer. This typically means offering PayPal, a number of credit and debit card options and perhaps the ability to pay in a different currency. But there is a new, virtual currency emerging – are you ready for Bitcoin?
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a virtual currency that dates back to 2009. Transactions and purchases are made with no middle men – there are no transaction fees and there is no need to give your name. Bitcoins are stored in a ‘digital wallet’ which exists either in the cloud or on a user’s computer and they can be transferred in much the same way as you would other digital funds.
Take-up has been slow but there are signs that is going to change and 2015 could be the year of Bitcoin. That’s why we are now allowing our retail customers to offer Bitcoin as a payment option to consumers on their websites and e-commerce channels.
The future of e-commerce?
Maybe, maybe not. We certainly don’t expect an immediate flood of Bitcoin payments, but do believe that Bitcoin will eventually become a significant currency. So it’s a question of being ready for when Bitcoin really takes off with consumers. There is a perception of it being risky from a security perspective, but at the same time, Bitcoin is rich with potential and cannot be dismissed as a fad.
The expected rise in use of Bitcoin, combined with online marketplaces becoming an accepted and mainstream destination for shoppers, meant that adding Bitcoin as a payment option was a natural step for us. We want our customers, irrespective of their model or strategy, to anticipate market trends and not have to react to them.
And surely that should be the same for any e-commerce firm? PayPal took its time to gain credibility and I remember many Brits (I’m from France) being unsure of chip and pin when it first emerged as an in-store payment. The point is, that if your customers want to pay in a certain way, you should do all that you can to allow them to do so. 2015 could be the year of Bitcoin – do you want to miss out?