Alternative payments

Increase average order value + conversion with alternative payments

If you’re a retailer, an online merchant, or someone in charge of increasing sales at your company, you’re probably constantly looking for new and innovative ways to increase your conversion rate and average order values.  

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If you’re tasked with increasing sales in a brick-and-mortar store, you might have strategically changed the way you shelve products. If your store is located online, you might have started offering free shipping or streamlined the online checkout experience.  

One strategy you might not have considered to help boost conversions and order values is accepting alternative payments 

What are alternative payments? 

An alternative payment refers to any payment method used as an alternative to credit cards and debit cards. Alternative payment methods include digital wallets, mobile payment apps, and funds transfer services. 

Here’s why offering these payment methods is so important.  

Accepting credit and debit isn’t enough 

The fact is accepting credit and debit cards isn’t enough anymore. Technology has increased the popularity of alternative payment methods by allowing consumers to leverage mobile phones, digital wallets, and online banking to pay for goods and services.  

And this should definitely be on your radar considering industry data predicts that half of all online transactions will be made with alternative payment methods by 2021. That’s a significant number you shouldn’t ignore if you want to boost customer spend and conversion rates.  

If you’re only allowing your customers to pay with credit and debit, whether online or in store, you’re probably losing out on sales. Alternative payments are the way of the future. Your customers expect to be able to pay with them, and offering them will help you sell more.  

Shopping behaviours have changed 

Accepting digital wallets, mobile payment apps, and other non-traditional payment options is becoming increasingly important for merchants today. Consumers’ shopping expectations are rapidly evolving, and people today expect the simplest, easiest, and most convenient payment experience you can deliver. 

And as shoppers become more tech savvy than ever before, more of them are expecting both brick-and-mortar and ecommerce stores to offer digitally advanced payment options that offer a more efficient payment process. 

This trend is already in full swing, and it’s not slowing down. In fact, according to Javelin Strategy & Research, over 80% of online consumers have used an alternative payment method to complete an online transaction in the last year.  

It’s imperative that you get on board--or risk getting left behind.  

What are some of the different types of alternative payments? 

There are more than 200 different alternative payments you can accept, including digital wallets, mobile payment apps, and funds transfer services. 

Digital wallets: 

Customers can leave their wallets at home and pay using their phones with these alternative payment options. Digital wallets use near-field communication (NFC) technology to allow customers to store their credit card information in, and complete transactions with, their smartphones. Digital wallets include: 

  • Apple Pay 
  • Google Pay 
  • Samsung Pay 

Online payment services: 

Mobile payment apps don’t just store your existing card information. Rather, they’re directly linked to your bank account and hold a balance.  

WeChat Pay 

WeChat Pay is a digital payment service incorporated into WeChat, a popular Chinese social media channel. WeChat Pay allows users to perform mobile payments and send money between contacts.  


Alipay is a China-based smartphone payment option similar to WeChat Pay and is currently the most used online payment service worldwide.  

If a significant portion of your customer base is Chinese, these two mobile payment apps are a must since they might be the only means for Chinese travellers to complete transactions from their China-based bank accounts. 


Most merchants are familiar with PayPal, which enables customers to streamline the purchasing experience by storing their financial data in a single online vault and allowing them to pay without sharing their credit card or bank data with merchants.  

Funds transfer services: 

These types of alternative payments enable customers to pay for purchases from their bank accounts. As online shopping grows, these types of payment methods are becoming increasingly popular. 

DirectDebit + directDebit Plus 

Similar to an electronic cheque, a payment option like directDebit and directDebit Plus allows customers to pay for purchases directly from their chequing accounts by entering the information found at the bottom of a cheque.  The biggest advantage of this payment method is that it eliminates the daily debit limits, so customers can quickly and conveniently make large purchases from their bank accounts. Plus, customers can save their payment information to make online transactions in a single click in the future.  

Interac Online 

You may be familiar with Interac Online, in which customers simply have to input their online banking credentials to make payments from their chequing or savings accounts.  

Interac e-Transfer Automation 

E-Transfers are very popular among Canadian consumers. Automating this process for retail speeds up the acceptance of payments. 

How accepting Apple Pay, Google Pay, Alipay, WeChat Pay, and other alternative payments boosts sales 

Customers expect to be able to pay with their preferred payment method. Meeting their expectations enables you to future-proof your business and ensure a seamless and convenient payment experience. The benefits don’t stop there, though. Accepting Apple Pay, Google Pay, Alipay, WeChat Pay, and other non-traditional payment methods can and will also boost sales and, ultimately, your bottom line.  

Recover declined card transactions 

Cards get declined for a variety of reasons, including incomplete or erroneous card entry and insufficient funds. There’s not much you can do to eliminate card decline issues. If a customer’s card is declined for whatever reason, you’ll likely lose the sale.


You give your customers other ways to pay for their purchases. If a customer’s card is declined, they can still move forward with the purchase using alternative payment methods like Interac Online, PayPal, or Alipay.  

Well, would you look at that. Suddenly, a lost sale becomes a new sale and a new customer. 

Attract global consumers 

In many countries, alternative payment methods are more popular than credit cards. Many merchants don’t realize that consumers in China have different payment preferences than those in the United States, and consumers in Europe prefer to pay in different ways than those in Canada. Credit cards, for example, are more common in North America, while Chinese consumers tend to prefer online and mobile payment services. In fact, only about 5% of all online payments in China are made with a credit card. On the other hand, Europeans tend to prefer online bank transfers.  

Familiarity = comfort. By offering a variety of different payment methods, you can attract a global audience by adding trust and familiarity to the payment process. You’re no longer limited by geography thanks to the internet, so why limit your customers’ payment choices? As a result of offering more choice, you’ll be able to attract more shoppers worldwide, regardless of their banking and credit habits (which is exactly how it should be). 

And when you do, you’ll be able to access new markets, and, suddenly, you’ll have a huge potential customer base.  

Encourage repeat customers 

Consumers want to be in control of their shopping experience. They want to shop and pay their way—not yours. If you empower them to pay in a way that fits their preferences, needs, and lifestyle, they’ll be sure to remember your brand the next time another buying need comes up. They’ll remember the choice, flexibility, and convenience you offered. Offering a customer-centric and customized experience is always a good way to encourage repeat customers.  

Create a safe buying experience for all 

With identity theft becoming a more common threat, people are becoming more and more concerned with keeping their information safe. Many people don’t feel comfortable inputting their credit card details online. By offering more ways to pay, you can ensure all customers feel comfortable and safe shopping at your store.  

Speed up the payment process 

Many shopping carts are abandoned at the last moment because of a slow and cumbersome payment experience. Having to fill in a lot of information to make a purchase is a drag, especially on a mobile phone. Offering payment methods like Interac Online and PayPal ensures a faster and streamlined payment experience at the checkout. This will help ensure more people convert.  

Make impulse purchases a snap 

A faster checkout process also creates a great opportunity to boost impulse purchases. When customers can complete a purchase in as little as one click or simply by entering a username and password, they’ll be more likely to follow through with those purchases they really want in the moment.  

Increase average order values 

Many non-traditional payment methods actually allow customers to buy now and pay later. In many cases, they can buy when the need hits and then transfer the amount owed within 14 days. That means customers don’t have to wait until payday to get all the items they want. They can upgrade to more expensive items or purchase more than the bare minimum without worrying about cash flow. A significant financial barrier is removed, which leads to more sales.  

Focus on the end game 

When it comes to increasing average order value and conversion rates, it can be tempting to focus on ways to get more customers into your store or on your website. But remember, the goal isn’t to get them through the door; it’s to get them to complete a purchase. That’s why it’s so important to focus on the end game—the payment experience. Alternative payments are an important driver in the ecommerce and in-store buying experience today.  

Are you missing out on a key business opportunity?  

As you can see, offering your customers a wide variety of payment options will help you meet consumer demand and, ultimately, boost sales and revenue. If you operate a brick-and-mortar or ecommerce store, ensuring your customers have more ways to pay is a must in today’s business world. 


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Ben Smith

Ben brings 20 years of experience to his role as IT Director for BNA Smart Payment Systems. Among his many directorial duties, he is responsible for the selection, acquisition, development, installation, maintenance, and support of IT infrastructure. Ben also establishes and leads a cross-functional architectural committee, acts as a technical expert and a critical technical resource across multiple disciplines, and consults on all system implementation, modification and integration activities. He graduated with Honours from Durham Collage in Computer Programming, and takes yearly training courses for security and development technologies to remain up-to-date. Outside of work, he loves playing hockey and skating with his family, and also enjoys gardening and cooking.

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