Trust is the abstract imperative in online shopping, says CEO
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Trust is the abstract imperative in online shopping, says CEO

The phrase has become terribly passé, but the online environment, and how we conduct ourselves in it, is changing. Consumers are steadily becoming savvy, globally focussed and knowledgeable. The online renaissance is happening now – not somewhere in the future anymore.  This is according to Mark Chirnside, CEO of online and mobile payment service provider PayU.

His statement comes on the back of the latest annual MasterCard Online Shopping Survey released by this multinational financial corporation on Wednesday. According to Chirnside, emerging markets have graduated from the fringes of the online environment to the centre.

In the survey it is revealed that online shopping in South Africa has steadily increased over the past two years, with a whopping 58% of active internet users saying that they use the internet for shopping. “This finding should not be skimmed over fleetingly – not by companies wanting to remain relevant, and dare I say afloat. If there is one thing that the economic recession has taught the big decision-makers of the world it is proactive thinking in the way of trend analysing,” says Chirnside.

“What we are seeing here is a clear as day tendency that is not going to revert back to the old. Online shopping is where consumers find convenience but, what businesses should pay attention to is that, more than deals, consumers are looking for peace of mind,” he added.

Findings in the survey are that consumers, when choosing an online retailer from where to make their purchases, seek lower prices, payment convenience and secure payment facilities – with 38% of respondents saying that they are not convinced that the latter consideration is effectively addressed.

“While it is encouraging that the figure shows a decline from results published in 2011, this figure should be less,” Chirnside further stated.  “Merchants simply cannot afford to not guarantee their consumers security. This is especially true now that the significance of social media is more pertinent than ever – 140 characters have become the gateway to companies’ reputation, which is why a secure, trusted payment gateway is a non-negotiable foundation.”

Indications from the survey are that trust is key when trade is conducted in the online environment, and that this is no longer an abstract concept when measured in terms of customer satisfaction.

Commenting on PayU’s service to the online environment Chirnside said:“At PayU our vision is to be the most trusted payment gateway in the region for both merchants and consumers, and we are succeeding. “

PayU Payment Solutions is showing a 78% year on year growth, with more merchants coming on board and more consumers registering accounts with PayU. Some of the biggest online retailers in Africa have decided to side with PayU as payment provider with penetration into the market increasing daily. PayU processes nearly 65% of the total value of e-commerce transactions switched in South Africa.

Says Chirnside: “We know that without trust online shopping would be dead – and so would we. In this billion dollar industry it is our goal not to cost our merchants a cent in lost revenue in the form of unsatisfied consumers.”

The MasterCard survey shows that 74% of consumers are likely to return to an online retailer from which they have already made a purchase – PayU intends to grow that number.

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