One in every four (ie 26%) of European merchants in the retail, travel and hospitality and digital goods sectors has experienced data theft and the majority (61%) believe they are at greater risk of a data security breach today than they were a year ago. That’s according to new benchmark data unearthed in the 2018 Global Payments Insight Survey: Merchants published by ACI Worldwide and Ovum.
While the need to manage fraud and protect customer data remains a top issue, the study also shows that achieving sales via digital channels remains the top priority for merchants and retailers across all sectors. 58% of merchants surveyed said that lost sales (ie basket abandonment) in the digital channels is a bigger concern than fraud. Almost half (48%) stated that they’re willing to face an increased risk of fraud if it means more sales.
“Our research shows how crucial digital channels are to the success of merchants across sectors,” said Andy McDonald, vice-president of merchant payments at ACI Worldwide. “For many of them, the website is now their most important storefront. Seamless and frictionless customer experience are top priorities. However, there shouldn’t be a trade-off between customer experience, sales growth and security. The right omni-channel strategy will offer customers a seamless payments experience and support loyalty and revenue growth, while at the same time providing maximum security.”
80% of European merchants believe that real-time payments will replace the use of debit or credit cards over time (in the Netherlands, 100% of merchants hold this view, in Belgium 87% and Germany 84%). 76% of merchants believe that real-time payments will help to save their business money and 63% feel that real-time payments will reduce their payments acceptance costs.
Investment into payment infrastructure
Half of all European merchants (48%) plan to increase their investment in payments technology in 2018. Key factors driving investment into payments infrastructure include enhanced payment acceptance capabilities, more consistent customer experience across store and digital channels and supporting cross-border sales and international expansion.
“Real-time payments are clearly top of mind for merchants today,” continued McDonald. “Driven by customers’ shifting preferences in how they purchase and the channels they purchase through, merchants are finding the need to improve operating efficiency and customer service to maintain a competitive edge now and into the future.”
The survey was conducted between December 2017 and January this year among 250 European merchants and retailers across the retail, travel and hospitality and digital goods sector. It’s part of a four-part Ovum series providing insight into current thinking in the industry across financial institutions, merchants and billing organisations such as higher education, consumer finance and insurance.
Overall, the study included a total of 1,032 executive respondents across 13 industry sub-verticals in 19 countries.