Meet Paul and Veronica. Both are smart, ambitious, and a few years out of university. Despite their degrees, neither has managed to land the kind of job they were hoping to. Additionally, thanks to a tight job market and rising housing prices, they are both still living with their parents. Are Paul and Veronica doomed to a life of sitting on the sofa watching television and eating pizza all day?

One of the results of today’s ‘tighter’ economy is that it has produced an entrepreneurial spirit in many people, from retired baby boomers to fresh-out-of-university 22-year-olds. In fact, Europe’s 22.3 million SMEs currently account for two-thirds of employment and generate nearly 60% of total value-added (EUR 3.7 trillion).

Sign of the times: You can now run a business from anywhere, even your parents’ basement.

E-com: The entrepreneurial gold rush
E-commerce is a medium designed to foster growth specifically in the SME market, as it is a quick fix for any entrepreneur looking to increase revenue — and who wouldn’t feel inclined to jump on the bandwagon, given the astonishing market growth? According to eMarketer, e-commerce sales exceeded 7.4% (or $1.671 trillion) of the world’s overall retail market in 2015 and will reach 12.8% ($3.578 trillion) by 2019.

As such, smaller merchants naturally gravitate to building businesses online, because the potential customer reach and revenue opportunities are endless. It is therefore no wonder that ‘Veronicas and Pauls’ are jumping into the e-commerce gold rush.

When entrepreneurs create their e-commerce businesses, customer experience is a top priority. They typically focus on the main ingredients for a successful online business:
• Beautiful web design
• Excellent user experience
Top-flight customer service

But here is a key problem: Entrepreneurs tend to forget that the customer payment experience must be part of that success recipe.

While you may not think that payments has a starring role in a start-up’s e-commerce effort, in reality it plays one of the most crucial roles in a merchant’s online success. Consumers today demand a seamless online shopping experience; one of their biggest frustrations is when they run up against problems during “checkout.”

Just this month, Optimizely and Opinionography conducted a survey of more than 1,000 consumers to reveal the impact a bad online shopping experience has on a brand’s bottom line. They discovered that 83% of those surveyed have abandoned their cart at one point or another. Poor payment processing ranked third out of the top 10 reasons for their annoyance – with 33% of respondents saying it is their biggest frustration.

Card declines: A major sore point for consumers
All seasoned payments industry players are keenly aware of the many problems that can pop up during the payments part of online shopping and “card declines” are a major factor.

Card declines are a big turn off for customers and one of the leading reasons online businesses lose customers and sales opportunities. It is critical for small business owners to understand this and respond to the concern, using a payments platform that works seamlessly.

Don’t lock your customers out of a purchase, because your payments processing doesn’t make the grade.

According to a 41st Parameter survey of 1,000 consumers, one in six would actually skip completing their purchase altogether if their card was declined, one in 10 would purchase from a different online merchant to avoid the hassle, and one in 12 would go buy the item at a brick-and-mortar store.

There are numerous reasons why cards are declined and several initiatives a merchant can take to address them. For example, the accuracy of the card number, expiration data, and the CVV are the primary factors used by the customer’s bank when deciding whether or not to accept a transaction. Therefore, collecting the CVV can significantly decrease decline rates.

How Credorax can help
Entrepreneurs face many challenges when they set up an online business, and payments may not be an entrepreneur’s number one concern. However, the payments experience is one of the main reasons customers leave before finishing the purchase. When that happens, everyone loses.

Entrepreneurs must do their homework, find the payment partners that focus on SME e-commerce solutions and even more granularly pick the one that can create tailor-made solutions that meet their unique business needs.

While Credorax boasts a 50-50% customer portfolio split between large enterprises and SMEs, it is a merchant acquirer that invests in both technology and business solutions designed from the bottom up for small online merchants. It partners with SME-focused PSPs to create joint payment solutions that support this core audience. To find out more, contact