With 18% of internet users still thinking it’s too risky to shop on the web (source: GetSafeOnline), it’s clear that there is a big opportunity out there for etailers that can persuade these wily refuseniks that e-commerce is safe. One thing that might help them is PayOffline – a system launched in August 2007 that enables consumers to shop online but pay for their goods at one of 17,000 physical locations around the UK.
To see how it works, just click on the thumbnail below.
Payoffline charges between 1.25% and 3%, depending on the volume of business, so it is quite expensive. Not even as competitive as credit cards, but this is also due to the fact that there is a handling charge involved for cash. Payoffline hopes to decrease its commission once the economies of scale kick in.
One of their biggest merchants is Flattelly. It implemented PayOffline at the end of October and says 5% of its turnover is coming through the service. Still, a lot of merchants are hesitant of implementing yet another payment method; all of the big players liked the idea and saw the potential but said, “Come back in six months when there’s proof that there is a market out there”.
I quite like the idea, especially if you look into the future and towards other channels, like mobile shopping. Payoffline uses a standard format barcode to identify each customer’s transaction. Customers currently need to print these out. But, they could also send a text message to a mobile phone, and the customer can then access that barcode via a .mobi website. It can then be scanned at the outlet.
Also think of all some other sorts of applications they could offer – ticketing for concerts, for example, or charitable giving. At least I am curious how this new payment method will evolve. I wish them all the best.
Filed under: E-business, Online merchants, Online shopping | Tagged: Pay offline, payment methods online | Leave a Comment »