New market expansion is an exciting initiative for growing companies. Whether widening your scope of services or scaling into international regions, expanding your reach demands planning, taking stock of your goals and intentions… and more planning.
If your company is considering such a move, you likely already understand the transformational benefits it can deliver–new customers, additional revenue streams, global recognition, and more.
But beware: Expanding to new markets is a complex journey–one that requires preparing for unforeseen factors that could jeopardize the timeline and success of such an important initiative.
In this article, our question to you is: Have you planned your payments strategy?
Although it may sound like a simple addition to the to-do list, taking the time to plan this crucial strategic element will minimize complications and help you sail through this exciting journey in less time while earning the trust of your customers.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. This well-known saying is spot on in the context of expanding into new markets. When planning such sophisticated initiatives, we often don’t know what we’re forgetting. Expansion involves numerous critical elements, and planning a payments strategy beforehand is one you don’t want to overlook.
In this article, we’ll help you navigate the critical components of planning a payments strategy that will help your new market expansion initiative succeed. So, if you haven’t yet crafted a well-thought-out payments strategy, read on to learn how to ensure your expansion exceeds your expectations.
Research is Your Roadmap to a Smart Payments Strategy
To ensure your payments infrastructure planning doesn’t get lost among the legions of other elements in an expansion initiative, research should be your first step.
Preliminary market research provides the data you need for a resilient payments infrastructure and is key to successful expansion into new markets. It’s critical for your payments strategy to align with the needs of the specific markets you’re considering. Some elements you’ll need to research include:
Your target audience in each new region - research the demographics of who they are and their purchasing behavior in the specific markets you’re considering.
Foreign currency used in each new region – What is the local currency used in the target region? Will you be able to price your goods/services in U.S. dollars or will you need to price them in local currency and have deposits made to an in-country bank account?
Economic stability and growth potential - Factors like GDP and inflation rates will alert you to any red flags so you can plan accordingly.
Cultural and societal nuances of the market - What are their attitudes toward money and payment methods? Do they prefer to pay via cash? Credit cards? E-commerce with or without e-wallets? Or integrated solutions such as customer invoice portals?
Competitive landscape - What payment methods do existing businesses in the target market offer? What are the current and emerging payment trends?
Regulatory Compliance - Understanding your target region's local and international payment regulations is imperative. Learn about the laws, data privacy regulations, and compliance regulations that could impact processing in each new market.
These are just a few methods for assessing the current market's payment landscape to assess the challenges, eliminate surprises, and plan accordingly.
Once you’ve done your due diligence and have confirmed the markets you want to target and what limitations you need to account for, it’s time to decide what payment solutions you’ll offer.
Whatever your research reveals, you’ll need to offer your new customers an integrated payments solution. PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, and Shopify Payments are some of the more recognized names in this field. Still, depending on the region you’re targeting, scores of other options exist.
Although credit cards still account for a chunk of traditional payments, integrated payment solutions have quickly become the preferred method for online and mobile payment transactions and are the key to success in global markets. Their popularity stems from the ability to optimize the payment processes, improve efficiency, and enhance customer experience.
For companies in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central space, USTPay integrates seamlessly with the Dynamics 365 BC environment and specializes in creating tailored payment tools and integrations with over 120 payment gateways and processors across virtually every country in the world for every major foreign currency.
“Payment Orchestration” is the term used to describe this functionality of being able to seamlessly send your customer’s payments to the appropriate payment gateway depending upon currency requirement, payment modality (e.g., credit card, e-check/ACH, specialized wallets like ApplePay or GooglePay), etc.
USTPay is now available on Microsoft AppSource; no other payment orchestration solution provides complete freedom of choice to allow you to expand into new markets with the appropriate payment solution immediately. Plus, USTPay is offered with other popular ERP and e-commerce platforms.
For more information on how this works, Read our blog about Payments Orchestration and ERP/CRM integration for more information on how this works.
Top Considerations in New Market Expansion
Once you’ve done your research, have a good grasp of the markets that make sense for your expansion, and understand the concept of integrated payments, here are some critical considerations for which you’ll want to plan and strategize with your teams.
Financial regulations adherence
We touched on regulatory compliance as a key research aspect early on, but compliance is never a one-and-done strategy component. The laws and requirements in any region can change regularly (or often randomly). Your planning must include frequently revisiting laws, compliance requirements, and data privacy regulations.
Pay attention - “We didn’t know about that change” will not be a valid defense if you violate any regulatory requirements.
Payment methods and gateway options
As with regulatory adherence, payment methods and gateway options are not a one-time decision. Monitor any new, region-specific options that may become available and monitor what’s working. Provide your customers with the most convenient and secure options to make their purchasing experience as easy as possible. Consider a payment processing vendor that offers you multiple payment gateway solutions (including solutions that are not their own proprietary solutions). Doing so can help you expand to new markets without having to add new payment processing vendors.
Integrated solutions allow you to streamline the financial process and facilitate multi-currencies and payment methods. A payment orchestration solution integrated with your e-commerce and/or ERP platform will enable you to get up and running quickly with commerce in the new country or region. Other benefits include reduced cart abandonment rates, localized pricing, data insights into customer preferences, and easier market expansion.
Conversion control and cross-border fees
Multi-currency payment options allow you more control over conversion fees and exchange rates, translating to cost savings for you and your customers.
Security and fraud protection
Security is a top concern for customers making online payments. Integrated payments solutions offer a wealth of enhanced protection, including encryption and tokenization, real-time fraud detection, multi-factor authentication (MFA), transaction monitoring, and more. These benefits improve trust - a crucial factor in retaining customers.
Data privacy and compliance
With an integrated payments orchestration solution in place, you, as the merchant, are more likely to stay within PCI Compliance requirements and conform to international data protection laws.
Although last on this list of top considerations, CX is by no means low in terms of priority for creating a solid payment strategy. When you anticipate your customers’ needs and provide the options they’re looking for, they’ll stick around. In fact, the culmination of all of the above contributes to a seamless, intuitive, and secure customer experience, which can ultimately translate to the end goal–customer loyalty.
The Bottom Line
Following the suggestions above for what to focus on will ensure you’re prepared as you branch out. We covered a lot of ground, but the one overarching message you should take with you is to do your research - This cannot be emphasized enough.
Understanding the dynamics and demographics of the markets you’re hoping to enter will minimize unwelcome surprises and keep you on track for success.
As a trusted merchant solutions provider for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Microsoft Dynamics NAV, U.S. Transactions Corp. knows the ins and outs of expanding into new markets when it comes to payments. We’ve provided our clients with creative solutions to minimize risk and maximize cost-efficiency for over 20 years.
USTPay is the only payments orchestration solution of its kind on Microsoft AppSource - a single software app (one API connection) that gives you access to over 120 payment gateways and processors worldwide, accommodating payments with virtually every international country and currency. No other solution will provide the complete freedom of choice as USTPay.
If you want to learn more about USTPay and our Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Microsoft Dynamics NAV solutions for payments integrations, we’d love to talk!
About the author
U.S. Transactions Corp., a premier B2B enterprise service provider, collaborates with its clients to deliver an exceptional experience every time, from industry-lowest rates and cutting-edge technology to Level-3 processing that can save your organization up to 30 percent on costs!
Since 2009, UST has been a trusted source for Commercial Enterprises, Associations, and Nonprofits looking to maximize their success rate through superior payment solutions designed specifically for them.