Can e-commerce be as safe as face-to-face shopping? Explosive growth in digital business means we’re closer than ever to that reality. In Central Eastern Europe, the rapid adoption of e-commerce is inspiring services that merge the physical and virtual to meet consumer needs for greater security and convenience.
Fraud declines, consumers get creative and inspired
Recent successes in combating online fraud appears to have given retailers and tech firms the confidence to accelerate towards true “omnichannel” shopping – paying for anything, anywhere, using a range of methods and devices. Data from Nielsen IQ shows online transactions across Europe grew between 6 and 12 times faster than face-to-face payments during the pandemic. While one might expect to see a commensurate jump in fraud, this has not been the case. Online business intelligence experts FICO says overall fraud actually decreased between 2018 and 2021 from a high of €1.8 billion to around €1.6 billion. Based on this data, taken as a percentage of overall transactions, fraud has declined across the board – which means more value can safely flow between banks, merchants and customers than ever before.
Moreover, many banks and merchants are responding to new shopping patterns to make digital transactions as safe, rapid, and easy as face to face transactions – a necessary development given the way consumers’ retail experience merges the physical and virtual. This is especially evident in Central Eastern Europe (CEE), where consumers are making the leap from cash to omnichannel payments enabled by mobile devices.
Mehret Habteab, Vice President of Digital Products at Visa Europe, says several factors are encouraging the rapid adoption of digital in CEE: “From tokenization to risk-based authentication (RBA) and biometrics, many merchants are using sophisticated techniques to make transactions safer and optimise their use of transaction data and many of them realize most consumers want maximum convenience and a wide range of payment options, from QR-codes to crypto payments and walk-out. By using these new techniques both in store and online, merchants can improve the customer experience and drive more sales.”
Visa creates number of opportunities in Georgia for customers and business, in this regard. Visa in Georgia partners with various companies and e-commerce service providers, delivering the most needful and valuable offers for Visa cardholders. The largest tech company TNET is among the close partners of Visa, which unites various digital platforms, such as TKT.ge, and the first online mall in Georgia Vendoo. In only a year, in 2022, Visa, in collaboration with Vendoo, executed up to 10 promotional campaigns for their customers. The main goal of these partnerships for Visa is to advance e-commerce in Georgia, enabling small and medium-sized businesses to thrive.
Besides the partnerships with Georgian-based companies, Visa also supports global brands locally, such as Glovo, which connects customers, businesses and couriers. Along with Glovo, Visa offers various loyal campaigns to cardholders to receive positive experience while shopping online.
After-sales convenience: refunds and delivery
Keeping customers happy isn’t all about what happens at the point of sale. As transactions become faster and easier, customer expectations are rising across the board.
While fully digital transactions are accelerating, cash on delivery remains an important payment method in CEE. To enhance consumer convenience, speed up payment on delivery and make payments more secure. Georgia is advancing in the latest contactless payment methods utilization that Visa offers, including Visa Tap-to-Phone technology, which simplifies cash management. It also helps merchants to improve their performance by making payment and customer verification faster, simpler, and more secure.
 “Europe’s next step in ecommerce growth”: Nielsen IQ, 15 June, 2021: https://nielseniq.com/global/en/insights/analysis/2021/its-time-for-the-next-stage-of-ecommerce-growth-in-europe/
 “European Card Fraud 2020” FICO, 21 June, 2021: https://www.fico.com/blogs/european-card-fraud-2020-uk-shrinks-fraud-losses-ps46m