Enabling payments for online services is the next big opportunity in e-commerce, says Carl Theobald, CEO of digital transaction technology company Avangate.
"Online services are the new product, you can see that with DVRs and cable boxes and video games," says Theobald.
Game console prices are going down and many cable companies offer their boxes for free to enable consumers to purchase digital content such as on-demand movies and games, he notes.
The company's Avangate Commerce Solution, which was released June 10, includes a number of processing and business management tools aimed at merchants who use a Web or mobile interface to provide functions such as car service ordering or online legal advice. In this market, the digital payment is secondary to the service, Theobald says.
"As e-commerce matures, the payment layer itself is commoditized and the demand is for a more integrated stack of payments and services," Theobald says.
Avangate's internal survey of about 1,000 consumers, which it also released June 10, suggests a sizable market for new payment services.
The company found 63% of U.S. adults use at least one online service daily, and more than half of U.S. adults would consider paying for online services if they could use it on a trial basis or could purchase with the ability to modify the level of service at any time. The survey also found that 49% of consumers are frustrated with difficult-to-reach live support and inflexible purchasing options.
"Consumers are using social media, mobile, Web and email to access these services," says Michael Ni, a senior vice president at Avangate. "Our challenge in working with these customers is we have to be able to enable payments in a number of different venues."
Avangate Commerce Solution supports hosted online payments processing and account management, including single-click renewals and retention tools. Its merchant services also include ordering, mobile analytics, multi-language reseller portals, subscription registration and cross-selling. The offering is hosted and is designed to scale to add more services as well as handle compliance support for local payment standards such as SEPA.
"We want to be able to get these businesses selling online in hours or days, rather than months or years and not have them be beholden to an IT staff," Theobald says. "It's beyond payments and includes an entire solution to get an online services business to market quickly."
Payment tools include revenue analytics that gauge the effectiveness of different payment authorization strategies, routing to in-market processors, ACH routing, alternative payment options and rules-based triggers to deliver invoices and messaging for cross-selling, deals and marketing.
The product's early adopters include HP, which is using it for trial, payment and post-payment services for HP's B2B software online services.