Business Technology

Amazon Pay on a mission to democratise online payments 

5 min read

28 November 2017

Special projects journalist

For lesser-known brands, securing trust to an extent they are willing to enter card details online can be a challenge. Amazon Pay explains how to capitalise on its 20-year background.

Ecommerce is becoming increasingly popular. In fact, according to a report by IMRG and Capgemini, B2C ecommerce sales in the UK grew by around 16 per cent last year.

Naturally, many small and growing business owners will want to take advantage of this new trend, and many will want to offer ecommerce services simply to avoid getting left behind. But there are still some issues for consumers.

Entering payment information into an unfamiliar website can be perceived as dangerous, as it potentially opens up bank details to fraud. This can cause shoppers to abandon their baskets at the last minute.

To combat this, Amazon launched Amazon Pay – a service allowing business owners to offer the payment methods already associated with consumers’ Amazon accounts to make purchases on their websites.

You may have seen this before – you are about to pay on a new website, and Amazon Pay is listed as an option, typically alongside other options such as PayPal or entering your own card details from scratch and opening an account with the site directly.

Real Business caught up with head of Amazon Pay in the UK, Karen Pepper, to find out more.

Why did Amazon start offering a payment service on third-party websites?

“The answer is pretty simple – we’ve been doing it ourselves for a long time as a merchant and we have invested heavily in our own payment security. What Amazon likes to do is build up in-house capabilities, and then roll them out to other merchants, like with Fulfilment by Amazon.

“We knew that customers trusted us, and could trust us to click Amazon Pay when they come to check out on an unfamiliar site, knowing that all data would be secure.

“Trust is the main factor for consumers, 78 per cent of consumers say trust is the number one thing influencing where they choose to spend online.

“Small merchants with an unrecognised brand can leverage the trust that has been built in the Amazon brand over the last 20 years by using Amazon Pay.”

How has Amazon Pay grown?

Amazon Pay's Karen Pepper

Amazon Pay’s Karen Pepper

“It’s definitely grown very fast. We originally launched in the US, and followed it with the UK, Germany and Japan. Over the past year we have launched in France, Italy and Spain.

“In 2016, Amazon Pay’s global payments nearly doubled and we had a peak day on Cyber Monday

“Our active merchants grew more than 120 per cent year-on-year, and we’ve moved into new verticals. Around 33m customers have used Amazon Pay to make a purchase.”

What future trends with online shopping do you expect to see?

“I would expect frictionless online and mobile payments solutions to grow. For Amazon UK we already see that more than 50 per cent of our transactions come through mobile, and we only expect it grow.

“We are also looking at the adoption of connected devices for digital shopping, and Amazon definitely believes we are in the era of voice commerce. Again, this is about moving forward with trust, so as consumers move into new areas of shopping they need to do this with a trusted brand.”

How much of a priority should ecommerce be for SMEs?

“Right now, we see that the consumer landscape is changing, there have been a lot of technological advances. More than anything, consumers are being driven by convenience and immediacy, and it’s up to us as retailers to deliver that for them. In order to do that, SMEs have to be able to deliver online, and they have to be able to deliver with trust.”

What advice would you offer to businesses as we approach a busy season of ecommerce?

“Business owners need to ask themselves, ‘how do I make this experience as convenient and secure at the same time for the customer?’.

“They should consider what they can do to make the journey seamless, and what kind of elements can be added to instil that trust in the online experience.”


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