NT Balanarayan and Nikhil Pahwa
What was once a payment gateway company is now morphing into an e-commerce suite: CCAvenue*, as a part of the relaunch of its platform, has now launched a host of offerings for customers, including Do-it-yourself WebStore, analytics solutions including SEO audit, Website uptime, reputation monitoring, Facebook management, Twitter management, Facebook apps, apart from enhancing its payment gateway offerings with billing in 27 currencies, dynamic routing of payments (given India’s barely functional bank gateways), retry for completing failed transactions, and 1 click checkout for quick checkouts. The company is shifting existing customers to the new platform. In conversation with MediaNama, CCAvenue’s CMO Mohan Nair said that the company wants to be “merchant centric” and “merchant neutral”, adding that they’ve had a 30 member team been working on this solution for 2 years.
The payment gateway market is crowded right now and it reminds you of the e-commerce scene two years back. There are too many players jostling for the same set of merchants and everyone seems to be concentrating on undercutting each other. This allows the company to differentiate itself from competitors, and service new entrants in this space with a suite of solutions: Nair told MediaNama that they’re getting 150-200 sign-ups every day, and 65-75% of them are new ventures, and they wanted make entry easy and offer a low cost and advanced payment gateway. It’ll be interesting how competitors respond.
The new offering will be free till March 31, 2015 and it will allow CC Avenue to compete directly with other DIY markeplaces like Shopify, Kartrocket, Martjack or Buildabazaar. It needs to be pointed out that this store is not just a move that allows CCAvenue to increase usage of its payment gateway: it is also a way for it to stay relevant. There’s been a trend of e-commerce companies in India such as Flipkart and Snapdeal launching payment gateways targeted at retailers, and CCAvenue is countering this move by launching its own solution. This also allows the company to reach out to merchants who might be interested in setting up their web presence for the first time.
The CCAvenue website lets you select from a pre-set theme, customise it and map the store to your store’s URL. The design is responsive, so the merchant will not need to spend more money trying to cater to the increasing number of people who buy products from a phone. It also offers analytics and marketing tools as part of the offering. It is not clear how much the company will charge for the service after the free period ends in 2015, but it is a value add given that margins in the payment gateway business are under pressure because of competition from Payzippy, Klickpay and Naspers backed PayU.
Companies that provide business listings, such as JustDial and GetIt are also aggressively targeting smaller retailers with their services. GetIt launched their service with Shopify and recently they added a feature that would let people order products via a call. JustDial meanwhile, has set up an online store through which you can get a quote from a merchant on a product you plan to buy and then bargain with them for a possible discount.
Billing In 27 Currencies
CCAvenue also announced that it has now started accepting payments in 27 currencies (a list on the right), an interesting move since a lot of expats buy products for their loved ones in India through e-commerce websites. More importantly, however, this allows Indian companies to target businesses in countries where these currencies are accepted. Indian product and SAAS companies are looking to set up businesses targeting global customers.
With this move, the company also want to help Indian companies go international. As far as factors like OTP are concerned, the company says that it has configured the system to accept such a password in markets where it is needed.
Thinking beyond the merchant community, it includes a buyer dispute section, where the buyers can themselves login and know details of their transaction and raise a concern if required.
Moreover, CCAvenue has taken a giant leap towards evolving more than a vanilla Payment Gateway by offering Brand 360. It is a complete branding suite and allows you to evaluate where you stand in the competitive market.
The company bundles the new platform with features like smart dynamic routing for better success rate, iFrame integration for a seamless shopping experience, retry for completing failed transaction and 1-click checkout for quick checkout process.
CCAvenue now also lets you store your card details with them so you only need to type in your CVV code and 3D secure password when you make a transaction.
*Disclosure: CCAvenue is an advertiser with Medianama