Retailers preparing for Brexit: rise in brands allowing shoppers to pay with international currency

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Analysis of the UK’s top 250 retailers has found a 19% year-on-year increase in the number of brands offering the option to pay in international currency.

The figure forms part of an annual performance index carried out by leading e-commerce and digital agency, Visualsoft.

The report examined the sector’s biggest names and found that 81% of these retailers are offering customers the option to pay in non-sterling alternatives. This was an increase on the 62% of retailers that offered international payments in 2017. The majority of these are Euros and USD, with 1% of retailers offering Yen.

The increase is likely to be a reaction to Brexit-related uncertainty in the lead-up to 29th March.

The research also found that the prevalence of innovative payment methods is increasing. For example, after only being in the market for little over a year, Amazon Pay is already being used by 10% of top retailers – showing clear movement towards a more diverse spectrum of payments offered.

A further one in 10 of retailers analysed offer finance products from lenders such as Klarna – up from almost nothing in 2017. Research has found that around three-quarters (78%) of consumers would consider purchasing through retail finance, with the average spend of £620, so offering this type of payment could prove a fundamental avenue for future growth.

However, this appeared to be having a detrimental impact on basic payment methods. A quarter (23%) fail to offer a payment choice other than a mainstream credit or debit card. This has worsened by 4% year-on-year.

Dale Higginbottom, head of CRO at Visualsoft, commented: “These figures suggest proactivity in the lead-up to Brexit and adoption of new payment trends, which is great to see. However, we know that up to a quarter of consumers also abandon their transactions at checkout because the retailer doesn’t provide their payment method of choice. Offering a wide range of options is an important way for retailers to maximise their sales potential, but too many are still not doing so – with 23% neglecting an offer outside of traditional cards. This inability to get the basics right could provet crucial as we move into 2019.”