The digital marketplace is rapidly expanding, with consumers browsing online for their shopping needs. While running a Multi-vendor Marketplace, payment infrastructure must be well-organized and secured to ensure trouble-free website operation. What’s more, the number of payment methods and marketplace payment solutions can be overwhelming. Due to that, the aim of this article is to shed more light on Multi-vendor marketplace payment processing, which includes presenting different payment methods, how to choose the best marketplace payment solution, and the challenges you may face while handling online payments on your marketplace.
Let’s start with those two definitions to have a starting point.
- What is a payment processor and payment gateway?
- What are the payment methods for online marketplaces?
- Examples of All-In-One marketplace payment solutions
- Payment Challenges for Online Marketplaces
What is a payment processor and payment gateway?
“Payment processor” and “payment gateway” are the terms that often pop up when we read about doing business online. Nonetheless, some of them may be misleading or used interchangeably, which is a mistake. Due to that, let’s take a look at these two terms together to understand the further part of this blog fully.
Payment processor – as the name indicates, it is responsible for processing the payment during the transaction. The payment processor connects with a payment gateway to obtain encrypted payment information. Its task is to ensure that they are transferred from a customer’s to the merchant’s account.
Payment gateway – acts as a secure intermediary between an online business, the payment processor, and the customer’s bank or card issuer. The task of the payment gateway is to carefully capture and encrypt customer’s information regarding payment during the checkout process.
What are the payment methods for online marketplaces?
In this part, we will take a look at the payment methods that are usually offered as online marketplace payment solutions.
Credit and debit cards
The payment is made at online checkouts by using credit or debit card information. The funds are deducted directly from the customer’s account when the payment is authorized.
Bank transfers allow customers to transfer money directly from their bank account to the merchant’s via an online banking website or mobile banking application to do a bank transfer.
Digital wallets are still a pretty new payment method, yet they gained popularity quickly and became the most popular payment method by far. They are usually required to link them to a bank account, debit or credit card, or prepaid card. Nonetheless, some of them only require a mobile number. Currently, digital wallets can be compared to a small bank inside your pocket, as they can work as online bank accounts and provide the same services. An example of a digital wallet is Apple Pay, Google Pay or Revolut.
Mobile payments facilitate transactions in online marketplaces, enhancing the ease and speed at which payments can be made using smartphones or other mobile devices. This payment method involves various technologies and platforms such as Near Field Communication (NFC), Quick Response (QR) codes, and the above-mentioned digital wallets. With just a few taps, users can complete purchases without the need for physical cards or cash, thereby simplifying the checkout process.
Cash on delivery (COD)
This option allows the customer to pay when the package arrives at their doorstep. When a buyer selects COD, they place an order on the marketplace but do not pay at that moment. Instead, the payment is made in cash (or sometimes by card) directly to the delivery person upon receipt of the goods. This method eliminates the need for online payment and provides the buyer with a sense of security as they only pay once the product is physically in their hands.
Prepaid cards are similar to gift cards. They are used for online purchases and pre-loaded with a certain quantity of cash. Customers don’t need a bank account or credit card to purchase and utilize them.
Buy now, pay later (BNPL)
This option turned out to be another great marketplace payment solution that became present on marketplace giants like Amazon (AmazonMonthlyPayments) or Allegro (Allegro Pay). This concept is based on buying a product or a service and paying for it over the course of a month or other set period of time.
Cryptocurrencies are still the least common payment method due to their price volatility coupled with regulatory uncertainties in some regions. However, let’s see how they can be utilized while shopping online. They enable direct transactions between buyers and sellers, potentially lowering transaction fees compared to traditional systems. Also, they offer enhanced privacy, though at a varying degree among different cryptocurrencies, and secure, irreversible transactions, which can safeguard against fraud while also posing challenges if errors occur. The global accessibility of cryptocurrencies facilitates international transactions by reducing costs and processing times. Unfortunately, the situation with cryptocurrency is too unstable to implement in traditional eCommerce shopping.
BLIK (Only in Poland)
BLIK is a payment method streamlining the online shopping experience, primarily in Poland. Users select BLIK as a payment option at checkout, generate a one-off 6-digit code in their banking app, and enter this code on the payment page to complete the transaction. This method is appreciated for its simplicity, security, and the fact that users don’t need to carry cards or wallets. BLIK can be used abroad only to perform cashless payments at payment terminals.
What is payment tokenization?
As directly storing the card information is too dangerous, payment tokenization is a security measure used to protect sensitive data during transactions. In this process, sensitive information like credit card numbers is replaced with a unique token or other identifier, which is useless if intercepted by malicious actors. The original data is stored securely in a token vault. During a transaction, the token is sent instead of the actual card number, and the payment processor uses the token to retrieve and authorize the actual payment information. This way, tokenization helps to reduce the risks associated with handling and transmitting sensitive payment data, making transactions more secure.
Examples of All-In-One marketplace payment solutions
Modern marketplace payment gateway underwent major changes, which resulted in major advancements. In contrast to traditional payment gateways, modern ones can also handle marketplace payment processing. As a result, we can have a single payment service provider (PSP) that will handle the whole payment process, which results in a more consistent customer experience during checkout. Take a look at 4 examples of all-in-one payment solutions to understand better what we are talking about.
PayPal is one of the most popular payment system available on the market. PayPal offers a solution known as PayPal Commerce Platform, which is designed to handle online payments in a multi-vendor environment. It facilitates transactions between buyers and sellers while managing the complex flow of funds, which includes holding, moving, and distributing them. PayPal for Marketplaces offers various payment processing methods and can handle different currencies, which makes it a viable option for global marketplaces. It also provides features like fraud protection and compliance support to ensure secure transactions.
PayPal offers numerous payment options, for example, the Bill Split feature, which allows users to split payments between friends and family either within their PayPal account or on certain partner sites.
Mollie offers a payment solution for mainly European marketplaces that is secure, flexible, and fully compliant, with a fee structure based on the number of connected accounts and successful transactions. Mollie is easy to implement and easy to use, which makes it a particularly valuable solution for new eCommerce businesses. Additionally, it offers pre-built integrations that can be easily connected to your eCommerce platform and provides a great overview of your daily and monthly revenue.
If you have a store based on the Sylius framework, among others, consider choosing Mollie as your payment service provider. In cooperation with Mollie, we have created an integration with Sylius that supports 13 payment methods and have implemented, for example, functions such as:
- Recurring payments
- Management of payment methods
- One-click payment
- Second chance email (abandoned transactions)
This has made Mollie a strategic technology partner for Sylius and is the most popular (installed over 64,000 times) and most advanced payment gateway integration for the platform.
Stripe is another popular online marketplace payment solution. In the case of marketplaces, Stripe designed a marketplace payment platform named “Stripe Connect.” It helps with money movement in a number of ways between multiple parties (like sellers, vendors, contractors, or affiliates) within a platform. Unlike the conventional Stripe setup, which is primarily focused on enabling businesses to accept payments, Stripe Connect provides additional capabilities, such as supporting payments to third parties, handling various business models like crowdfunding, on-demand businesses, and eCommerce, as well as dealing with compliance and tax reporting automatically.
Known as one of the most globally recognized payment gateways. Adyen provides robust business solutions for eCommerce, mobile, and point of sale, ensuring secure and quick payment for orders in a Multi-vendor Marketplace setting.
The system they offer is linked to payments around the world, including local payment methods, such as Boleto in Brazil and iDEAL in the Netherlands, and mobile payment methods, such as Blik in Poland. Adyen provides a universal solution for multi-channel payments, including in-app payments and in-store POS support. Moreover, it offers the ability to debit and credit users on demand, transfer funds instantly to cards or directly to bank accounts, and consolidate reporting in one place for easy transaction tracking and reconciliation.
Adyen will be a good solution, among others, for eCommerce stores based on Sylius due to the fact that we have created an integration that supports 11 payment methods, including Apple and Google Pay, PayPal, and iDEAL. Thanks to the drop-in solution, we enabled the seller to easily configure the system with all the necessary Adyen payment methods. You can read more about integration in our case study.
Payment Challenges for Online Marketplaces
In the multi-vendor marketplace environment, marketplace owners may face some challenges regarding safety, payment fees, integrations, and more. To make things a little bit easier to understand, here are some factors that should be considered when creating and running an online marketplace.
Fraud prevention and security
Online marketplaces are prime targets for fraudulent activities such as identity theft, credit card fraud, and phishing attacks. Implementing robust fraud prevention measures is crucial yet challenging. It requires a combination of stringent authentication processes, encryption technologies, and continuous monitoring to detect and prevent unauthorized activities. The challenge lies in maintaining a high level of security without compromising user experience. Due to that, thoroughly check what security measures each payment solution can offer and ensure that your website has an SSL certificate that encrypts the data during transactions, which includes sensitive payment information like credit card numbers, expiration dates, and CVV codes.
User experience and cart abandonment
Talking about user experience, remember to provide the best user experience and simple checkout. A smooth and straightforward payment process is crucial for a positive user experience. However, balancing user-friendliness with the necessary security measures can be difficult. Lengthy checkout processes or complex authentication steps can lead to checkout abandonment. Over 70% of all online shopping carts fail to make it to the checkout stage. Online marketplaces must design intuitive and quick checkout processes while ensuring transactions remain secure to minimize abandonment rates and maximize conversions. A good start to do so is to implement a one-page checkout.
Payment processing fees
Every time a client uses a credit or debit card to pay for products or services, a business must pay a processing fee. The processing fee can be split into three parts:
Interchange free -such fee goes to the bank institutions that issue credit cards for consumers. Take as an example PKO Bank Polski or Bank of America.
Assessment fee – this fee goes to the bank networks, like Mastercard or American Express.
Payment processor fee – this fee goes to the company that is responsible for getting card payments processed for your business, e.g., during PayPal transactions on the website.
Payment processing fees (annual/monthly fees) can significantly impact the profitability of online marketplaces and the prices set by sellers. These fees are based on payment gateways and financial institutions involved in transaction processing. Reducing these costs or finding cost-effective payment processing solutions is essential for maintaining competitive pricing and ensuring the financial sustainability of the marketplace.
Payment methods diversity
Consumers have varying preferences for payment methods, which might include credit/debit cards, digital wallets, bank transfers, or even cash-on-delivery in some regions. Offering a variety of payment options can cater to a broader audience but also poses challenges in terms of integration, management, and compliance with diverse regulatory frameworks. The challenge for online marketplaces is to offer multiple payment methods while managing the complexity that comes with it. Check what payment methods the different marketplace payment solutions can process and consider potential integrations that come with it.
If you are considering setting up your own multi-vendor marketplace, we present you the OpenMarketplace by BitBag – the first open-source Multi-Vendor Marketplace platform.
This platform is a highly efficient and extensible solution based on the PHP programming language, Symfony framework, and Sylius platform dedicated to online stores with multiple independent sellers and virtual shopping malls with separate departments or selling channels.
Open Marketplace covers:
- Vendor registration & management
- Vendor profile page
- Listings management
- Orders management
- Adding listings
- Shipping management
- Review management by vendors
- Vendors commission configuration
- Product listing per channel for vendor and more
Navigating through the pretty complex reality of online payment solutions is a task integral to the success and seamless operation of marketplace businesses. This article aimed to explain eCommerce payments, giving you some idea about the various payment methods available and offering basic guidance on selecting the most suited payment solution for your marketplace. Moreover, it highlighted potential challenges one might encounter while managing payments, aiming to equip you with the knowledge to make informed decisions. After all, knowledge is the key to success.
As the digital marketplace continues its rapid expansion, it is crucial to keep updated on the most secure and efficient payment infrastructures. This not only enhances the user experience but also gets your marketplace closer to success in the ever-changing digital world.
If you are thinking about setting up a Multi-vendor marketplace and have more questions or are looking for a development agency that will implement the project, feel free to contact us.