Google recently announced its plans to retire Google Checkout, an online payment processing service, and transition towards a more streamlined product known as Google Wallet. While the complete shutdown of Checkout will occur on the 20th of November, the news has already created some waves in the business market. Some are considering it a loss on Google’s account in the battle against PayPal for online payment processing, while others deem it a clever move. Before we jump to conclusions, it is important to understand what caused the demise of Checkout and how will it affect the market.
Why did Google Checkout fail?
When Google launched Checkout in 2006, it adopted a similar policy as with previous products: the people will either adopt it or they will not. As a result, Google never actively ‘sold’ the product to consumers, nor did it make any efforts to highlight the salient features of Checkout to them. Around the same time, similar services like PayPal were arriving on the scene. Their aggressive marketing campaigns ensured that more people were at least aware of what the product did, even if they were not interested in using the service. The result is apparent. In 7 years, services like PayPal have gathered a larger market share while Google Checkout is being shuffled out.
Another major blow was dealt to Checkout when eBay, the largest online consumer-to-consumer business website, decided to put Checkout on the list of unacceptable payment methods. This move had little to do with Checkout itself though; eBay is also the co-owner of PayPal, along with Amazon. Google’s own lack of effort at promoting its product just hastened the process and sent more consumers away from them than attract them.
What is being done now?
With the plans in place to completely shut down Checkout, Google has put in more effort into establishing the Wallet’s worth. These include massive updates to Google Wallet, including integration into Gmail and Chrome for quicker access and payments online. The integration has even more uses. You can send money to friends and family via Gmail by using your shared Google Wallet information. In addition to these features, the overall security of Google Wallet has also been improved to allow for safer transactions and minimal risk of fraud.
Google has definitely tried to smooth out the transition period for merchants as much as possible. The current user-base of the service has been divided into three categories. All merchants who sell physical goods using Google Checkout’s services will have to find a third-party alternative to continue their business. Additionally, Google has collaborated with services like Freshbooks, Shopify, and Braintree Payments to help those merchants who were relying on Checkout for payment processing and invoice management.
Because merchants are moving between services, Google has procured discount offers from the aforementioned services in order to facilitate the move. This could be problematic because Google enjoys much greater accessibility around the world compared to the three alternatives. This means that there is a chance that some merchants may be left without a safety net once Google is gone. These merchants, therefore, will be seriously affected.
The second category is individuals who are selling digital goods via Checkout. In stark contrast to the first category, the shift away from Checkout is going to be fairly quick. These merchants will be shifted to using Google Wallet for their goods and continue their operations without too many hassles.
The third category, which also remains unaffected entirely, is merchants who sell via Google-hosted marketplaces like Google Play. They were never entirely reliant on Checkout. The move will not impact them in any way.
What are your alternatives?
With Checkout soon leaving the stage, you are probably wondering what your alternative options are. Fortunately, there are several options at your disposal, all of which are equally competitive. Below you’ll find a quick review of some of the more popular ones.
It may seem cheeky to mention Google’s largest rival as the alternative, but the fact remains that PayPal is the big fish in this pond. PayPal is among the oldest online payment processing service on the market, and is also one of the most extensively used services. Offering three distinct classes of accounts with different perks, users can benefit from being able to link their accounts with eBay’s auctioning services as well. In the market for alternatives, PayPal commands authority based on its age and its sheer dominance.
2Checkout is another highly competitive service, which offers support in over 15 languages and 26 different currencies and countries. It also offers slightly different levels of service depending on the kind of business you operate, making it slightly more customizable than PayPal. For instance, the company offers two different types of checkout options which merchants can choose from, based on the size of their business. A Direct Checkout option speeds up the process by providing a form with fewer fields to fill out. The Dynamic Checkout option is more responsive to the customer’s device being used to complete the transaction.
Formerly known as Moneybooker, Skrill is a service already in use with services like oDesk for payments and transactions. The service also enjoys a large fan following.Over 50,000 merchants use it for their needs. They also have over 10 million customers.