When alternative payment methods become worth their weight in gold

What does this mean for Greek e-commerce?

As part of Greece’s recent capital control measures to restrict money leaving the country, Greek consumers can no longer make international payments via services such as PayPal, iTunes, Google or Amazon. This attempt to limit the international flow of funds has been used to avoid such financial crises in the past, including in Cyprus in 2013, but what does this mean for Greek e-commerce?

Although certainly frustrating for consumers, there are several alternatives, for example purchasing goods in physical stores. For online merchants however, this situation has a much bigger impact, as many payment schemes including PayPal, process money outside the country. This means merchants will have to offer local alternative payments such as real-time bank transfers, advance payment or cash on delivery, which will continue to work despite the current controls in place, as the money then remains in Greece.

This situation shows the importance of offering a mix of online payment methods and ideally also a multichannel strategy: if consumers are unable to purchase goods online, a high street store may ultimately save a merchant’s existence. In addition now it pays if online merchants in Greece have already established an international customer base to which they can now offer their goods at probably lower prices. This may in turn help the Greek e-commerce industry stay afloat and help boost the economy in the long run.