February 23, 2006, 12:00 AM

Alternative payments reel in new and repeat buyers for aquarium retailer

At BigAlsOnline, MODA Solutions’ Secure eBill option lets consumers who don’t want to use a credit card to buy online pay directly from their online banking account. It now represents 6% of transactions, and 39% of users are new customers.


Some consumers don’t have a credit card, prefer to use cash when shopping, or don’t want to enter personal and financial information online. Aquarium and tropical fish retailer BigAlsOnline.com has found that giving shoppers a way round those obstacles has resulted in repeat business and brings in new customers.

Last year, the Canadian-based retailer added Secure eBill from MODA Solutions, an option that allows consumers to pay for online purchases directly from their online banking account. Shoppers who set up the option through their bank account click to authorize payment, much as they would to authorize online payment of a utility bill, and input only their e-mail address to receive an invoice via e-mail confirming their purchase.

Since it was launched on the site in May 2005, the alternative payment system has accounted for 6% of all transactions. 45% of customers who used the feature during the first six months returned to make at least one additional purchase, and 39% of the customers who used the option were new to BigAl’s, according to MODA Solutions.

The retailer chose to deploy the alternative payment feature after its own surveys identified the security of credit card and personal information when shopping online as a concern among customers. Marwan Forzley, CEO of MODA Solutions, says the payment system addresses that by leveraging consumers’ built-in trust of their own banks.

“There’s a fear in the marketplace about any other payment solution that requires the consumer to input personal information to the merchant,” he says. “The consumer feels safer doing it from their home banking account. The banks generally have spent a lot of money building a secure, reliable infrastructure and they’ve earned that trust with consumers.”


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