The Jakarta Post
But those who have shopped from social merchants are familiar with the fuss of making payments.
The main payment method remains bank transfer. Merchants post their bank account details and buyers transfer the cash to these accounts. Buyers usually take photos or screen shots of transfer slips to send to the merchants as proof of payment.
Still, there is the fear that the merchant may run off with payments.
PT Nusa Inti Artha (Doku) ' a large, local electronic payment service provider ' recently came up with a solution.
The company, which powers online payment systems of big entities such as Garuda Indonesia has introduced MyShortCart ' a payment system that can work on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Path.
Doku MyShortCart division head Imam Akbar Hadikusumo explained that MyShortCart worked by using payment weblinks.
He said merchants who signed up for the service would receive a weblink from Doku. The merchants can then paste photos or posts on social media.
Buyers who want to buy certain product can then click on this link, which will lead them to a checkout cart.
The buyer can then proceed to pay through various methods, including credit cards. This is a step up from the usual practice in which buyers are limited to paying by bank transfer.
'Not being able to accept credit cards is an opportunity loss for these merchants,' Imam said.
Since its launch in July last year, 1,800 merchants have subscribed to MyShortCart, 10 percent of which are active on social media.
MyShortCart has processed 4,000 transactions worth Rp 3.7 billion between January and July this year.
Doku chief operating officer Nabila Alsagoff said MyShortCart utilized weblinks, which do not require merchants to have a deep understanding of information technology (IT) or powerful IT systems.
'We have always wanted to serve small and medium enterprises [SMEs] but there were always obstacles as banks would not process payments below a certain volume,' she says.
Thus, instead of hooking sellers directly to the banks as with large e-commerce players, Doku acts as an intermediary.
Doku has set up an escrow account to which all payments from buyers go into. Doku will then forward the payment to merchants once buyers have confirmed they have received the goods ' a measure that will guard buyers from fraudulent merchants.
Business development executive at SingTel Group Digital Life, Hueny Law, said payment services that intermediated merchant and buyer benefited merchants as well.
SingTel Group Digital Life, a division of Singapore Telecommunications, oversees digital businesses, encompassing eBazaar, which handles e-commerce platform Shopify.co.id.
'Merchants do not have to post their banking details on their online stores, which makes it safer for them as well,' she said.
Approximately 100 out of the 300 merchants, which have officially opened shop on Shopify, had adopted MyShortCart, she added.
She further said the ability to accept credit cards came in handy for merchants who were targeting overseas buyers.
A survey commissioned by Visa ' titled Driving E-commerce Volume through Consumer Insights: Indonesia 2013 ' found that experienced online shoppers used ATM transfers less.
Only 28 percent of mature shoppers ' or those who spend Rp 6.5 million online annually ' preferred payments via ATM, compared to the 45 percent of those considered as emergent or online shoppers who buy one or two items online.
'Yet, by the end of the day, we leave forms of payments in the merchants' hands. They are free to use other forms of payment they are comfortable with,' Law says.
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