The Power of Cash-On-Delivery: the Guide to implementing the Preferred Payment Option in The Kingdom!

May 19, 2024
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In a rapidly evolving world, many business owners are embracing modern payment methods and moving away from traditional options like Cash-On-Delivery (COD).

The rise of online payment alternatives has fueled this shift, driven by increased consumer trust in digital transactions. However, exclusively offering online payment options can pose significant challenges and may even jeopardize your business's success amid intense competition.

Despite the surge in online payments and the growing preference for seamless digital transactions, various recent studies highlight a remarkable trend: a significant portion of customers still consider Cash-On-Delivery as their preferred payment method.

In this blog post, we'll explore the significance of retaining COD options for your E-Commerce stores. Additionally, we'll delve into key insights related to the behavior of Saudi consumers, examining the pros and cons of both COD and online payment alternatives. Let's dive in!

What is Cash On Delivery or COD?

Cash On Delivery, as its name implies, is a prevalent method of payment offered by E-Commerce stores, where the consumer pays for their product in cash at the same time they receive their shipment.

This stands in contrast to other payment options, such as Buy Now Pay Later and various forms of online payments, which usually take place before the receipt of the actual product.

Why consider COD for your business?

#1 Seamless and Familiar

For many businesses especially ones that are new to the market, providing customers with the option to pay for their products in cash upon receipt is a powerful way to boost confidence in their brands, and overcome common psychological barriers that prevent many consumers from completing their orders online.


#2 Increased Conversion Rates

Despite the massive growth in E-Commerce, many customers lack confidence in online payments or may not even have access to options like credit cards.

Prioritizing consumers’ peace of mind with COD features opens up your business to a broader audience, and expanding the reach of your products and hence your conversion rates.

COD options alleviate consumers’ hesitancy and reduces their anxiety, which can foster long-term trust and brand loyalty, encouraging repeated business.

#3 Reduced Abandoned Carts

Recent stats show that 70% of consumers abandon carts before payment, posing a challenge for business owners aiming to optimize sales.

Factors like website loading time and pop-ups might contribute to cart abandonment, but the absence of COD is considered a significant factor.

Offering COD removes the final payment stage, leaving a positive psychological impact on your consumers and enhancing their confidence to complete orders worry-free.

COD and the behaviors of Saudi Consumers

A Statistica report revealed that 63% of KSA E-Commerce payments in 2023 were done through COD, reflecting the Saudi consumer's strong appetite for cash payments.

Despite a gradual increase in online payments which represented 29% of E-Commerce payment in the same year, the resilient preference for COD suggests E-commerce brands in Saudi Arabia must consider this to retain a significant consumer segment in this lucrative market.

The prevailing preference for COD among Saudi consumers is rooted in cultural and religious traditions, notably the avoidance of credit cards perceived as incompatible with Islamic principles.

Even with the growing use of Sharia-compliant banking and the increased reliance on debit cards, in light of the Kingdom’s 2030 vision aiming to increase cashless transactions to 70% by 2025, the current preference for COD is expected to persist for the foreseeable future.

This is especially true as Saudi consumers view COD as a more convenient and "safer" option, citing security concerns associated with online payments.

Pros and Cons for COD VS Prepayment

As for any aspects associated with your E-Commerce business, both COD and prepayment options have their own set of benefits and challenges. Here are some of the most common pros and cons to consider when making this decision.

Pros of COD:

1. Reduced Business Costs

Unlike online payments in which banks charge a percentage of your sales that can cut out from your overall profitability, COD model usually features a flat-fee charged by your shipping partner on your behalf, or split between the shipping provider and the E-commerce store.

2. Improved Competitiveness

In the fiercely competitive E-Commerce landscape, setting your brand apart from the crowd through the introduction of COD options can do wonders for your business.

This is primarily due to improving the perceived brand’s image and reputation in the eyes of customers, and granting them enough flexibility and trust to drive their conversions and increase your sales.

3. Greater Delivery Success

In the case of COD, Consumers are expected to be present upon delivery time to pay for their orders in person, mitigating missed deliveries and return issues associated with online payments.

This can prevent your business from incurring unnecessary additional costs that can build up over time.

4. Minimized Risk of Chargebacks

A common challenge for business owners is chargebacks, or disputed transactions, often arising when customers accidentally pay for a product or change their minds post-payment, leading to payment disputes and refund requests.

COD eliminates this issue, as consumers only pay upon receiving the product. This saves business owners time, effort, and stress associated with disputed transactions or changes in customers’ attitudes following payment.

Cons of COD

1. Increased Chances of Returns

When consumers have the opportunity to wait between placing their order and paying for it in person, business owners may encounter situations where customers change their minds and reject the order upon delivery.

Unfortunately, this can pose a significant challenge for business owners, leading to losses from return shipping and inventory handling costs.

2. Higher Operational Costs

The implementation of COD might increase operational costs and complexity for your business. That’s because proper COD implementation requires additional logistics and dedicated systems including cash collection, managing returned orders, and potential delays in cash flow and receiving payments.

3. Returns Difficulty

Unlike the case of prepayments where the value of returned products can be swiftly refunded back to the customers’ original payment method, handling returns and processing cash refunds in case of COD can add another layer of complexity for business owners.

This is primarily due to the necessity of coordinating with customers to facilitate cash refunds, involving additional steps compared to digital refund processes

4. Lower Order Value

Implementing Cash-On-Delivery can potentially lead to a reduced Average-Order-Value (AOV) per client, as some customers may decide to limit their orders’ sizes due to the inconvenience of handling large sums of cash upon delivery.

Pros of Prepayment:

1. Reduced Risks of Returns

When a consumer pays for their product in advance, it establishes a commitment between the consumer and the business, significantly minimizing the likelihood of the consumer changing their mind or refusing the order upon delivery.

This commitment fosters a sense of assurance and reduces instances of order refusals, which may be more prevalent with COD-based payments where the transaction is completed post-delivery.

2. Increased Convenience

In contrast to COD, where consumers need to have a specific amount of cash on hand upon receiving their orders, prepayments, such as online payments, significantly enhance the convenience of the shopping process.

This allows consumers to swiftly pay for their products, promoting a seamless experience and contributing to the consumers’ peace of mind.

3. Faster Order Processing

Immediate payment confirmation in the case of prepayment ensures rapid order fulfillment and delivery, eliminating the challenges and delays associated with COD collection.

This not only streamlines your operational processes but also enhances customer satisfaction by providing a quicker, more transparent, and more efficient shopping experience.

4. More Spending Per Order

According to recent studies, consumers might typically pay more per order when deciding to go through the prepayment route as opposed to COD, since prepayments reduce the hassle and anxiety associated with handling large sums of cash upon delivery.

It’s important to note that this variance isn’t universal, but it largely depends on the target audience, product nature, and other considerations.

Cons of Prepayment:

1. Reduced Profit Margins

Choosing prepayment options involving bank charges based on a percentage of order value may pose challenges to your business's profitability.

These percentages can quickly impact profit margins, leading to a gradual reduction in your overall profitability on the long-run.

2. Decreased Conversion Rates

As explained earlier, the absence of COD features can result in many consumers abandoning their carts or choosing to shop elsewhere where their preferred payment method is available.

This could lead to your business losing potential customers who aren't confident enough to pay in advance through online payment methods.

3. Negative Customers’ experiences

Online prepayments can come with their own set of challenges, including technical difficulties and issues associated with the online payment system itself.

These can lead to unnecessary delays and increased consumer frustration, potentially harming your brand's reputation and eroding consumer confidence.

4. Security Concerns

Online payments offer convenience and speed, but they also bring with them a unique set of security concerns such as the potential of fraud, data breaches, and cybercrimes.

Understanding these risks is critical for both E-commerce business owners and individual consumers alike.

3 Ways to Implement COD for Your E-Commerce Business!

1. Integration with E-Commerce Platforms

In order to offer your consumers a seamless experience with your online store that includes their preferred payment options, business owners can easily integrate the COD feature into their E-Commerce platforms such as Shopify, Zid, Salla, and Woo Commerce.

2. Partnering with a Logistics Provider

For business owners aiming to take full advantage the benefits of offering COD options to their consumers, there's no substitute for partnering with an innovative logistics provider.

Such partners are well-equipped to navigate COD processes on your behalf, saving you time and effort and ensuring a hassle-free experience for your consumers with your brand.

3. Communication and Transparency

When opting for COD in your E-Commerce business, prioritize proactive communication and transparency with your clients to streamline order processing and maximize consumer satisfaction.

This can be done through clearly communicating COD charges and the payment process with your clients, such as including this information in the order checkout invoice to outline any COD fees to your customers.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to offer COD depends on your target audience, business model, and risk tolerance. It’s crucial to weigh the potential benefits against the potential drawbacks to determine if it's the right fit for your E-commerce business.

In the Saudi market, it’s clear that the benefits of providing COD to consumers far outweigh the drawbacks, particularly since a majority of today's Saudi consumers still perceive COD as a superior option compared to other payment methods.

Remember, offering both COD and prepayment options might be the best strategy to cater to a wider customer base and maximize your potential for conversions.

However, you must ensure smooth payment processing systems and efficient order management to minimize challenges and optimize the customer experience regardless of their chosen payment method.

For more about Starlinks’ premier logistics solutions for E-Commerce Businesses, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our experts right away!

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