With payments becoming a competitive advantage, the search is on for partners that can do more than simply process transactions. Today’s mark of an effective payments partner is one that provides insights and consultancy, on everything from how to combat fraud, to how to break into new markets.
Xtrawine understands what this means in practice. Since working with Checkout.com, the online wine retailer has seen its fraud rates fall to 0% from 0.4%. Its authorization rates have increased by more than 20%, to above 90%. And this has all helped Xtrawine accelerate its business growth, recording a 30% increase in turnover between November 2020 and November 2021.
Seeking a strategic payments partner
Xtrawine's focus on payments began when it received complaints and negative feedback from customers trying to use its service. "We knew our payment process wasn't optimal," says Francesco Rattin, Co-founder & CTO, Xtrawine. "The page was slow to load and often crashed when it sent customers through the 3DS flow. We were also only offering cards as a payment method, limiting customer choice at the checkout. We wanted to improve the situation, but it was only when we learned it was costing us a significant volume of sales that it became an area of focus."
Around the same time, Xtrawine also began to experience a significant increase in fraud. "The cost of these fraudulent transactions, together with the lost sales due to the poor experience of customers at the checkout, really began hitting our bottom line," says Francesco. "But we had limited tools available from our previous payments provider to fix the problem."
These issues led Francesco to look for a new payments partner to solve these issues and help deliver a better customer experience. Francesco recalls how that first conversation with Checkout.com quickly became strategic. "They could have just sold us their solution and stood back. But they were interested to understand everything about our business. Clearly, they were trying to uncover every single way they could help us."
Acceptance rate increase
“Checkout.com has become as integral to our business as the grapes that go into wine we sell.“
Building an optimal payments solution
Grand plans need good starts to give them momentum. Conversely, onboarding a new vendor can spell the first signs of a partnership doomed for trouble. There was no such worry for Francesco and his team, as they integrated onto Checkout.com’s platform in just six weeks.
"We could have gone live faster, but the Checkout.com team supported us to customize the solution for our unique requirements," explains Francesco. That meant not simply adopting Checkout.com’s Frames solution but also completing a token migration from their previous provider to minimize any disruption for their customers.>
Key to the fast rollout of these improvements has been the mix of clear technical documentation with the more human side of the support — both provided in Xtrawine’s native Italian. "It may sound like a small point, but being able to do business without having to translate everything first has given us so much more confidence in the conversations we are having and the questions we are asking," says Francesco.
Harnessing data to capture revenue growth opportunities
Since working with Checkout.com, Xtrawine speaks the language of payments data. "Checkout.com is giving us access to so many more insights than we’ve ever had," explains Francesco. "That makes it so much easier to see what’s working well and where we need to focus next."
For example, the data showed Francesco that Xtrawine could improve its payments performance in Hong Kong. This discovery led to Xtrawine leveraging Checkout.com's network of local acquirers in Hong Kong rather than process cross-border as it had previously. These efforts have seen Xtrawine authorization rates increase by as much as 20% in the territory.
In Europe, Checkout.com has enabled Xtrawine to conduct a deep country-by-county analysis to find areas for revenue growth. One country of particular focus was Switzerland. The Swiss consume 37 liters of wine per capita a year, making it a market of huge potential for Xtrawine. Yet entering the market is incredibly difficult due to the complex regulatory environment, which means that Swiss customers could not make purchases with cards issued in nearby countries.
Since we partnered with Checkout.com, we barely see any fraud.
"Many residents in Switzerland are from other countries and don't have locally issued cards. As a result, we thought these consumers would be out of our reach," says Francesco. "But with the support of the Checkout.com team, we've overcome this challenge. They spent time with us analyzing our payments data and speaking with different issuing banks and the payment networks. They proposed a series of solutions that would enable us to sell to these customers whilst complying with the regulations."
The result: Xtrawine has exceeded its sales expectations by over 1200% in Switzerland. "We've been overwhelmed by the results. And these would not have been possible without the expertise and consultative support of the Checkout.com team," says Francesco.
Automating fraud prevention and reporting
Checkout.com’s data also tells Francesco how fraud rates have been impacted. "It’s remarkable. Since we partnered with Checkout.com, we barely see any fraud."
But data has a dual role here — not simply reporting progress but also shaping it. "Using Checkout.com's data-driven risk engine allows us to automatically trigger actions based on multiple parameters, such as the frequency of transactions, attributes over a specific period, or according to certain issuing countries."
Key to Francesco is that there's a human element to these configurations. "Automation is essential when you’re talking about combating fraud at scale, but we also want to retain some control in these decisions. Our dedicated Customer Success Manager has been crucial in talking us through how we get this balance right."
Underpinning the data advantage from the partnership is Checkout.com’s 'Hub', which provides a single repository for all Xtrawine’s payments data. From here, Francesco and his team can see the reasons for failed payments to the reconciliation fees of different methods through the Recon API plug-in. "If we wanted this information in the past, it would have taken us a long time and lots of resources to get it. Now, it’s all available to everyone at the touch of a button. That frees up our people enormously."
A payments partner for today and tomorrow
All of this bodes well for a future where Xtrawine plans to expand into other markets. Asia and the UK are now the big priorities. Enabling even more payment options to improve the customer experience and capture more revenue is also high on the agenda. And the success of the partnership with Checkout.com has given them more confidence to push ahead at speed.
"We know we can now move quickly," says Francesco. "What used to take us months now takes us weeks, or even just days."
Francesco says it's the combination of technology and expertise that sets Checkout.com apart. "Checkout.com's unified platform can tackle pretty much any payment challenge we have. The Checkout.com team is also incredibly knowledgeable. They help us get the most out of the platform and make payments a competitive advantage. Checkout.com has become as integral to our business as the grapes that go into wine we sell."