In 2018, the Belgian online market keeps on growing steadily. It’s not just the total online expenditure that has increased, but also the actual number of online customers. Furthermore, we’ve noticed that our southern neighbours seem to shift from one payment system to the other. In this blog we’ll explain the latest developments to you and how online retailers can take advantage of those changes.

Mobile Purchases are lagging in Belgium

Despite the strong growth we’ve just mentioned (~ 13%), Belgian mobile purchases (M-Commerce) are seriously lagging behind. The main reason for this is that online shops in Belgium often don’t function properly on mobile devices. In the Netherlands internet agencies have found that it’s much better to start developing and building mobile versions of a shop before they start with the desktop version. However, in Belgium agencies are still mainly focused on desktop purchases. This really impacts mobile purchases negatively. Still, at this moment online retailers have an 18% interest in Belgium’s overall market.

Other important reasons why mobile purchases aren’t increasing are:

  • Concerns about security and privacy
  • Relatively few good price comparison websites, Google Shopping is not that well known yet
  • Impersonal, which doesn’t help visitors relate to the site
  • Not enough use of conversion-enhancing tools to optimise user experience
  • Not enough product information online
  • Difficult checkout/registration processes
  • Little use of Social Media integrations

These problems are being addressed and are slowly being solved, but they’re not there yet on the Belgian e-commerce market. There are a lot of Dutch parties active in Belgium, and they are gaining much higher conversion percentages than their Belgian competitors. So, there is still a lot of profit to be gained by Belgian parties; only 6% of total online purchases come from mobile purchases at the moment. In the Netherlands, mobile purchases have reached 47%, and are still increasing. The expectation for the coming year is that they will reach 52%. If you look at the target audience of 35 years or younger, Dutch mobile purchase are already 65% of total online purchases.

Bancontact becomes more popular than Credit card

BeCommerce recently published new statistics which showed that Bancontact (previously Mister Cash) has now become more popular in Belgium than the credit card (which used to be their no. 1 online payment system). All large Belgian banks have joined Banconctact/Mister Cash, so now all Belgian customers (8 million of them) can pay online quickly and easily.

Benefits Bancontact:

  • Payment is quick and easy
  • Customer pays in personal online banking environment
  • Facilitates payments for more than 8 million potential customers
  • Unique TAN (Transaction Authorization number) per transaction
  • Simple integration with Prestashop via almost every renowned payment service provider
  • No possibility for buyer to reverse his/her payment (which is possible with credit card payments, for up to 6 months after the transaction is made)
  • Relatively low transaction costs

Online payment with Bancontact inside Prestashop

Bancontact was quickly asked to join Dutch payment service providers like, Mollie and Adyen. These providers knew Bancontact was going to be successful. Bancontact can be compare to payment systems like IDeal in the Netherlands or Sofort in Germany and Austria. However, Bancontact still has a long way to go if you compare it to IDeal’s popularity in the Netherlands.

Increase Conversion, Revenue and Profit on Belgian Market

Do you know how to make your (Belgian) online shop successful? How to increase its conversion, revenue and profit? We’ll list some of the things you need to take care of:

  • Optimise the customer journey.
  • Inform customers properly about your products, categories, payment services, shipping options, etc.
  • Be sure to list payment service providers in the correct order per country. For example, IDeal at no. 1 in the Netherlands and Bancontact at no. 1 in Belgium.
  • Do everything you can to make your visitors like your company, products and/or services; they should be your fans!
  • Involve existing customers through reviews (about your shop and about specific products).
  • Only ask customers to fill in necessary details during the ordering and registration process and integrate social logins to make the process even easier (this is mainly for B2C companies).
  • Make sure you have all the right statistics and feedback about the functioning of your online shop(s) through parties like Google Analytics or Hotjar.
  • Never stop optimising and developing your platform.

We can go on, but then this blog would become more like a white paper. Would you like to know more about what makes online retailing truly successful? Gett loves to talk things through with you so we can discuss where your online success may be found in Belgium (or elsewhere).


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