It pays to have an effective payment process

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There are many reasons why online merchants may lose sales. Difficult to navigate web pages, poor choice of products and asking customers for too much personal data are all valid reasons. However, one element which is regularly overlooked comes at the very end of the customer’s shopping journey and is in fact one of the main reasons for basket abandonment.

The payment process.

It may seem like a technical after-thought, of little relevance to customers after they have filled their virtual baskets with desired products, but in fact, a poor payment process is enough to make the majority of customers ditch their saved items and go elsewhere – most likely to competitors.

According to our recent research, 68% of UK consumers have abandoned an online retail site simply due to the payment process. Over half of these (57%) left because the process was too complicated, while 46% didn’t complete the transaction as the merchant didn’t offer them their payment option of choice. This demonstrates that to succeed online, merchants must consider an omni-payment strategy to keep customers happy and maximise sales. The front-end of a retail website may be beautifully designed, with a vast selection of merchandise, but if customers cannot pay how they want to, products will stay unsold, resulting in low profits.

Improving payment processes need not be complicated and time consuming. There are a few simple steps that retailers need to consider to increase sales and improve loyalty from customers:

Variety is essential

Payments have come a long way since the advent of online shopping. Customers expect variety in payment methods, to match the variety of goods online. In fact, 88% of UK consumers expect to have the option to pay by a number of means when they shop via the internet.

It’s no longer adequate to offer customers one single way of paying – in-store or online. Not everyone has a credit or debit card, so if this is all that’s on offer, merchants automatically lose out on sales from those who prefer to pay by an alternative method.

The internet has introduced card-free methods, such as Pay Pal, which are in-keeping with the quick and easy style of online shopping itself. There’s also an increase in the use of online bank transfers and direct debits. Customers no longer need to carry cash or card around with them to make a quick payment – they simply need to log in, enter their online banking password and submit and approve with a transaction authorisation number (TAN).

Imagine if a customer has an online basket with hundreds of pounds worth of product in it but doesn’t have their credit card on them at that exact moment, if they are unable to pay through an online payment method, that sale has just been lost without second thought.

It’s key to remember that if payment options are limited, so are sales opportunities.

Tobias Schreyer, co-founder at The PPRO Group

Tobias Schreyer, co-founder at The PPRO Group

Language is not the only barrier

Globally, credit cards are the preferred payment method, however this is not the case in every country. Payment preferences vary just as languages do and the last thing merchants want is the payment process to be the barrier between customers and sales.

Imagine this – a UK merchant has a visit from a customer in Germany who wishes to make a purchase. They get through the perfectly translated front-end but when they finally reach the payment page they do not recognise any of the methods offered to them. The result here is clear – again, they will abandon their basket and go elsewhere.

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