Customer experience is key to promoting purchases at both online and brick-and-mortar shops. However, even the best customer experience while shopping can be ruined due to a deficient payment process.
Studies have shown that inefficient payment processes cause shopping cart abandonment both online and off. The global online shopping cart abandonment rate in Q1 2016 reached a staggering 74.3%, according to eMarketer, with security concerns, limited payment options and inefficient payment processes considered some of the key reasons for cart abandonment. Not surprisingly, inefficient payment processes negatively affect brick-and-mortar sales as well, with 77% of Americans less likely to return to a store after experiencing long checkout times, according to Omnico Group.
Customer Experience Affects Conversion Rates in Online Shops
It is a well-known fact that online shops must offer a clean, and easy-to-navigate site in order to ensure optimal user experience (UX) and retain shoppers. High quality photos of products and targeted purchasing recommendations further enhance this experience and increase sales. However, the importance of the shopper’s experience does not stop once the “proceed to checkout” button is pressed. It is crucial to offer a simple and secure online payment process in order to ensure the conversion to a paid sale.
The following are a few of the main customer experience tips to consider for successful online payment conversions:
1. Keep it short and simple
User’s balk at difficult payment processes. Payment should take no more than 3 steps to complete, and these steps should be clearly defined, i.e. “Step 2 of 3”. Don’t force would be customers to register, but rather offer them a fast process to convert the cart to a sale, such as “sign up with Facebook” or a single step secure online payment option. You can always offer them a chance to register for updates, special offers, and a streamlined future shopping experience after payment is complete.
2. Familiarity builds confidence
When users feel any apprehension during the payment process, they are likely to abandon their shopping carts. Be sure to offer a variety of payment options and logos that are well known and familiar to your customers, such as Visa, MasterCard and PayPal, as well as any locally accepted payment options.
When redirecting to an offsite payment page, make sure to inform the shoppers that they are being redirected, clearly. Additionally, make sure that the hosted payment gateway is well known, such as PayPal, or any regionally accepted and trusted payment processor. If possible, the hosted payment method should seamlessly integrate with your site’s look and feel. Alternatively, it should offer a clean look and easy payment process. Popular online shopping platforms such as WooCommerce and Magneto support a huge variety of global and regional payment methods, ensuring the sense of familiarity essential to customers to continue checkout.
3. Trust and security are key
Online websites work hard to build trust with their customers, through design, transparency and responsiveness. It is important to retain that hard-earned trust via a secure online payment process. Remember to use approved secure online payment methods, and clearly present SSL, trust company, and PCI certification logos on the checkout pages.
Inefficient Checkout Processes Can Decrease Conversion Rates Offline
In brick-and-mortar shops, brand recognition, trust, and security are all vital components of attracting customers. Customer experience within the shop will affect how long customers remain in the store and whether or not they move from browsing to purchasing. The importance of an efficient checkout process is crucial in brick-and-mortar shops, as well. The Omnico Group study found that Americans are willing to wait a maximum of 8 minutes at checkout lines, with UK customers abandoning their carts after only 6 minutes. The above-mentioned 77% of Americans who are less likely to return to a store with long lines, is an obvious wakeup call to all brick-and-mortar shops.
Given these statistics, it is imperative to improve check out processes and decrease the time your customers spend waiting in line. The following are a few methods to cut down on customer wait time:
1. Speed checkout with chip enabled cards
It is now possible to allow users to swipe their card and enter their pin, while the cashier scans the merchandise, thereby cutting down the process by a number of seconds.
2. Independent check out stations
Consider offering independent check out stations, which often move faster than cashier checkout stations. Whereas at cashier stations, customers often deliberate, check prices, and ask various questions, independent checkout stations typically serve the more confident shoppers, who want to get in and get out, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
3. Integrate mobile shopping with in-store purchases
Many consumers use their mobile devices in stores do price comparisons, research, and read reviews. By offering a way for people to add items to their physical and digital shopping carts while shopping in the brick-and-mortar store, and allowing them to checkout via mobile instead of having to wait for a cashier or self-checkout station, you can make the shopping experience quicker, more convenient, and enjoyable.
4. Mobile Point of Sale
Streamline your checkout process and improve efficiencies by using Mobile Point of Sale devices (mPOS). mPOS solutions enable mobile phones and tablets to serve as payment card readers, which additional cashiers can use to assist shoppers who are waiting in the checkout line.
mPOS devices can also lead to an increase in sales, as customers can be approached within the store and can complete their purchases even before they get to the checkout line or have a chance to change their minds. mPOS devices also improve security thanks to encryption and regulation compliance.
Streamline Checkout, both Online and Off
Today’s shoppers expect a highly efficient and secure checkout process, whether online or off. Make sure to offer a short process, with a wide variety of familiar payment options, as well as a secure payment process, especially in ecommerce sites. The checkout process should be efficient to shorten the wait time in brick-and-mortar shops. Taking these steps to improve the customer payment experience will help you increase conversion rates and return customer rates, as well.