It is good to realize that an online customer goes through several processes before a conversion can take place. First, the shopping process that your client goes through and hopefully finds what he is looking for. During this process you offer the customer attention, experience and information about the product or service that he is looking for. A client journey within the “laws” of the optimal online customer experience.
But as soon as the customer has made his choice, the checkout process follows. An important process for you on the way to conversion, but a necessary evil for your customer who is much less interested in this process. He has made his choice and just wants to leave. Speed is of the utmost importance in this process. The faster your customer can pay and leave the site, the smaller the chance that he will drop off during this process.
The online sales funnel is not a linear process. So consider to cut it in half.
- Online shopping = Nurture
- Online checkout = Speed
You could look at it schematically like this:
The speed of your checkout process determines to a certain extent whether your customer will indeed make it to payment. The more time your customer spends during this process, the greater the chance of drop offs:
You should also consider that most of the checkout process is outside the domain of the payment provider. There are exceptions, for example when your customer pays with PayPal, but without a free choice of payment method. Also, the business case from a cost vs. conversion point of view can be challenging.
The online checkout process ends with the payment solution
Well done. Your customer made it to the checkout page. Only in the last part of the checkout, the payment solution of your payment provider does have a major influence on the conversion. Both before the payment of your customer and after the payment of your customer.
You can read some considerations from before the payment where the payment solution influences the conversion below. These are considerations that apply to the payment page. So as from the choice of payment method, the moment your customer actually wants to pay.
I also mention considerations from just after the payment where the payment solution impacts the conversion. These are considerations where your customer has successfully completed the entire checkout process, has pressed the final payment button, and there is still a hitch in the conversion cable.
- The right mix of relevant payment methods. Your PSP can give you detailed insights into this. Which payment methods are necessary in your market segment to achieve optimal conversion. Look at different countries and preferences. But also do the math with regards to additional costs vs. conversion uplift.
- Make sure that only customers for whom the payment methods are relevant see them on the payment page. For example, it makes no sense to confront an English customer with iDEAL as a possible payment method.
- Make sure that your customer goes through the payment in the “look & feel” of your company. Even if you still use a re-direct page to your payment provider.
- Give customers the option to save payment details. It encourages repeat purchases and entering a 16-digit credit card number presents a high probability of error.
- A responsive mobile customer experience with a “finger friendly” numerical keyboard and numerical field recognition is very pleasant for your customer.
- The abandoned cart recovery. Following up on an aborted shopping cart in a “branded” email can motivate your customer to buy after all.
- Retrieval. Is the payment still not accepted? Then make sure that your customer is offered an alternative payment method, but without the shopping cart being emptied accidentally.
- Fraud. A customer can pay with a stolen credit card or dispute what has been delivered. In both cases, your conversion is impacted. If you sell a fraud-sensitive product or a fraud-sensitive service, make sure that you have a good fraud management solution in place, that allows you to properly manage the balance between your conversion and your fraud ratio.
- Optimizing authorization success rates on credit card transactions. This is especially interesting if you are selling to relatively exotic countries where the authorization success rate on credit cards can be low. More and more PSPs offer network solutions to improve the authorization success rate.
Paying in-store is easy and fast. You hold your phone close to the terminal and you’re done. Paying online is unfortunately often still time-consuming. Because as soon as your customer clicks on “order” in the shopping cart, a checkout process starts. However, the majority of the checkout optimization efforts take place outside the domain of your payment provider. A quick checkout process with an optimized customer experience helps your customer to successfully go through this last phase of your funnel.
This article has been published (in Dutch) on Emerce. Publication date: 28th September 2021.