How to beat online payment pain points

By Paul Skeldon November 8, 2017 - 2:41 pm

With bad online checkouts losing many online sellers a significant volume of sales, it is clearly vital that anyone setting up and online retail site needs to make sure that they are handling the payments side as effectively – and as easy-for-the-customer – as possible to minimise abandoned carts.

While setting up payments involves a few complicated step in terms of setting up merchant accounts and more, there is much you can do to design your actual checkout well so that it doesn’t lose you shoppers.

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Here are some tips on checkout design that can help.

Keep it simple – and short

Do you know one of the main reasons why Amazon is so popular? One click check out. Amazon have it nailed: you fill in your details once and set them and they you can just find what you are looking for and, click, you’ve bought it. This should be the checkout experience for all websites. But for most retailers, this click part – the actual payment – is the last step: what you really need is to make the last few steps to this point really simple.

The best way to do this is to require as little information as possible from the shopper at the checkout stage – or a least incentivise them to fill it in.

Look at ASOS – it offers a sign-up process that stores your details and effectively gives you a two click check out once signed up. It also offers a guest checkout, where you still have to give all your details, but they aren’t stored. What’s clever is that it ALSO gives a box that outlines why signing up is such a great idea – that it saves time in the long run – as well as offering the ability to sign up for a £9 annual fee to get free next day delivery. It makes signing up worth it and helps bring customers back. This is checkout heaven.

Keep it quick

While you may have several stages to your checkout process, you must optimise this so that the time between each click is reassuringly short and progress of what is happening between clicks need to be shown as clearly and as ‘real time’’ as you possibly can. Long lag times between clicking and the next page loading puts people off and they will leave.

Progress reports

Keeping users appraised of what is happening between clicks is vital – and so is keeping them in the loop on where they are in the process of checkout. So markout clearly at the top where they are in the process, what stages are complete, what is yet to complete and when it will all end.

Ikea does this very well, clearly marking out where you are in the checkout process at any given point.

Persistent basket summary

This is not only a great name for a prog-rock band, but is key to keeping people focussed while checking out. Firstly, it serves to keep all the information they need – what they have bought, what it looks like, how much it is and any other relevant information about it – right it front of them, so they don’t have to leave the checkout process to check. Secondly, it keeps them inspired. If they can see how lovely the shoes are while filling in whatever information you ask from them, they are less likely to go away thinking its all too much.

Clothes retailer EMP does this – and the benefits of registering – thing very well.

No distractions

Self-contained checkouts that are either displayed over the product pages or are, ideally, a separate page in their own right, also help the user to focus and the follow through. Keeping the checkout page separate means that they aren’t going to effectively wander off around  your site and then forget to come back to checkout and just leave. Keeping it separate with just the other essentials of checkout as discussed above on one page that offers simple one-click payment is the key to an easy check out.

No forced registration

As a retailer it is nice to get registered users – they give you a ton of lovely and very useful data for marketing – and with great advantages for users (they only have to fill it all in once, then can checkout in future much more easily), not everyone wants to do it. And you mustn’t force them to do so.

While you will need their name, email, delivery address and card details to process a transaction, give them the option to do this while NOT joining, signing up or registering for anything permanent.

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