When running an online store, it is imperative to ensure payments are handled carefully. Customers should be able to pay for goods and services easily and securely without having second thoughts. A merchant should also be able to track the sales and manage the money accordingly. All of this starts with the checkout page and the payment methods that are offered.
However, the first thing a merchant needs to do when enabling the checkout function in an online store is to make sure the checkout system gives full control over the process.
Offer Multiple Payment Methods
Part of having full control over the checkout process is the integration of multiple payment methods. This sounds like a given, but there are more payment methods out there than many people think. A checkout system can go beyond the use of a credit or debit card into the realm of person-to-person gateways and digital wallets. Plus, there’s the fact that many consumers expect that there will be more payment methods available to them.
While it may not be practical for customers to be offered every possible payment method, it’s best to research which payment methods the target audience prefers. For instance, millennials may be more likely to use PayPal or Google Wallet. If doing business internationally, Ozan is a payment option that people enjoy because they can perform currency exchanges and manage financial accounts in one place. Skrill is another popular option because it is accepted in so many countries.
If every payment method imaginable was offered, the checkout page would be rather messy. Plus, the merchant would have to open up and link the bank account to many accounts. Offer what is popular and what your shoppers want. People will appreciate a checkout that takes their wants and needs into consideration.
Another thing that can be done for shoppers is the option to make a purchase without registering for an account. While registering can benefit a merchant in several ways, it may not be a benefit for the customer. Some customers want to go to the site and place an order without it taking too long.
Smashing Magazine conducted a study that revealed that customers don’t understand why signing up for an account is necessary. Making a “guest checkout” available can make a world of difference in the number of abandoned shopping carts your online store experiences.
Avoiding Payment Redirects
Another way to avoid abandoned shopping carts is to not redirect people away from the website when they pay. This can be a turnoff to customers. That is why it can be counterproductive to use PayPal as a checkout method. Although PayPal is trusted around the world, redirecting people away from the website to pay for the purchase can be unsettling to some people, particularly those that aren’t as familiar with the PayPal checkout method or digital wallets in general.
Although large merchants, such as Walmart, use PayPal as a checkout method and it redirects to PayPal, there are more online merchants using checkout software that can keep people on the merchant website when using other payment methods. An example of a platform that can process PayPal and other payment types without redirecting is 1ShoppingCart.com.
While not all digital wallets can be integrated into shopping cart platforms yet, the future is looking bright. There is a gradual transition toward more online merchants accepting these methods because they are convenient and have the potential to increase conversions.
It’s also imperative to let people know that their transaction is secure. With so many data breaches occurring around the world, customers need to know that they are transmitting information over a secure connection. Of course, they can look in the address bar of their browser to look for the security status of the page. According to an eConsultancy survey, 58 percent of respondents abandoned their shopping cart because they were concerned about security. People also want to know how the information they provide is being used.
Making the Online Checkout Flawless
Basically, the online checkout system has to be perfect. Trust has to be gained through the design of the store, but the rapport has to be consistent when the consumer gets to the checkout page. The typical payment process involves:
- The customer browsing the website at any hour that is convenient for them.
- Browsing product descriptions
- The selection of products to add to the shopping cart
- Specifying where the purchases are to be shipped
- Entering payment information
- Receiving transaction approval
- The purchases are delivered via the designated shipping method.
The customer expects each step to be carried out without a single hiccup. Any glitch in the system can make them very nervous and could result in the merchant receiving a telephone call from a skeptical customer to ensure everything went through OK. This can be time consuming for a merchant.
On the merchant side of matters, it’s important that all details of the transaction are relayed. WooCommerce is an e-commerce platform that does well with this and is compatible with dozens of payment gateways. A number of the gateways allow payment processing on the site without redirecting the customer away from the website.
The Bottom Line
All in all, how online store payments are handled can make or break conversions because of how the payment system can impact the user experience. Having plenty of relevant payment methods, not directing away from the website to process the payment, ensuring a smooth checkout process, and not asking for too much information are all ways to keep customers coming back. Factor in the privacy and security policies for the sake of transparency, and customers have another reason to trust the merchant they are spending their money with.