5 Steps to Improving the Customer Experience for Online Payments

5 Steps to Improving the Customer Experience for Online PaymentsYou spent a ton of money building a website for your business and countless hours promoting your products and services. It is all paying off as customer flock to your site to make purchases. Then you hit a snag: people struggle to complete their purchases and walk away. This happens to small businesses every day – and once a customer walks away, they rarely come back. So, how can you avoid this loss of business and improve the customer experience for online payments? Here are some tips.

There are a variety of studies on what percentage of shoppers abandon the shopping cart before finalizing a purchase (percentages range anywhere from 59.8% to 80.3%) and exactly which factors lead to abandonment. Some of the major reasons include:

  • Lack of payment methods
  • Required registration
  • Concerns about payment security
  • Declined payments
  • Poor shopping cart design

Let’s take a quick look at each of these points and review how we can improve the overall customer experience and reduce shopping cart abandonment.

Lack of Payment Methods

Customers coming to your site to purchase will want a variety of payment options. When setting up your checkout process, it is important to choose a payment processing system that supports at a minimum, credit cards, PayPal direct, and checks. The best way to determine which payment methods you should offer, is to ask your customers. A quick survey sent to your customer base will help you to identify what your specific customers expect as well as their preferred payment methods.

Once you understand which payment options your customers want, take the headache out of setting them up by using a service like Simplify Commerce™, a platform that makes it easy for businesses to accept secure payments online, in app, and in person.

Required Registration

If you start the checkout process by requiring a new customer to register for an account or an existing customer to sign-in, you are setting yourself up for shopping cart abandonment. Anytime you insert a step between the decision to purchase and the ability to purchase, you create a barrier that may lead to the loss of a sale.

Instead, use cookies to enable repeat customers to login automatically and allow new visitors to flow through the purchase process and set up an account after the process is complete.

Another simplified checkout option you may want to offer customers is Masterpass by Mastercard. For those shoppers enrolled in the program, this offers a quicker checkout option – no need to type in credit card numbers or addresses over and over again. Additionally, retailers who use Masterpass become part of the network that helps to connect millions of consumers to merchants – a great way to generate new business!

Let People Know Their Payment is Secure

While the number of people shopping online continues to increase, so does consumer concern over security and fraud. You need to go out of your way to ensure that your payment processing is secure and to let your customers know that it is. Make sure you have a SSL certificate for your website and also consider adding Digital Secure Remote Payments (DSRP) that use EMV-based cryptography.

Whatever security measures you have in place, make sure you clearly display them on your checkout page. You want your consumers to have peace of mind.

Avoid Declined Payments

A credit card decline can be one of the biggest deal breakers and reasons a consumer walks away from your website. Unfortunately, many of the reasons for the decline are out of your hands. That doesn’t mean you just give up. It means you get strategic.

First, access your checkout process to ensure that the information you need for each credit card is clear and easy to enter. One major reason for declines is the entry of incomplete or inaccurate information, which can be avoided if your forms are simplified for the consumer.

Next, for those declines that happened for reason outside of your control, quickly contact the customer to see how you can help facilitate completion of the purchase. This may include offering an alternative payment method or offering to process the order manually. By reaching out, you not only secure the sale but also show the customer that you care about serving them.

Make Sure Your Shopping Cart Design is Spot On

How does your shopping cart look? Is it consistent with your website design and branding? If not – fix it! Consumers want a seamless experience and if your shopping cart checkout pages look like they are not integrated with your main website, they may be inclined to leave.

By taking a few simple steps to clean up your checkout process, you can dramatically increase your customers’ experience and see a major upswing in successfully completed online purchases.

Ajeet Khurana
Ajeet Khurana
Ajeet Khurana wears many hats: author, angel investor, mentor, TEDx speaker, steering committee of the NASSCOM Start-Up Warehouse, Director of Founder Institute, Venture Partner with the seed initiative of a top Venture Capital firm, and former CEO of IIT Bombay’s business incubator, among others. Before all this, he was entrepreneurial twice in the field of education and web publishing. As a lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin, he taught e-commerce back in 1993, when the term "e-commerce" had not yet been coined. An undergrad in computer engineering from the University of Mumbai, and an MBA from the University of Texas, Ajeet is presently an active name in the startup ecosystem. From starting two ventures as a solopreneur, to helping a large number of startups with their go-to-market, he has never shied from getting his hands dirty. At the same time he has helped dozens of startups raise investment. He truly believes that small business owners are driving change in the world, and need to be facilitated as much as possible. Innumerable small businesses have gained from his attitude, vast professional networks, financial acumen and digital mindset.

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