Payments in Focus Insight that keeps you ahead of change

6 min read

Online Sales Surge, 6 Ways to Improve Your Customer's Payment Experience

Friday, April 24, 2020

Updated on April 24, 2020: With COVID-19 causing global disruption in the physical world, many companies are experiencing an increase in online sales. This article reveals six ways to optimize your online payments to ensure a seamless customer experience.

You're selling securely online, responding to the consumers who are secluded in their homes spending more time shopping online. To meet the surge, whether you're a global brand or a local business ensure your payment experience is optimized to meet your customer's needs.

Start with these six ideas to find the right online payment solutions, strategies and resources that optimize your business.

1. Accept a Variety of Payment Methods and Currencies

Methods of payment are diversifying and your customers are using them all. Credit and debit cards are still popular, but alternative payment methods like PayPal, WeChat Pay and Alipay are on the rise. And don't forget about gift cards and loyalty points as payment as well.

For example, Gen Z, born between 1996 and 2010, are using digital methods of payment far more than other generations. A study from ContentSquare, which analyzed over 8 million user sessions, found that Gen Z converts via mobile twice as much as other generations. Therefore, if you don't offer mobile wallet payment options, you're less likely to make the sale.

COVID-19 is also disrupting the way consumers pay, causing a shift from in-person payments to no-contact payments.

When you're looking at online payments, don't forget to think globally. Your ecommerce business probably already attracts global customers. But there could be a disconnect if you're not offering their local payment methods and currencies. Doing so expands your market -- and revenue potential -- immediately. In our report, “Is U.S. Ecommerce Ready to Take on the World," you may be surprised to learn that over one-third of Americans shop with online merchants based in other countries. That figure increases to 38% for UK consumers and 40% for French consumers. We live in a globalized world where your customers are doing business in countries other than where you are locally-based. Accepting many forms of payment as well as currencies will help you reach even more customers.

You can be at the forefront of leveraging online commerce to connect with your customers during this unprecedented time.

2. Offer Favorable Purchasing Terms

Deferred billing, recurring billing and subscription-based payments are strategies to consider for your customers. Think about what favorable purchasing terms you can offer to your customers to help them pay for your products and/or services, and provide them that option through your online checkout.

3. Build In Customer Service

Have you ever had to fill out both the ship-to and billing address fields, even when they are the exact same? Businesses that can auto-fill these fields or, even better, provide a one-click checkout process will be appreciated by shoppers. Having this payment convenience, often called card storage, is another helpful experience for your customers making it easier for them to come back again for a checkout experience that is fast and easy.

4. Ensure Accuracy

It's bound to happen; in fact, more frequently than you may think. Your customers' payment details will change, which will interrupt any automated payments they have set up with you. To prevent this from happening, we advise our customers' to take advantage of card updater services which automatically refresh your customers' account information when it changes. Having this payment service in place means there's no disruption to their service, reinforcing that seamless customer experience and allowing you to get paid on time.

5. Brand the Payment Experience

It's proven that the less friction you have in your checkout process, the better your checkout conversion rate will be. It used to be the case that when merchants hosted their payment gateway with a third-party, customers making a purchase would be redirected to another webpage owned by the payment processor to accept their card information. This was an obvious disruption to the seamless customer experience that hinders sales. That was then.

Now you can create a cohesive brand experience throughout the checkout process. Make sure your logo is marked on each page and that your brand colors and design elements are a part of the payment experience as well. This will give your customers confidence that they are buying from you, a trusted business, while in the background, the data is being collected by the payment processor's system and routed appropriately to deliver a positive purchase confirmation to your customer.

6. Analyze Data to Help You Optimize

All of these front-end payment strategies will lead to increased efficiencies and more revenue for your business, but don't forget to consider what valuable information you have at your fingertips on the back-end. Reporting tools provide important insights to help you optimize checkout conversion. Imagine knowing the reasons behind declined transactions, chargebacks and disputes. You can use this intelligence to optimize your business. You can also analyze sales trends to better plan for any number of situations like seasonal boosts. Data is power and these are the KPIs to help you manage and grow your business.

Online retail sales are anticipated to climb to $4.8 trillion in 2021, representing over 105% growth in just four years. You can be at the forefront of leveraging online commerce to connect with your customers during this unprecedented time.