Perhaps one of the most frustrating statistics in retail is the one that indicates 68% of potential customers who reach a payment page never go on to complete payment. This figure represents a huge volume of missed opportunities for conversion that occur on every site. It’s indicative of huge waste in acquisition costs if users get only this far in their journey.
Managing to convert customers at that final stage is highly desirable but if it were easy, all online retailers would already be doing it. Instead, conversion rates can be improved by a number of small tweaks. This level of attention to detail can help smooth the payment process, manage customer fears and expectations and help more user journeys reach the fruition of a transaction.
One of the most important things a retailer can do is keep things really simple. You may think you need to capture tons of customer data across multiple pages but the customer would disagree with you.
Customers will quickly drop out of overly complex payment processes. Only ask for the absolute minimum of information, pre-populate any fields that you can and aim to keep the entire checkout process on a single page.
Most of the problems caused at the final transactional stage essentially boil down to trust (or rather, the lack of it). Make sure that customers can pay using their preferred (and most trusted) payment method. Customers are highly suspicious of being forced to register to complete a transaction. Don’t damage their trust or send them packing by making it obligatory to register with you before they can buy.
Many retailers now offer the option to checkout as a guest instead. This gives the customer the power to decide what kind of relationship they want to have with you.
You can also improve your trustworthiness in the eyes of your customers by offering reassurances such as trustmarks and site seals. Although customers might not know exactly what these mean there’s evidence that seals such as Paypal Verified and Google Trusted store reinforce trust with consumers. It’s thought to be beneficial to display those seals close to the payment information fields.
Mobile is key
You should already be aware of the importance of mobile checkout. In much of the world, eCommerce sites see more traffic from mobile than from desktop users. All the trend forecasts indicate mobile is only going to be an important part of the device mix for eCommerce sites.
Consumers seem to be approaching mobile eCommerce with increasing purchase intent, probably because they are getting more confident buying on their phone – and perhaps getting better experiences as retailers wise up to m-commerce.
But conversion rates remain lower on mobile than on desktop or laptop and that’s due to a poorer user experience on mobile. It’s of paramount importance that your site offers a user-friendly experience for mobile users so you can achieve the best possible conversion rates on mobile devices.
Capture this increasing customer intent on mobile by making sure your website is ready to adapt intuitively to the device they are using. Mobile users will particularly appreciate easy-to-view content such as video or bulleted copy rather than long pages of text. Your site should be easy to navigate on mobile with large and clear navigation options.
There are a few other factors to consider so you really serve mobile users well. Make it possible for users to tap-to-call any phone numbers listed on your site by putting them in text rather than as images.
Give enough clearance around buttons and links to avoid ‘fat-finger’ errors and make sure any forms are easy to complete on a mobile device. Measures such as these help support users and avoid frustrating them.
Emerging markets often have a particular relationship with mobile that you may not see in your domestic market, and the pace of change is often very quick in these markets.
The number of Indian-language internet users has grown rapidly since 2011. India is one of the world’s fastest-growing mobile payment markets and m-commerce transactions are expected to quadruple here by 2022. Major players such as Amazon are rushing to adapt to this new online boom by offering Indian-language services with a focus on optimisation for mobile devices.
Pace of change
Although you can implement the steps above and achieve the highest possible standards in online payment, it’s only ever going to be enough in the short-term. The rapid pace of change in eCommerce means that you’ll need to be prepared to adapt quickly to new developments.
These new developments can come through online payment methods, customer preferences, changes in two-factor authentication methods or through regulatory changes in the markets you operate in.
Unfortunately, the cruel reality of online commerce is that customer standards are set by the most advanced players in the game. Platforms such as Amazon or the Apple store tend to set the standard for all players in online retail, and customers are highly intolerant of clunky payment processes even if you’re a much more modest player.
You need to move fast and understand who the market leaders and analyse their approaches to conversion rate optimisation are to survive in the challenging environment of online retail.