One of the most frustrating statistics in retail states that 68% of potential customers who reach a payment page never follow through. This figure represents a huge volume of missed opportunities for conversion on every site. It’s also indicative of a huge waste in acquisition costs if users only get this far in their journey.
Converting customers at that final stage is the end goal but, if it were that easy, all online retailers would be doing it. Instead, you can improve conversion rates using 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 users follow through with their transaction.
One of the most important things a retailer can do is to keep things really simple. You may think you need to capture tons of customer data across multiple pages, but results show customers disagree.
Customers are quick drop out of overly complex payment processes. It’s best to ask for only the absolute minimum amount of information, pre-populate any fields you can, and try to keep the checkout process to a single page.
Most issues at the final transactional stage boil down to trust—or, rather, a lack of it. Make sure customers can pay using their preferred and most trusted method. Customers are highly suspicious of being forced to register to complete a transaction. Don’t damage their trust or send them packing by requiring them to register before buying.
Many retailers now offer the option to checkout as a guest. This gives customers the power to decide what kind of relationship they want to have with you.
You can also build trust by offering reassurances such as trustmarks and site seals. Although customers may not know exactly what these mean, there’s evidence that seals such as Paypal Verified help 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 be aware by now of just how important mobile checkout is to online sales. In much of the world, eCommerce sites see more traffic via mobile than desktop. All trend forecasts show that mobile is going to be a key part of the device mix for eCommerce sites.
Consumers are approaching mobile eCommerce with increasing purchase intent, probably because they are becoming more confident about buying on their phone–and encountering better online experiences as retailers play catch-up.
That said, conversion rates remain lower on mobile than desktop and laptop, due mainly to poor user experience. It’s extremely important that your site offers a user-friendly experience via mobile so you can achieve the best possible conversion rates via smartphones.
Be sure to capitalize on this increase in mobile purchasing by ensuring your website is ready to adapt to the devices buyers are using. Consumers will appreciate easy-to-view content such as videos or bullet points as opposed to lots of copy. Your site should be easy to navigate on mobile with large, clear navigation options.
There are a few other factors to consider if you want to serve mobile users well, such as including tap-to-call numbers on your site in text as opposed to images.
As well, give enough clearance around buttons and links to avoid touchscreen errors and make sure any forms are easy to complete on a mobile device. Measures like this help support users and avoid frustration.
Emerging markets often have a particular relationship with mobile that you may not see in your domestic market, and the pace of change there is often very quick.
For example, the number of Indian-language internet users has grown rapidly since 2011. India is also one of the world’s fastest-growing mobile payment markets, and mCommerce transactions are expected to quadruple there by 2022. Major players like Amazon are rushing to adapt to this new online boom by offering Indian-language services with a focus on optimization for mobile devices.
Pace of change
Even if you implement the steps above and achieve the highest possible standards in online payment, it’s only ever enough for the short-term. The rapid pace of change in eCommerce means you’ll need to be prepared to adapt quickly to any new developments.
These new developments can come through online payment methods, customer preferences, changes in two-factor authentication methods, or regulatory changes in the markets where you operate.
Unfortunately, the reality of online commerce is that customer standards are set by the most advanced players in the game. Platforms such as Amazon or Apple 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 smaller player.
You need to move fast, understand who the market leaders are, and analyze their approaches to conversion rate optimization if you’re going to survive in the challenging environment of online retail.