How to Reduce Check-Out Abandonment ─ Why it Pays to Focus on Payments

For every 100 potential customers that visit your e-commerce site, 67 of them will leave empty-handed. Worrying stuff – but nothing new if you’ve read our blog on how to reduce shopping cart abandonment. In this article, we focus on check-out and payment and how you can optimise them to improve your conversion rate.

Try Not to Limit Your Payment Options

Online merchants have to strike a delicate balance between the range of payment options they accept and the fees, set-up costs and administrative burden associated with them. You should, as a bare minimum, accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Paypal – but consider your markets and do your research: if you are banking on cross-border appeal you better make sure you are speaking the correct language in payment terms or you could seriously miss out on sales. For example, many online customers in Germany prefer using ELV (an electronic direct debit payment method that is supported by banks in Germany) rather than credit cards, while Portuguese shoppers – in addition to using traditional payment cards – lean towards Multibanco/Payshop.

Check Out Your Check-Out

Optimising the design, layout and flow of your check-out process can go a long way towards plugging conversion leaks. You can choose between a multi-stage or a single-page check-out – both of which have their benefits and drawbacks. Whichever you choose, the key thing is that the process is easy to use and perfectly consistent. Features you might consider are progress bars or check-out breadcrumbs, which give the customer a visual or textual indicator of the process and the stage they are at; and check-out buttons at the top and bottom of pages to ensure they are easy to find without the customer having to spend time scrolling/swiping around. Ensure your check-out process is linear and has as few steps as possible – certainly no more than six.

Drop-out on the basket page is frustrating. Here are more ways you can encourage your customers to stay on track:

  • Never assume your customer is finished shopping
    Make it as easy as possible for your customers to go back and add something to their basket that they might have missed or forgotten about. Provide links on the basket page that enable customers to continue shopping. Every extra item in the basket could represent extra income for your company, so make the experience as attractive, user-friendly and efficient as possible.
  • Create a wish list
    Let your customers ‘window-shop’ by implementing a wish list that sits separately from your basket page. Creating a space on your site where potential customers can save items for later review has many advantages. Customers will use the wish list to store items instead of in the basket (reducing basket abandonment), and are likely to return to your site to edit or update their list. Wish lists are also inherently shareable, especially on social media sites, giving your company some welcome exposure among the list owner’s friends and followers.

Card Store and Tokenisation

Card store and tokenisation allow customers’ payment details to be saved by merchants (or their payment service provider) to allow for an even quicker purchase process next time around. Amazon’s 1-Click is the obvious example. Ultimately it eliminates the need for customers to repeatedly enter their payment details, speeding up sales and removing the potential for ‘form fatigue’. Tokenisation solutions work by providing a reference number (or token) that is used in place of the customer’s card number for all refunds or repeat transactions. Tokenisation allows you to generate this token as part of the transaction, while card store allows you to generate it outside the transaction as part of the customer sign-up process, for example. Another benefit of using either tokenisation or card store is that both take care of the storage of card numbers – a crucial element of PCI DSS compliance – meaning you can improve your customer experience and regulatory compliance in just one simple step.

Consider a Single Payment Partner

Retailers need a shopping cart, a payment gateway and a merchant account to sell online. Consider using a single payment partner that can provide shopping cart, gateway and acquiring services to make the online payment process as efficient as possible. While this has benefits in terms of reducing unnecessary steps in the transaction flow –and therefore minimising the potential for errors in what is the most critical moment in the customer’s journey to online purchase – you must be satisfied that this is the right call for your business in terms of price, functionality and uptime.