Since I work in the payment processing industry, online payments are obviously the thing that I’m most interested in. (Don’t close the blog just yet! I promise it’s actually pretty interesting!)
You see, payment tech isn’t just another box you’ve got to tick to get your eCommerce site up and running. Well, it is but it’s so much more than just that!
The payment choices you make directly affect your conversion rate and, therefore, the success of your business.
In this blog, I’m going to walk you through a couple of key payment considerations and explain how they influence your customers’ buying decisions.
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Let’s get started.
Offer multiple payment options
As the eCommerce sector continues to boom and society continues to move away from cash, more and more alternative payment options are popping up.
There’s obviously credit cards and debit cards but, in recent years, new alternative payment methods (basically any non-card payment method) have started to gain real traction.
With more than 200 alternative payment methods available — think direct debit, digital wallets, digital currencies, e-invoices and so on — it’s important your business supports the payment methods that your target audience wants to use.
When YouGov polled British adults back in 2009 (yes, this really does seem to be the most up-to-date study), over half of the respondents said they would cancel their purchase if their preferred payment method wasn’t available.
I know a nine-year-old survey isn’t the best data to go on but it does seem to make intuitive sense. Say you want to buy a new pair of headphones and want to use PayPal because you don’t have your wallet or purse on you. What are you going to do if that website doesn’t offer PayPal?
You’re going to try somewhere else, right?
Now, I’m not saying you should offer every single payment method at your checkout. In fact, cramming hundreds of payment options into your checkout will almost certainly decrease your conversion rate.
Instead, I recommend talking to your audience (or surveying them if your audience is particularly large) and asking what payment methods they want to use. Then integrate those payment methods into your checkout. Simple.
Shared over Hosted Gateways
Generally speaking, there are two types of payment gateway: hosted and shared. Here’s a super quick recap on how they both work. (Full explanation here.)
A hosted gateway is hosted by the gateway provider and your website must redirect your users away from your site in order to accept payment. Once the payment is complete, they are redirected back to your site for confirmation
A shared gateway, on the other hand,lets you integrate the payment panel into your website. So with a shared gateway, you accept a customer’s payment details on your checkout page instead of redirecting them to a third-party website.
While hosted gateways do have certain advantages over shared gateways, they will put a dent in your conversions because you’re adding an extra click and an extra step in the checkout process. The drop might be very small but, as I’m sure you know, little changes drive big savings with eCommerce optimisation.
Include Trust Badges
With so many security-related stories in the news at the moment, users want to feel safe and secure on your site, especially if they are entering personal or payment data.
Your first step here should be to ensure your security is absolutely watertight. If it’s not, you’re really letting your users down.
Okay, now you’re super secure, it’s time to actually advertise that fact.
Trust badges are essentially little credentials given out to websites that meet certain security standards. While security companies like McAfee and Norton will issue some, payment companies will also have their own. (Think PayPal Verified.)
Including these badges throughout your checkout gives confidence to your users that your website is legitimate and their payment details are safe. And that makes them more likely to convert.
Did We Miss Anything?
Improving your eCommerce conversion rate isn’t as simple as reading a blog and implementing three simple tips. Yes, that will improve it slightly but there’s still a lot of work to do.
Why not share some of your own tips in the comments section? (They don’t even have to be payment related!)
About the Author
For several years, Stephen Hart worked as Worldpay’s CFO, helping the company develop into a global payment processing giant Worldpay. However, he became uncomfortable with the comparatively poor payment processing deals the market offered to SMEs and started to design a solution.
Five years ago, Stephen left Worldpay to found Cardswitcher, a merchant service comparison startup dedicated to finding SMEs better merchant service deals.