As an online retailer, and especially an SME, finding the answer to why your customers abandon their baskets at checkout can prove a major headache. You’ve spent the time and funds to get customers on your website, so why aren’t they converting?
In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at how the right changes (and some easy fixes) to your payment options can actually increase revenue and keep customers coming back for more, just in time for Black Friday.
Why payments matter in the checkout process
Payments may not be at the top of every retailer’s priority list, but they’re a crucial part of a customer’s experience. And ultimately, customer conversion relies on how seamlessly a customer is taken to — and through — your checkout. So let’s see how they can help.
So, we’ve broken down the three simple steps you can take to increase conversion.
3 ways to convert more customers at checkout
1 Make payments personal
You might think that the ideal checkout scenario is to offer as many payment methods as possible to guarantee maximum conversion. However, the reality is that the more payment options are displayed, the more overwhelming a customer will find it, and will likely abandon their cart — a phenomenon known as ‘payment fatigue’.
The best approach to choosing the right payment methods is to take a good look at your customer and your market. In some areas of the travel sector, for instance, speed of payment is a priority when it comes to getting travellers to where they need to be in time for their departure. Therefore fast and frictionless payment choices are optimal at checkout to keep conversion high and stress levels low.
Think about your customers’ demographics. ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ (BNPL) options have been shown in multiple studies to lead to an increase in basket size, but may be an irrelevant option to segments outside the Gen Z and Millennial generations. If you find you’re attracting many customers from abroad, having the facility to take cross-border payments may be critical. And if you’re setting up a regional offshoot of your online store, ensuring that you include country-specific payment options will be vital, such as BLIK in Poland or iDEAL in the Netherlands.
2 Adaptable journeys
It’s important to consider payments that are adaptable depending on where the customer is about to complete a purchase. Making sure that a customer can complete a payment with ease from any device is essential for maximum conversion. You can ensure this by:
- keeping the payment journey consistent across all devices,
- providing updates about a purchaser’s payment status on the same page, without cluttering their tabs with every single progress step,
- removing distractions from the payments journey (such as ads, more offers etc.).
The majority (65%) of retail purchases in the UK are now made from a mobile device (Statista, 2022). So, offering payment methods with mobile-first payment journeys could really make a difference. Shoppers will often browse from their phones initially and some may then return to pay from their desktops. But if you can convert them on their first visit, then you could see your conversion numbers skyrocket. Simplified payment journeys are a key factor for conversion from any device.
Needless to say, choosing simplicity for your checkout doesn’t mean that you have to compromise security. Unfortunately, the introduction of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) as an additional process to validate the identity of a consumer when they’re paying by card has added a whole new layer of friction to an online payment process. Naturally, a lot of friction brings more barriers to your shoppers’ payment journey and increases the chances of them dropping their cart.
So, the argument for offering a payment option that doesn’t rely on cards becomes all the more compelling.
3 Optimise user experience (UX)
The quality of user experience at checkout can determine whether your customers will complete a purchase or abandon their cart. Get it right and it’s a game changer. Get it wrong and see your sales drop.
The more seamless the transition is from cart to purchase, the more customers you will get past checkout. You can optimise your UX at checkout by:
- removing payments that require a lot of steps (e.g. traditional online card payments),
- applying user-friendly language and getting rid of payments jargon,
- giving shoppers the option to pay as guests, without having to spend time setting up an account,
- providing simple and aesthetically-pleasing visuals at checkout,
- use checkout forms that allow a customer’s details to be auto-filled,
- offer payment options that can deal with different currencies with fast settlement.
So in a few words, the perfect checkout experience is simple, seamless and intuitive.
Citizen’s payments grow conversion rates
At Citizen, we’ve been working closely with merchants to ensure we provide the optimum checkout solution — and we’ve seen conversion rates grow from 35% to 70%.
Our instant cardless payments use open banking technology to reduce friction at checkout, processing payments 36-times faster than cards to offer a seamless checkout experience. Not only does this mean that our account-to-account payments are more cost-effective, but they’re also UX optimised to make payment journeys intuitive, easy and drive conversion. It takes customers just 3 steps to complete a payment with Citizen — and funds settle instantly.
Our end-to-end solution is ready when your customers are. You can add Citizen as a payment option at checkout alongside your existing providers, through major shopping cart plug-ins or directly. We work with many brands, large and small, across the UK and Europe, and would love you to try it. Learn more about how Citizen can help merchants to grow conversion rates at checkout.