Payment is the bread-and-butter of your eCommerce business. However creative, beautiful, practical or innovative your product (or products), it has to be able to pay the bills and generate revenue. So, how customers buy from you is arguably as important as what you’re selling. You might need to challenge your existing checkout process to improve business.
Our online world is rapidly turning into an ecosystem, where exchange and interaction are multi-faceted and interconnected. What that means is the ‘browse-buy-pay’ process has to be as responsive to customers as possible. That means having plenty of payment options available – or at least one simple checkout process.
Omnichannel marketing is one way of keeping up with where your customers are in the funnel and nurturing them to purchase. But when they get there, the payment method needs to be as seamless as the journey was. After all, we are all getting more impatient. Long winded forms, customer account set-ups, and anything more than two-steps-to-purchase can result in abandoned carts and drop-offs.
There is more than one way of removing checkout barriers and improving the payment process. We’ll take you through some fast changes and insider info…
Do you need an account?
First thing’s first: the start of the payment process is a place where you can lose a lot of customers. It’s the creation of a user account. The Baymard Institute discovered that 35% of customers abandoned their cart because they had to create an account. That’s a lot of potential revenue. So, why does it happen? Simple: it’s another username; another password; a lengthy form to complete asking for all your personal details. There’s nothing more off-putting, especially when you’re trying to type it all out on your mobile screen.
Guest checkouts should be your first port-of-call for improving your payment processes. It helps build trust with new customers, and if the process is easy in the first instance, you’re more likely to see them returning.
If you’re running your store on an old Magento version, it’s worth upgrading to Magento 2.3 to enable a simple two-step checkout process. Alternatively, Shopify helps you process fast payments.
A softer more flexible approach
Being flexible with how you let customers pay will also go a long way to winning trust. And, we don’t just mean the physical payment method. We’re talking about your approach. Going in softer than a straight-up request for your credit card details can build a rapport that supports lasting customer relationships. After all, most online stores are asking customers to pay up before they’ve even held, touched or tried on a product.
So, make it flexible. Make it about the experience.
Flexible payment methods, of course, include different ways of spreading the cost over months or years, but some eCommerce stores are also starting to offer more ‘buy now, pay later’ options, or ‘try-before-you-buy’. Companies like Ace & Tate offer a step-by-step process that enables customers to browse their selection of uniquely designed glasses frames, choose a selection to try on at home and then return them once they’ve made a decision.
And the try-at-home option is gaining popularity with customers, as 37% of online shoppers stated that they preferred this way of shopping over ‘traditional payment methods’. Plus, it could benefit your customer retention figures, as 69% stated that they would be ‘moderately’, ‘very’ or ‘completely’ likely to buy more products from a company offering a try-before-you-buy payment option.
San Francisco online retailer Stitch Fix utilizes a try-before-you-buy integration on Shopify and combines it with a personalized approach. They offer an online stylist service that ships hand-picked clothes out to customers. After a carefully curated selection of ‘stitches’ is matched to a customer profile – their budget, style, and measurements – it’s shipped to their home for more comfortable dressing room experience. Once the wearer has had the liberating chance to dance around their living room in their new togs and work out which goes best with their existing wardrobe, they can buy what they like and return the rest.
The try-before-you-buy payment lets customers experience a product. They can touch it, see it, get attached to it. It’s also a great way to communicate your brand values and show your customers what you’re about – before they spend any money. Bringing the shopping experience back to your tangible product can help the customer feel that they are in control, can encourage sales, customer loyalty and brand awareness.
It’s worth being realistic about your business if you’re considering this option. Try-before-you-buy requires a sturdy returns model and great customer service. Make sure you know that you’ve got both in-hand before opening up this option.
Appeal to a global market in their local currency
A simple way to enhance your payment process for international customers is to introduce multi-currency to your Shopify store. If you have Payments set up with Shopify Plus, you can sell in multiple currencies. This means that you can display the cost of products, gift cards, refunds, shipping, and taxes according to locality.
Multiple currencies is a great example of the dynamic use of data. Shopify will automatically display the most appropriate currency based on your customer’s location.
It’s straightforward for you: sell in multiple local currencies and receive payment in your own currency. It’s straightforward for customers: they can view your site in a currency that is familiar to them without having to calculate conversion costs or be stung by any extra charges.
Multi-currency is perhaps one of the best ways you can begin to break into new regions and test out new markets. Plus, it’s an easy way of enhancing your payment process.
How do I enable multiple currencies?
It’s as simple as checking boxes in the Shopify Payments from your Settings (only in Shopify Plus). Go to Payment Providers and from here you have the option to Edit. A little scroll down reveals the Multiple Currencies section. Your own store currency will be displayed at the top, and below are your options for selling. Check or uncheck these boxes, as you explore a new way of selling on Shopify.
Customers whose regions are not included will see prices in your store currency. So, you don’t need to worry about selecting every box.
There’s also the option to give your customers some autonomy in the matter. You can add a currency selector to your store theme. This lets customers choose from a drop-down selector of currencies on the product view page. Debut, for example, is a theme with this option built-in as part of the frontend.
Remember to be flexible with your expectations. Like any currency conversion, rates fluctuate, so the actual cost of a product or gift card will also have some fluctuation from day to day or month to month. You could gain or lose money depending on the rate of conversion at the time of purchase. The larger the price tag, the more movement there may be, and don’t forget this affects refunds. The cost of your refund may be different to the original cost received.
Stay business savvy and weigh up the cost of offering products in multiple currencies with how much growth and ROI you can expect from breaking into a new market (or multiple). Don’t forget, you can always try it out and gauge the response.
Embrace alternative payment methods
Finance is flexing. It’s getting more adaptable by the day. Apple Pay, Bitcoin and PayPal are just a few of the game-changers, and banks are quickly making online purchasing easier and more secure. As customers embrace and dictate new ways of handing over their dollar, it means that alternative payment methods (APMs) are fast becoming mainstream. They’re becoming, well, less alternative and more ‘expected’.
APMs are many and varied, and built to integrate with your store platform. There are some that require a bank transfer, some use digital wallets, and even new instant financing is gaining traction. It’s worth a browse to see which would best suit your business and your customers.
The common denominators in popular APMs are speed and security. When you boil it down, these are the two things that really matter to your customers when paying for a product.
Why bother with checkout changes now?
There’s an old saying: “it pays to be prepared.” It’s true. The faster you adapt your store to customer demand and address any checkout barriers, the more successful your future will look.
‘Future-proofing’ can be an overused term. But there’s a reason it’s hot on everyone’s lips. Payment changes and online finance are among the areas of fast-paced change, so your response needs to be as fast. Adapt your checkout now, and you’ll be saving time and hassle in the future.