Purchasing and the Plethora of Paying Methods

When an online customer has decided that they want your product/service, their (and your) next challenge is how to pay for that purchase, because seldom is there one answer that works for everyone, and the secret is to make the operation as simple and painless as possible for increasing conversions and sales.

According to Milo, 56% of people approached expect a selection of payment possibilities when they get to the checkout page. You don’t want a purchase being abandoned because the payment system was complicated, or not available.

Only ask for essential, required information.

Your checkout page is where customers part with their hard-earned cash and entrust you with the security details of their credit card before they walk off gleefully with their purchase. This is the conversion page, and you need to have full control over the entire process.

The secret is to offer various options so that you ‘catch’ as many of those elusive customers as possible!

While it’s inconceivable to offer every payment method available, offer a combination of methods, including PayPal, EFT, coupons and a selection of popular credit cards to ensure maximising purchase options.

Keep purchasing simple

One of the greatest aversions to online payments is the necessity to create an account! Frogmarching people to sign up for yet another account often sounds the death knell to a conversion; people would rather walk away and find an easier option to purchase, on another site. Think, does the brick-and-mortar store down the road demand this of you when you pop in to buy a paintbrush? The most common reason for users not wanting to set up an account (other than having to remember yet another password!) is that they anticipate being swamped by marketing dross after their purchase.

Also, limit the amount of information you request to the bare essentials as there is nothing more irritating than having to submit information that is unnecessary. Remember, people are using online for convenience, so keep it convenient! People don’t want to feel that your request for information is intrusive. If you need their info for marketing etc, give them the option to sign up after the checkout process and they will feel less pushed.

Use one-click options where available and make the process as simple as possible.

When customers make mistakes on the purchase form (what with being human and all…) make errors easy to fix. The best scenario is to make an error message appear in the field in which it occurred, in red, preventing the user having to scroll around to find where the error is. Also, allowing users to save their submitted info prevents frustration at having to refill in the form.

Invesp illustrates clearly how submission errors ranked in the top 10 of conversion problems during checkout, resulting in shopping cart abandonment.

Consistent messaging

When it comes to the design of your checkout page, ensure that it is consistent with the rest of your site to prevent confusion and concern around scams. Brand consistency is prime on the checkout page; you want your brand to be the thing that is uppermost on their minds to constantly remind customers from whom they made that purchase. Consider too, that this is no time to indulge in any form of distraction, so your checkout page is a no-go zone for advertisements! This is your ultimate call to action (CTA) where you urge them to make that purchase. Don’t leave them hanging, not knowing what to do next and be distracted to look elsewhere at that ‘special offer’ that just popped up!

Be crystal clear about what they are expected to do next.

And while you’re at it, keep them on your site and don’t redirect them. If this is inevitable, as per when using PayPal, maybe assuring customers that the checkout page will look different to your site will allay the concern that they may feel about giving their money to a business that they are not buying from. A good policy is whenever personal information is involved, always draw attention to the security measures you have made for their convenience and safety.

With these considerations in place customers will feel at ease and, ultimately, if they have had a smooth, streamlined purchasing experience, chances are, they’ll be back.

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