Online retailers are losing out on sales: payment processes let them down

There are probably few experiences in life which are more frustrating than working hard to get everything just right, only to lose out at the last minute due to a perfectly foreseeable (and avoidable) issue. So it is somewhat surprising that, even in 2018, many online retailers have failed to grasp the need to implement effective payment processes; the result of this is that, according to research by PPRO Group, over two-thirds of UK consumers have abandoned an online retail transaction due to the payment process.

That’s a brutal statistic and, what’s more, it’s almost purely a feature of online retail. Bricks-and-mortar retailers very rarely experience abandoned shopping baskets and there are three key reasons why this is:

1. They make it obvious where to go to pay

When did you ever go into a real-world store and find yourself wondering where you were supposed to go to pay for the purchases you wanted to make? What’s more, if it did somehow happen that you were unclear about what the payment process was, there would be somebody around to ask. Moral of the story: make sure that there’s an obvious way for customers to proceed to payment from any point in your site.

2. They accept the payment methods customers wish to use

Admittedly in the real world, there are only about three payment methods commonly in use, which are cash, Visa and MasterCard (not necessarily in that order). Yes, there are other payment methods such as Apple / Android Pay, cheques, travellers’ cheques and American Express/Diners Card, but these tend to be more niche. PayPal is working on making inroads into real-world sales but is not a major player in this arena – at least not yet.

In the online world, however, life can be a bit more complicated. Physical cash has largely been displaced (although you could, technically, order something online and pay cash on delivery) and, while Visa and MasterCard are certainly still major players, they are very far from being the only meaningful payment options. Online, they have serious competition from PayPal, although this fact may not bother them too much since many PayPal transactions are subsequently charged to a Visa account or a MasterCard account. Half of UK consumers state that PayPal is their most popular method of online payment and a quarter of UK consumers abandon purchase transactions because the retailer doesn’t offer the option the pay the way they want to. In research, PPRO Group also discovered that 77% of UK consumers stated they would not be happy to pay for goods online if the retailer only accepts payment methods they hadn’t heard of.

3. They keep queues moving quickly

It is fair to say that even stores that compete on low-price and basic, no-frills service, do their best to keep queues moving as quickly as they can. Once you start moving up to the more premium merchants, queue management definitely goes up their list of priorities. Online, this means that you want to speed your customers through the check-out process as quickly as you can. Slow-loading websites and sluggish payment pages will put off your customers who want their transaction to be a speedy and sleek process, and bugs and delays will lead them to shop elsewhere.

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