Making Online and Mobile Payments Hassle-Free
Online spending is on the rise as consumers take advantage of the convenience of digital channels. Retailers that successfully make a go of online can raise awareness of their brand, extend their relationship with existing customers and reach additional audiences. The right product lines, attractively displayed contribute to taking customers as far as saving items to their online shopping cart, but an unfriendly checkout process can see shoppers abandon their intention to buy altogether. Savvy merchants are looking at the latest in payments processing to ensure that their checkout experience encourages customers to go on and complete their purchases.
Customers dislike long, difficult online checkout processes. To complicate matters further, online shoppers no longer just browse from the comfort and security of their home or office; they’re on-the-move, making online purchases through their smartphones. These consumers have particular needs for an enjoyable shopping experience – sites have to be optimised for mobile, pages can’t be too text heavy or difficult to read on a small screen, scrolling needs to be limited and a clear layout and navigation is a must.
A lengthy, complex online checkout process is especially off-putting for the mobile user. In fact, what may pass as acceptable to the home-PC shopper may not work so well for the mobile shopper. This includes the most basic, and you might think fundamental, need to input payment information. Mobile shoppers don’t want to draw attention to themselves by taking out their credit card wherever they happen to be at the time – which could be on their daily commute by train or taking downtime in a cafe. The raft of personal and payment details required by the online checkout process is an even greater obstacle for these customers.
For merchants, this is especially concerning as mobile payments now account for an increasing proportion of online sales. In fact, Goldman Sachs predicts that at the rate retailers are integrating mobile into the shopping experience, mobile commerce will account for almost half of all e-commerce by 2018.
While online and mobile shopping may have ushered in a whole new era of commerce for retailers and merchants, it’s clear that it has also brought its own challenges.
With obstacles to buy at checkout, online shopping cart abandonment is a considerable problem. Last year, BI Intelligence estimated that around $4 trillion worth of merchandise would be abandoned in online shopping carts.
To avoid feeling the brunt of this on their bottom line, retailers and merchants need to satisfy customer expectations at every stage of the buying process. A range of factors can result in shoppers abandoning their purchases, including unexpected delivery charges, unsatisfactory delivery timescales and being forced to create an account. Among the important hygiene factors that merchants need to bear in mind is how simple, secure and convenient the payment process is.
Retailers and merchants that recognize the online shopping experience has changed can take steps to make it as friendly as possible to the mobile shopper. Online transactions, particularly on mobile, need to be hassle-free for the consumer. Ensuring this is the case needs to be given equal weighting within the raft of criteria to satisfy for a good mobile shopping experience. This includes a site that is simple to navigate, reassurance around security and ensuring that webpages present well on a small screen.
Speed and ease of use
According to Swedish e-commerce company Klarna, 66 percent of laptop shoppers and 82 percent of those on smartphones leave without checking out.
This, at a time when solutions that encourage us to part even more readily with our money are being developed all the time. Technology integration has streamlined in-person payment processes through the likes of contactless payments by card and by phone, and ‘click to buy’ buttons are appearing online. The end goal in all cases is to remove as many barriers to transactions as possible.
Innovative Klarna, recognizing that when it comes to online, the lengthy tapping-in of information and revealing of sensitive credit card details is a significant barrier, takes friction out of the online buying process by separating the buying from the paying. Klarna makes a rapid risk decision on every transaction so shoppers need input only basic personal information – no credit card numbers – and can choose to make payment after goods have been received. For on-board merchants, this can help ease the way to a higher rate of purchase completion and indeed, with Klarna merchants have enjoyed significant conversion rate improvements.
Critically, Klarna forges a link between the front-end user experience and the back-end systems and processes that are necessary for a responsible, risk-managed credit decision. To process around 400,000 transactions a day they have to be very good – and very quick – at assessing risk.
To meet the need for simpler payments without increasing business risk, payment service providers like Klarna are deploying technology solutions that speed up and improve risk analytics and decisioning. This helps merchants to be competitive and provide a better online experience for the customer by speeding up and simplifying checkout.
As online customer experiences get simpler, friction-free checkout gives customers the best possible experience and, in turn, helps merchants reduce shopping cart abandonment.
Looking ‘under the hood’, to accomplish all this requires a new approach to processing payments. For the customer, the ‘workings’ of the transaction approval process are unseen but as online customer experiences get simpler, so the risk analytics and decisioning that sits behind them needs to get smarter.
Progressive payments providers are making best use of advanced data analytics and streamlined business workflows to automate as much of the process as possible. The dynamic and intelligent use of real-time data, together with process automation can achieve a low latency customer experience.
By simplifying the buying process for both consumers and merchants, innovations in risk technology can break down barriers to online purchasing. Those retailers who take advantage of this will benefit from an online experience that meets today’s challenges and enable them to compete.
Paul Thomas is Managing Director of risk analytics and decisioning solutions provider Provenir. Provenir automates and orchestrates the risk analytics and decisioning life cycle so that financial services organizations can shorten time to revenue, minimize exposure and reward their customers with quick response times. For more information visit www.provenir.com
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