Rev Up Your Checkout: Keys to a Frictionless Experience
By Bobbi Leach, CEO of FuturePay
Kicking off the 2016 summer travel season, the TSA has been the target of significant backlash due to longer-than-average airport security lines. The widespread buzz surrounding long lines has even led to an airline industry group encouraging customers to share photos of the lines on social media using the hashtag #IHateTheWait. But disdain for long wait times doesn’t only apply to airport security – consumers expect the quickest, most convenient experience possible when interacting with businesses across industries.
Take online shopping, for example. When e-commerce websites have slow loading times or friction during the checkout process, consumers become frustrated. What sets the e-commerce experience apart from airport security is that travelers have to wait in line at the airport to reach their final destination, but online shoppers have endless options at their fingertips and can turn to another retailer in the event of a negative experience. In fact, the online shopping cart abandonment rate is 68.6 percent, some of which can be attributed to friction in the customer experience. By addressing the following pain points, retailers can reduce cart abandonment and increase revenue.
When browsing or making a purchase on e-commerce websites, consumers expect the pages to load almost instantaneously. In fact, more than half (57 percent) of shoppers will abandon a web page that takes more than three seconds to load, and 80 percent of those will never return. This means not only will shoppers abandon their carts for that specific transaction, but retailers will lose all future revenue potential from customers who choose to never return. To put this into perspective, for an e-commerce website with $100,000 in daily revenue, a one-second page delay could cost up to $2.5 million in lost sales each year.
With countless online shopping options at their disposal, consumers aren’t going to wait around for retailers with slow website load times. Therefore, online retailers should prioritize improving their websites and optimizing page load times to meet the needs of impatient customers and increase conversion rates.
As they expect quick website loading times, once a shopper makes a purchasing decision, he or she will want to complete the transaction as seamlessly as possible. Many online retailers lead consumers through several pages and forms, adding friction to the customer experience. This might include typing out one’s name, billing address, shipping address and credit card credentials. Some retailers even require customers to answer several security questions, adding several more seconds, or even minutes, to the total transaction time.
Between returning customers and an increasing number of mobile users, the last thing shoppers want to do is thumb through several pages each time they want to complete a transaction. Eliminating multiple steps is the key to reducing checkout friction. One way to do this is through uncomplicated, seamless checkout pages. Many users will obviously have to input their personal information the first time they complete a transaction, but others have features such as Chrome autofill enabled, which automatically populates name, address and other information in online forms. Retailers should make sure they don’t have this feature blocked to ensure consumers who opt for such convenience can use it to complete the transaction. Online retailers should also consider making the entire checkout process one page, so users don’t have to click through several pages. If a consumer goes to make a transaction and sees “Page 1 of 7” at the top, for example, he or she might abandon the transaction to avoid navigating so many pages to complete a purchase.
While the checkout process should be convenient and seamless for all shoppers, simple checkout is even more important for returning customers. Online retailers that allow customers to create a login and store their shipping and billing information can cut the transaction time significantly for returning customers, leading to higher conversion rates and revenue. Another way to make checkout easier for both mobile and desktop transactions is by offering returning customers the option of one-step or one-click checkout. With one-click checkout, not only is customer information stored, but shoppers only have to click one button to complete a transaction, making the transaction almost instantaneous. Today, more than half of the top 500 online retailers use one-step checkout, as well as 1.5 million other retailers worldwide. These buttons help customers overcome the friction of traditional online payments while increasing revenue for retailers.
Shopper expectations for speed and convenience don’t stop once an order is placed. Rather, consumers want flexible options to receive products as soon as possible. Data from Accenture found that approximately 64 percent of retail shoppers indicate delivery speed as an important factor when shopping online. To meet these expectations, many retailers now support an omnichannel shopping experience in which consumers can opt for in-store pickup of online orders. With this capability, shoppers can often pick up their purchases as soon as the same day the order was placed, pending product availability.
In addition to in-store pickup, major online retailers such as Amazon have long placed an emphasis on quick order processing and delivery. They have long offered Amazon Prime members free two-day shipping and recently expanded delivery offerings to include Amazon Prime Now same-day delivery in select cities. This means shoppers can receive products the same day an order is placed without having to make the time for a trip to the store. Additionally, Walmart recently launched a two-day subscription shipping service, and Best Buy launched same-day delivery options in an effort to compete with Amazon. Same-day delivery shows no signs of slowing down, as the U.S. market is projected to reach $987 million by 2019.
The bottom line – patience is not a virtue for online shoppers. E-commerce retailers need to speed up every step of the e-commerce process to keep users happy, build long-term customer loyalty and increase revenue.
About Bobbi Leach
Bobbi Leach is the CEO of FuturePay, an e-commerce payment solution for the omnichannel shopper. FuturePay’s buy now, pay later option benefits businesses and consumers alike by offering shoppers instant credit while shopping online or on mobile devices without the high interest fees associated with using a credit card.
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