While checking out is the final step in a customer’s buying journey, it should be the first thing retail leaders think of when planning for growth.
The most basic retail strategy comes down to one question: Did the customer click the “buy” button, or not? Why they do (or don’t) isn’t an easy answer, but there is no doubt that customer experience plays a major role in making the sale. Ecommerce leaders must invest in the customer experience from start to finish with special attention on the checkout experience.
Start building an improved checkout for your customers by implementing checkout improvements like optimizing the omnichannel experience, providing multiple payment options and using artificial intelligence (AI) to automate key steps of the buying process.
Step 1: Welcome all customers with an expedited checkout screen
Ecommerce leaders spend significant portions of their budgets on customer acquisition. That’s the right place to begin, but there’s more to do once you get the shoppers into your storefront (virtual or brick-and-mortar). All the time, money and resources spent on attracting customers are wasted when shoppers can’t complete their checkouts in a timely and easy manner.
A seamless payment process that removes barriers to completing purchases is integral to your customer experience strategy. When you make it easy for customers to pay for their purchases, they’ll remember the visit to your site as a positive shopping experience. The more you can do to keep customers coming back, the better.
Think about the shopping journey from the customer’s perspective. Once they hit your website, they’ve likely put in a lot of work researching the product they’re looking to buy. They finally found the item they’ve been looking for. It’s the right price. It even includes bonuses like free two-day shipping. There’s just one problem — checkout requires an account.
Shoppers don’t want to create another account. According to a joint white paper produced by Signifyd and ecommerce solution providers like Magento and Vertex, 35 percent of users cite account creation as the main reason they leave the checkout experience without completing their purchases.
When a shopper chooses to buy something from a new website, they’re often required to create an account. It seems like a small ask from the merchant’s point of view, but for the customer, it’s enough to bring the sale to a screeching halt.
Ecommerce leaders can design a checkout experience that streamlines checkout by providing a guest checkout feature for customers who aren’t ready to create an account, based on Userzoom suggestions. Guest and express checkouts can feature minimalist design, with all required fields displayed on the same page. Others can be bare bones, just asking for an email address to confirm the order. However you decide to streamline your guest checkout experience, keep ease of use in mind.
If account creation is essential to your strategy (one example could be for data collection), put the account creation requirement at the start of the customer journey. Placing the account creation requirement up front improves customer experience in a few key ways. It sets the tone for the interaction with your website right away, with no unpleasant surprises at the end. It allows retailers to recognize their customers sooner in the transaction, which directly influences the likelihood to close the sale. A familiar login earlier in the shopping experience provides customers with a more personalized experience and helps the retailer understand customer preferences.
A faster, easier checkout experience is the first step to ensuring that customers will click the “buy” button. The next task is to make sure they can quickly and easily pay for their purchases.
Step 2: Prioritize payment method options
A Baymard Institute study found that eight percent of shoppers abandon their carts because of too few payment methods available at checkout. Customers have more ways to pay than ever before, so retailers must keep up by accepting payments from payment processors like PayPal, virtual wallets like Apple Pay or even cash, like some Walmart online transactions can support (and which is great for supporting BOPIS).
Here’s another area where your streamlined checkout process with a guest or express checkout feature can shine. An expedited checkout screen can include a one-step payment option, like clicking to pay with PayPal. Pare down the required fields to the essentials of email address (to deliver order confirmations, receipts and other essential information to the customer) and payment method, and watch your cart abandonment rates go down.
The Signifyd white paper also presents the option of using services that allow the customer to delay or finance their payments. Consumers used to be limited by the capital they had on hand to complete an online shopping transaction. With services like Klarna, Bread and Afterpay, retailers can reach customers who need to pay over time. The whitepaper cites this as particularly effective in reducing cart abandonment rates for orders of $150 or more.
“We conducted a survey in 2017 that showed customers want the freedom to pay for purchases over time,” said Malin Eriksson, North America CEO, Klarna. “We found 47 percent of those surveyed would like to be presented with financing options online, and 75 percent would be likely to make a purchase at a merchant that offered financing over one that didn’t.”
Offering more ways to pay opens up a broader customer base. Anyone who wants to purchase your goods and services is your customer. You no longer have to lose them due to an inability to pay the full amount of a purchase upfront. If this sounds like too much risk to accept, know that pay-by-invoice or instant financing partners assume the risk, while you, the merchant, make the previously unattainable sale.
Retailers can build trust in their omnichannel experiences by including trustworthy payment brands in their checkout processes.
Step 3: Fight fraud with automation
Automation is solving problems across every sector, and making a significant impact in ecommerce fraud protection. The need for fraud protection is clear — Business Insider reports that retailers lost an estimated $8.6 billion in falsely declined transactions by U.S. ecommerce merchants in 2016 alone, including $2.1 billion more than the $6.5 billion in fraud they would prevent.
Authenticating customer identity helps reduce the risk of fraud and false declines. Big data and machine learning can produce faster, more accurate decisions on whether orders are fraudulent or should be shipped. That greatly reduces the need for manual order reviews and ensures that orders pass quickly through fraud checks and on to fulfillment.
Retailers that invest in optimizing their checkout processes with faster checkout pages and a wider variety of payments can watch all their hard work go out the window if they don’t also implement an automated fraud protection tool. Fear of fraud is real. Merchants should be vigilant in preventing fraud losses. But a legitimate customer won’t care why you declined their order — and they won’t ever forgive the merchant who couldn’t explain why a perfectly good order wasn’t approved.
Reliable fraud protection helped ReserveBar prioritize customer service while optimizing their fraud protection through automation. ReserveBar offers premium spirits on its website, making the business a prime target for fraudsters. After monitoring its losses and declining orders that seemed suspicious, ReserveBar implemented Signifyd to protect its customer experience and secure every sale. With advanced real-time machine learning and a nearly unlimited amount of data from a global network of ecommerce merchants, Signifyd instantly validates every order on ReserveBar’s site, allowing for maximum sales with minimal cart abandonment. Signifyd analyzes fraud faster and more accurately than manual review, allowing retailers to remove the friction from orders that are delayed or mistakenly denied.
Shoppers will bail on a website that doesn’t meet their needs. The three topics we shared — account creation, payment options and fraud automation — are a few of the essential get-rights to reduce cart abandonment.
Trust means everything for your customers
Customers who feel they can’t trust a merchant — at any time during the buying journey — won’t commit to starting or continuing a buying relationship. The Baymard Institute’s 2018 report on cart abandonment issues lists the top 10 reasons why customers fail to complete a purchase on an ecommerce website. Each reason ultimately comes down to one idea: trust.
Providing more payment options shows customers that a merchant understands their needs. A short and quick checkout process proves that a merchant respects their customers’ time. Reliable fraud protection removes the uncertainty of each transaction and allows the merchant to build a stronger relationship with customers.
Get more insights on how to improve your customer checkout journey in “6 Key Components Of A Better Checkout Experience,” an e-book produced by Signifyd and solution providers including Vertex, Magento and Amazon Pay. The case studies and insights in “6 Key Components Of A Better Checkout Experience” can help merchants optimize their checkout processes for higher conversion rates.
Download the ebook here.