Three ways retailers can future-proof the checkout process

With the rise of mobile traffic and voice search, how can ecommerce businesses keep up when it comes to the checkout experience?

Key takeaways

  • Over three quarters of shoppers abandon the items in their cart before purchasing
  • Extra shipping costs, having to create an account and an overly complex checkout among top reasons for cart abandonment
  • Retailers must go beyond checkout best practice and consider: optimizing for mobile, offering several payment options and exploring innovative ways to drive conversions.

The state of play: cart abandonment

In 2016, the percentage of people who abandoned their order instead of purchasing reached 76.8% on average across all sectors, rising by 2.4% between Q3 and Q4 2016 (SaleCycle). This statistic is surprising considering the rapid growth of the ecommerce market, which is estimated to grow to over $2.8bn by 2018.

So, what stops customers from converting? According to Baymard Institute, the top reasons customers chose to abandon their order were unexpected costs (61%), having to create an account (35%) and a long or complicated checkout process (27%).

Source

All these issues (with the exception of customers just conducting research) could be improved by simply following basic checkout design best practices. Whether that’s displaying shipping costs more clearly, offering an option to checkout as a guest, or making sure your security credentials are displayed prominently.

But ecommerce is constantly evolving. While bringing your checkout experience up to date is important, your strategy must also be ready to adapt to changing customer expectations.

How can marketers prepare for the future?

1) Optimize for mobile

Mobile commerce is on the rise. In 2016, mobile and tablet orders made up over 30% of all ecommerce transactions, up 3% from 2015. This was mostly driven by mobile, which grew 4% from 2015-16, compared to tablet, which shrunk by 1%.

Source

The volume of mobile traffic continues to outpace desktop worldwide, yet mobile conversion rates for ecommerce remain low compared to desktop – just 1.55% for smartphones in Q4 2016 according to Smart Insights.

A poor mobile shopping experience is the most likely explanation, with Skava reporting that 88% of mobile shoppers have negative user experiences. Common issues cited were:

  • Poorly-optimized websites that are difficult to navigate
  • Product images too small
  • Checkout process difficult to complete
  • Concerns over security

It’s clear there’s work to be done to improve conversion in this area. Yet despite this, 44% of retailers have never reviewed their payment processes. But with Google’s Mobile-First Index pencilled in for a release in late 2017, time is running out for retailers who continue to ignore mobile.

Luckily, payment vendors are working to make it easy. Payment provider Klarna, for example, have developed a ‘pay-on-delivery’ system, implementing it in partnership with footwear brand SCHUH.

It promises double digit increases in sales conversion and caters to mobile users, allowing them to skip the clumsy payment process entirely, checkout securely and pay with their phone once the item arrives.

Pay by Bank App is another innovative solution, simplifying the checkout experience offering mobile users the option to pay via their banking app, piggbacking an existing mobile-optimized service to provide an easy, one-click payment option.

2) Offer several payment options

Offering customers multiple ways to pay ensures your checkout experience is easy wherever customers are – at home, on their mobile or even abroad.

PayPal has been around since 1988, and was the first third-party services to provide the flexibility of a digital wallet on a large scale. Today, there are hundreds of payment options for retailers to consider. Digital wallets like Google Wallet and Dwolla are now widespread amongst customers, and third-party integrations like Pay with Amazon allow customers to complete their purchase using their Amazon details – sparing them the hassle of entering their card details at all.

Other vendors like clearXchange (US only) utilise P2P payments – allowing smaller retailers to request money from customers and have it deposited directly into their bank account. And with the rising profile (and value) of cryptocurrencies, offering the option to pay with Bitcoin gives businesses access to a loyal, tech-focused community of customers – as well as driving brand awareness.

Crytocurrencies like Bitcoin are becoming increasingly relevant to mainstream customers

3) Explore new ways to drive conversions

Conversion incentives like discount codes are a reliable way to improve your conversion rate and acquire new customers. But they do nothing to build brand loyalty – customers are fickle and most will go where the goods are cheapest until they have a reason not to.

Belgian start-up LuckyCycle think they’ve solved that problem by gamifying the checkout process. Instead of being offering a 10% discount every time, shoppers are offered a one-in-ten chance to win their entire basket free.

LuckyCycle claims it doubles CTRs and leads to an average 25% lift in conversion rate. Metrics like average basket spend and social sharing are also improved, as customers are keen to share their success. Businesses can set win rates as well as choosing for several types of game. What’s more, it’s available via an API and no change to POS processes is needed.

In a market where customers will abandon purchases because they couldn’t find a coupon code, marketers must use all means necessary to hold the user’s attention and see them through the checkout process.

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