The internet, social media, and e-commerce advancements have enabled brands to have a global market presence, providing consumers with access to a brand’s products as well as its competitors’ products from anywhere, at any time. While this global reach is beneficial, it also makes it harder for brands to differentiate themselves and offer unique selling points (USP).

The retail industry has become increasingly competitive, making it more challenging to attract and retain customers. However, research has shown that providing a positive customer experience is a key driver of customer loyalty. A study by Econsultancy found that 82% of UK consumers prioritise customer experience over price. Improving the customer payment journey could be the most effective way to foster repeat business and retain customers.

Mastering the online customer experience is a complex task that encompasses various elements. The payment journey, in particular, plays a critical role in determining customer conversion. A smooth and secure payment process can greatly influence a customer’s decision to complete a purchase, but even more importantly, it can impact their likelihood of returning to make future purchases.

The payment journey typically consists of the following elements:

  1. Product selection: Items are added to the consumers cart.
  2. Payment method decision: Preferred method of payment is selected.
  3. Payment processing: Payment is processed and funds are transferred.
  4. Confirmation: Successful, or unsuccessful, payment notification is given.

While the elements of the payment journey may seem straightforward, in practice, many brands fall short at the final hurdle. Based on my experience of analysing numerous checkouts, it’s surprising how often this occurs. If you’re looking to improve your payment journey and increase conversion, consider these top 4 recommendations:

  1. Deliver multiple payment methods: As per a YouGov study, 25% of consumers have abandoned a purchase due to their preferred payment method not being accepted. To avoid such situations, retailers can offer various payment options like Apple & Google PayBuy Now Pay LaterPay By Bank and a Saved Card option which will in turn increase the conversion rate.
  2. Prioritise security: Implementing small security measures such as BIN validation, where a customer enters their card number and the card scheme logo appears, can greatly enhance trust. A recent survey by ClearSale found that 83% of consumers are more likely to shop on websites that clearly communicate and display their fraud prevention efforts.
  3. Leverage customer data: By using customer data and implementing address validation solutions, retailers can not only speed up the checkout process but also reduce input errors. This can include automatically filling in shipping and billing information, as well as remembering a customer’s previous payment methods for future purchases.
  4. Simplify the flow: From a customer’s perspective, the checkout process is the final step in their decision to make a purchase. After browsing through the store, selecting products and making choices, the customer’s ultimate goal is to complete the purchase. Therefore, it’s essential for retailers to make the checkout process as smooth and efficient as possible.

In short, the online customer payment journey is a crucial part of the overall customer experience. With the online retail space growing and becoming more competitive, a seamless, secure and personalised payment experience can give retailers that competitive edge they need to stand out. Offering multiple payment methods at checkout, prioritising security, leveraging customer data, and simplifying the flow of the checkout process are all key strategies for retailers looking to optimise their payment journey and gain a competitive advantage.

So, there you have it. It’s important to keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all approach and that consistent testing with different elements is crucial. Remember, even the smallest change could eventually lead to a significant increase in revenue.