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Article 5 min read

Revamping the checkout experience

With the checkout point being such an important process for businesses, discover the ways they can enhance their checkout experience and attract more customers.

By Lilia Krauser, Staff Writer

Last updated December 1, 2022

The checkout point is the most important stage of the customer journey for retailers, a moment of truth in many ways. This is where all their efforts are about to pay off. Customers are interacting with their website, browsing a wide range of items available, progressively adding to their shopping basket and headed straight towards the checkout page. Yet, out of all these happy customers about to checkout, why do only 25 per cent successfully complete their purchase? The answer lies in the experience at this crucial make or break point.

With more customers shopping online today than ever before, the probability is high that they encounter an issue while checking out online. Online, customers can run into a wide range of setbacks such as a checkout window taking too long to load, having to create an account in order to checkout or simply having too many boxes to fill. In most cases, it results in a majority of customers (87 per cent) abandoning their shopping carts and searching for their items elsewhere. This is an opportunity lost for retailers.

It may seem apparent that retailers should prioritise a good checkout experience, however, many businesses are struggling to keep up with the dizzying pace of technology trends and innovations, and keeping up with ever-changing industry standards and customer expectations today. Plus, there are many concerns around the security of online payments which are causing customers to be wary about online purchases.

Let’s dive deeper into the trends currently shaping the payment industry, the decision-making role of customer service, and the ways businesses can ensure a simple, safe, and memorable user experience.

  1. Get behind the trends

    In the last couple of years, a number of trends have emerged which have strongly impacted the payment industry. These trends generally allow for a smoother, more convenient CX, something customers have not only grown to enjoy, but now also view as a necessity when purchasing certain products–especially online.

    Buy Now Pay Later services is one of the biggest trends to emerge in recent times. Because customers don’t have to pay for an item in full anymore, it’s very likely that offering these services could lead to increased purchases, as 57 per cent of businesses say they benefited [BNPL services] from increased checkouts and basket conversion on their website. Forty-seven per cent also reported that order value had also boosted thanks to these services.

    Contactless transitions are paving the way for convenience. While Apple and Google Pay were particularly popular on physical channels, these payment methods became increasingly popular online as well as in recent years. Customers can enjoy ordering their products online by double tapping on the side of their phones, instead of having to get up, find their wallets, and manually input their card information. And with less patient customers, they very well might switch to another competitor if you can’t meet their expectations.

  2. Secure payments are top of mind

    While these trends have strongly changed the checkout experience, other external factors are making customers cautious about online payments. In fact, the rise of cyberattacks and data breaches–many of which are in the retail sector–have customers thinking twice before putting down their payment details. In the third quarter of 2022 alone, worldwide data-breaches were up 167 per cent from the previous quarter, according to Statista. This affects customers, and ultimately sales, as almost half of UK customers won’t put down their payment details because the checkout page doesn’t seem secure (43 per cent).

    Fortunately, there are many ways businesses can make their checkout processes more secure. And while the idea of adding extra steps for security (i.e. two-factor authentication) may seem like the logical option here, only 40 per cent of UK customers would be happy with that decision. Instead, focus on using trusted third party providers such as PayPal or Visa Secure, and having a simple and straightforward UX.

  3. Get creative with your customer service

    It’s no surprise that customer service is important, especially when it comes to dealing with frustrated customers. And while many companies are investing in their customer service centres, many are still taking the ‘reactive’ approach.

    One popular way to be proactive is by adding a customer service pop-up window at the bottom of your website, enabling customers to reach out if they have a last-minute query, as they’re about to checkout. This allows for customers to connect with your customer service representatives the same way they would in-store with a sales staff member. So, if your customers discarded their baskets because they weren’t fully sure about the items they were planning on buying, a customer service pop-up window is definitely a solution.

  4. It’s all about UX simplicity

    We covered many ways to improve your checkout experience: keep up with the trends, stay secure, and get proactive with your customer service. But at the core of it all, is knowing and choosing wisely what you want to communicate with your customers on your checkout page, as asking them to provide too many details might undo all your efforts . At least that’s what over a third of UK customers say (36 per cent). Remember, your customers are looking for fast, easy, and convenient–so let’s give it to them.

    Simplify the checkout experience. Only add different payment methods when they smoothen your CX, such as checking out with Apple Pay or Google Pay. Another way to simplify the checkout process is by ensuring that customers can checkout as ‘guests’ instead of having to log in or create an account. This is usually because recovering passwords or activating accounts usually takes a lot longer than simply checking out. Plus, many customers might not want to create an account with a business, especially if it’s their first time purchasing from said business.

    The good news is, more than half of companies say they want to invest in more technologies and solutions that can help them keep up with customer expectations and add new ways to offer support. Unfortunately, in today’s climate, many might be left to choose between investing in their customer experience and cutting costs.

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