As demand for online shopping exhibits continued growth, the user experience is fundamental to avoiding shopping cart abandonment. For online businesses looking to capitalise on this demand and capture market share, payments will play a critical role in each consumer’s e-commerce experience, as it inevitably converts to sales.
Which-50 recently sat down with Braintree’s head of sales and market development, Carolyn Breeze, to consider the chief reasons for shopping cart abandonment and how to implement strategies that nurture consumer needs.
Breeze stated the three most important reasons e-commerce sites fail to convert sales are poor user experience, websites that have not been optimised for the customer’s device, and lack of transparency.
When it comes to poor user experience, Breeze said it is usually because the checkout process is too long or complicated when it should be an easy, hassle-free experience — this is why consumers opted for the virtual offering in the first place, rather than going into the physical store.
“Consumers are human and get easily distracted and easily frustrated,” Breeze said.
“When consumers reach a point of frustration when browsing online, it usually means the website is difficult to navigate, and the customer gets to a point where they are completely disinterested in completing the purchase.”
Breeze explained the consumer journey starts well before they reach the website. Thus the user experience once on the site needs to be seamless, in line with the ‘idea’ sold during the original marketing efforts and keeping front-of-mind the cost it takes for marketers to direct consumers to a website.
“The onus is on the merchant, as the shopper only thinks about what they want to buy,” she said.
Frictionless payments that round up the consumers’ time on the website is the final and most essential ingredient in converting to sales, according to Breeze.
“The ability to pay for a product or service via a fast, intuitive platform helps ensure customers will return to a site again,” she said.
This means a payments platform that addresses shoppers’ need for speed and efficiency but is scalable, allowing for international business growth, and uses future-proof technology.
“A good payments partner offers the most relevant payment methods for merchants and their customers and can enable this in just one integration, significantly helping sellers with common pain points such as conversion and reliability,” Breeze said.
She also noted despite smartphone proliferation and rising mobile transactions; many e-commerce websites still have not been optimised for the customer’s device, severely impacting user experience.
“Having the online experience optimised for their chosen device, without pop-up ads, really makes a difference to sales conversion,” Breeze said.
“Think clunky screen views, the need to zoom in and out and scroll for what feels like forever — therefore optimisation is important and makes a large difference.”
She stressed it is important to know the customer, see what they like and understand what they will come to expect. Once a holistic understanding of the customer has been established, it will enable the ability to create a seamless customer experience — regardless of the device they are on. Moreover, this will help to reduce shopping cart abandonment.
It is also important that the website whether its mobile or desktop, does not crash when it gets to the payment section, Breeze cautioned.
“There are many times where you input all your credit card details and then, blank – nothing happens, you can not hit back, and if you hit refresh, you have lost all your information.
“At this point, it seems dodgy, and the consumer probably thinks the website is unsecured, so they abandon their shopping cart.
“When it comes to capturing the payment, the simpler it is for the user, the better,” she maintained.
Finally, Breeze points to a lack of transparency at various stages in the e-commerce journey that impedes on an online retailer’s ability to convert sales on their websites.
“Whether it is the incorrect total pricing of an item, additional shipping costs or taxes, currency conversion fees — if the consumer is not aware of these additions — they are likely to get stumped at the end of the process and decide it is not worth it,” she said.
Breeze advised being transparent early on is enormously helpful — and in this respect, a payment platform can be crucial.
She recommends using a payments provider that can accept and process more than 100 currencies ensuring there are no surprises for customers.
Also high on the checklist should be ensuring payment platforms are PCI compliant. This means customer information is safeguarded, which in-turn ensures consumer confidence when shopping online.
“If there is trust when it comes to the final part of the process — the purchase — customers will become return customers,” Breeze said.