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How to Simplify the Payment Process for Online Shoppers (And Not Risk Losing a Sale)

With all of the time and energy you have invested in building your business, there is still one aspect that you are likely overlooking - ease of checkout. You got the customer to your website, you have made you product or service attractive and your copy effective, and you have succeeded in converting a “window shopper” into a paying customer. Now they just have to pay. Do not lose a sale this far along the process - optimize your checkout page so you have complete control over the checkout process and ensure a sale that won’t leave customers frustrated before they leave your site.

1. Variety is the spice of life

Different people prefer different payment methods and the more options you provide raise your chances of meeting the needs and wants of your customers. Although you can’t satisfy everyone, your goal should be to please as many customers as possible, especially when they are about to part with their hard earned money and may feel hesitation. Generally, you should allow direct bank transfers, payments from all major credit cards, and other online portals where customers may keep their money, like PayPal.

2. Live free… or lose a customer

So many sites require registration to make a purchase or even to browse. Customers are not thrilled with additional steps in the checkout process and extra passwords and usernames (and ensuing emails) are just annoying. Shoppers may find creating an account to be too intrusive just to make a purchase and is a primary conversion killer. Set up a “guest checkout” option in addition to the “create an account” feature.

3. The devil is in the details

Your site is entirely your own from the homepage to the checkout page. Everything across your site should be uniform and branded, using the same design, colors, and fonts for a seamless user experience. Some online payment providers offer a frontend ready-made checkout page, but in this case you are relinquishing a lot of control over your page, which is acting as your store. Would you allow a payment processor to paint a wall in your brick-and-mortar shop? Additionally, in the age of scammers, customers can feel skeptical and ill-at-ease from a checkout page that is completely unlike the rest of the website.

4. To err is human

It is very simple and very common to make a mistake during checkout, especially with zip codes, email addresses, and other information. You goal is to fool-proof this process. Create an error message in the field in which it occurred, not just the top of the page (some people may not realize that they need to scroll down to find the error), and save the information that is submitted so customers don’t have to retype the entire checkout page because of one little mistake.

5. Mind your own beeswax

Only ask for essential information lest you scare off potential customers. Don’t scare them off by asking for unnecessary information and, most importantly, don’t create hurdles in the checkout process. Each text field to fill out in the checkout form slows down the transaction and while some of them are crucial, many are not. Surveys have shown that more than 10 percent of adult customers have abandoned purchases due to too much information being requested.

6. Better safe than sorry

Consider the recent data and security breaches across major retailers and websites, not to mention spammers and other hackers, and then view your checkout process through the eyes of your customer. Be sure to showcase your security measures and provide peace of mind. You’ll want to have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate to provide a secure connection and to encrypt credit card information. You’ll also have to comply with the standards of the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC). After you’ve gone through all the necessary steps, proudly display your compliance logo on your website and checkout page.

7. Your wish is my command

Eliminate all confusion and create clear calls to action. When a customer adds something to their basket, do not show options that just say “continue” or “checkout,” but rather “continue to checkout” or “continue shopping.” The less thinking the customer has to do about the checkout process, the more he or she can focus on the great products and services you are offering.

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