Tips for businesses to streamline their payment processes over Black Friday
Over the years, Black Friday has become one of the most sought-after days on the retail calendar, not only for consumers, but for retailers and businesses offering their services and goods. For thousands of consumers, it’s a time to pick up some great deals and for retailers alike, it’s an opportunity to boost sales and make up for profits lost earlier in the year.
While this is an opportune time, businesses need to ensure that they do not disappoint their consumers. In addition to having sufficient stock and the appropriate IT infrastructure for online payments, businesses must also be confident that there will be no hassles for customers who are processing payments
By minimising the barriers to buying, the payments industry will see faster checkouts, more streamlined transactions, and an overall improvement in access to the digital economy.
Here’s a checklist of what businesses can do to streamline their payment process.
Firstly, the one way to improve the online shopping experience, not just for Black Friday, is to offer as many payment options as possible. This should be displayed from the very beginning. The last thing a customer wants is to fill the shopping cart and when it comes to check out, they cannot make the transaction. It’s reported that 25% of end-users would be prepared to abandon an online store checkout page if their preferred payment method wasn't available1.
Businesses must also ensure that the final transaction is fuss-free. This will play a significant role in customer satisfaction, especially on a sale day like Black Friday when shoppers are likely to be spending slightly more. Include options like SnapScan, Zapper, Visa and Mastercard, etc. to cater to a wide range of shoppers.
The key to securing conversions is an easy check out process. Avoid using mandatory registration as this simplifies the whole process. 34% of customers abandon their carts2 because they have to create an account. All the information users need to register for an account is already collected during the transaction, so simply make it an option at checkout to add a password and create an account. Highlight the benefits of creating an account, and make sure it’s obvious that it’s optional. The easier you make it to sign up, the more customers will do it — and they’ll appreciate that it’s a choice, not a requirement.
Optimize your website for high traffic
The worst thing that can happen to you on Black Friday is your website crashes due to an influx of traffic. You’d need to test ahead of time and scale up where necessary. Consider upgrading your website’s hosting or getting a load balancer. These two will help your website manage high traffic.
The other important factor is to consider page speed. Time is essential. So don’t let customers move over to another store because your website is too slow to process orders.
Simplify the experience
Rather than redirecting users to an outside gateway and confusing cautious customers, try to keep users on your site. Avoid putting any confusing pop-ups or distracting ads anywhere in the checkout process — you want your consumers to be focused on finishing their purchase. Once they’ve paid, redirect them back to your homepage, so they have the option to keep browsing.
Keep it clear and concise
The last thing you want is a confused customer that wants to check out but can’t figure out how to make the payment. Ensure that you give clear directions and calls to action at every stage of the checkout process, so that they can follow the process without any hassles.
It’s important to keep the customer feeling like they’re in control and that they understand what’s happening. Make payment forms intuitive to decrease friction and increase customer trust in the process. One way to do this is to offer a progress bar at the top of the page, so users can always understand where they are in the process.
Retailers and businesses should also look for payment service providers that can offer timely expert support. If something goes wrong during Black Friday, every minute of downtime represents lost revenue. Having a support agent on hand to answer any customer queries helps maximise customer experience. Sometimes, this level of service makes or breaks the sale. Consumers are looking for immediate answers to their questions; anything less could delay the purchase or worse.
The checkout process doesn’t end when the customer pays. Sending a receipt is one easy way to make the end of the process pleasant for your customers — and you can use this chance to upsell or cross-sell, or offer a discount to encourage a purchase the next time they visit your site. Emailing an easy-to-understand receipt offers a natural ending point for what was hopefully a sleek payment process.
Stick to your promise
Buyers want a seamless shopping experience, and a successful e-commerce organisation should be able to deliver one – especially because technology exists to facilitate easy and convenient online interactions.
If a company promises efficient customer service and an unparalleled shopping experience, consumers are primed to expect the best.
Overall, it’s important to invest in quality technology and infrastructure that can support increased website traffic, overwhelming sales volumes and streamline payment processes. Site crashes and payment disruptions will only leave consumers frustrated and disappointed – especially if they’re shopping ‘on the clock’.