Making it as easy as possible for your customers to pay is essential for increasing conversions and sales. This is why your checkout page is critical. It’s the final stop for people shopping on your website. It’s the place where they hand over their credit card information and finally part with their hard-earned cash.
Terminologies – A payment gateway is your doorway to making sales online. A Payment gateway will allow you to charge your customer’s credit/debit card with the purchase he/she makes online. Payment processors or Acquirers are the financial institutions that work in the background to provide all the payment processing services used by an online merchant. These companies usually have partnerships with other companies that directly deal with consumers or merchants. In the past, these were different entities, but now, it is more common that these are all in one. Merchant accounts are the type of bank accounts that authorize you to accept credit or debit cards payments online. These accounts are required if you want to use a payment gateway to process transactions from your website.
Your checkout page is where window shoppers become paying customers. Therefore, here are tips you should follow:
- Allow Payments without Requiring an Account – Honestly, do we really need another username and password to remember? I doubt it! And why would anyone want to put up a wall like that preventing people from paying. Forcing people to sign up for an account is just too intrusive for first-time customers, and it’s a major conversion killer.
- Provide a Number of Payment Methods -It sounds obvious, but there are websites that offer only one payment method. However, data highlighted in an infographic from Milo shows that 56% of respondents expect a variety of payment options on the checkout page.
- Is the payment gateway supported on your eCommerce platform? – Whichever platform you’ve chosen, there will be a range of off-the-shelf plugins or extensions to help you integrate with major payment gateways. Where possible, choose a payment gateway that already has a plugin for your platform.
- Major Named brand processing like PayPal does work. – You don’t necessarily need to limit yourself to one payment gateway. Lots of ecommerce platforms allow you to offer multiple payment options to your customers. The most popular ‘secondary’ option to offer is PayPal. Lots of consumers have PayPal accounts and many of them prefer to pay by PayPal rather than enter credit card details into yet another website. Even if you don’t use PayPal as your main payment gateway, consider offering PayPal as an alternative way for customers to pay. It can also be a good backup in case of any problems with your primary payment gateway or merchant account. You will also “borrow the reputation” onto your website with large companies like these.
- Deliver a Seamless Design – From a branding perspective, you’ll want to keep everything as consistent as possible. This means using the same colors, fonts, and design on your checkout page as on the rest of your website, so you can raise brand recognition for your business. Sure, certain online payment providers deliver the frontend ready-made for you, but you give up control over the look and feel of your checkout page. Any variance, and you lose the confidence of your buyers and you will be viewed as unprofessional or worse, as a scam.
- Don’t Redirect People – You worked so hard to get people to your website. Why send them away to another website to pay? Even if you use services like PayPal, make sure the coding keeps the customer on your site. Your business’s name needs to be the last thing on their minds!
- Provide Reassurances on Security and Privacy – Whenever personal information is involved, always go out of your way to showcase the security measures you have in place. Make sure your policy is up to date and easily accessible. A recent survey by eConsultancy found that 58% of respondents dropped out of the checkout page due to concerns about payment security. You’ll want to have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate for your website in order to provide a secure connection and encrypt credit card information. Additionally, you’ll want to comply with the standards of the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC). PCI compliance is enforced by payment card companies, while the council itself manages the security standards for anyone who stores, transmits, or processes cardholder data.
- Make Errors Easy to Fix – It’s a given that people make mistakes. Sometimes a zip code gets overlooked or someone forgets the “@” in their email address. In any case, your task here is to point out the error and get folks to correct it. Some checkout pages display an error message at the top of the page, but people don’t realize they need to scroll all the way up to find out what went wrong. Ideally, you want an error message to appear in the field in which it occurred.
- Ask for Essential Information Only – Similar to when you’re building an email list, you want to limit the amount of information you request to the essentials! If you ask for too much information, you lose customers. They either think it is taking too long or they leave because they feel like you are asking too much thus causing them to question why.
- Have Clear Calls to Action – Don’t leave people guessing what to do next! When someone adds an item to their basket, make it crystal clear they can “Continue to checkout” or “Continue Shopping.” The trick is to make it specific and avoid being ambiguous with CTAs like “Continue,” “Checkout,” or “Apply.”
If you require more information, or you would prefer us to set up a processing service for you, please feel free to contact us