How You Can Make Online Payment Easier For Your Customers
Online marketing and e-commerce can be a major income generator for businesses of all kinds and sizes. E-commerce can help you make sales and win new customers around the clock, even while you are fast asleep or nowhere near your computer. If you own a local retail business, e-commerce can be a wonderful complement to your “in person” sales and marketing efforts.
But, done incorrectly, e-commerce can also frustrate you and cause you to lose sales. It can drive potential customers away from your business and directly to your competitors. So it's critically important that you do e-commerce right if you are going to be successful at it.
And a big part of a an extremely successful e-commerce program is making the online payment and checkout process super simple for your customers. The goal of this article is to help you do that.
If you read this blog often enough, you'll notice two common themes:
The online marketing process is fragile and can be easily interrupted, causing you to lose sales
Confusion kills conversions
If buying from your online store is hard, time-consuming work, your potential customers will dump you like a sack of rocks and flee to one of your competitors. If your checkout process is labor intensive or leaves shoppers scratching their heads in confusion, be prepared for your conversion rate, and your e-commerce income, to plummet.
So make the process of paying and checking out as easy as possible. The following steps will help you do that.
1. Don't Require Shoppers to Create an Account with you Before They Can Buy
Your shopper probably has a lot of online accounts to keep track of already. If you require him to create another one, there's a good chance he'll abandon the buying process. So don't require it, if you can get around it. If possible, give him the option to “check out as guest”, and make it crystal clear that he has that option; make it easy for him to check out and pay through that option.
A disclaimer: there are times when you may want to break this “rule”. And there may be times when there's no way to get around requiring your customers to set up an account with you. A good example would include when you are selling a monthly online membership to a premium information forum.
If you must require your customers to set up an account with a username and password before they make an e-commerce purchase from you, make the setup process simple.
There's a “big picture” theme at work here that should guide you in your e-commerce and indeed all of your online and offline marketing efforts. Understand your customer; put yourself in his shoes, and think hard about what kind of user experience you are offering as you market to him. This is critical if you are going to enjoy a high level of marketing success.
Provide a marketing experience he loves, one that he can't wait to tell his friends about, an experience that makes him eager to buy from you again and again, and you'll reap some very nice rewards.
Burden him with a cumbersome, unpleasant user experience and your conversion rate (and your company's sales revenue) will pay a steep price.
2. Make It Easy For Shoppers To Fix Mistakes
We're human, and we make mistakes. When we're online, we tend to be busy and distracted. When we're making a purchase and filling out even the simplest of checkout forms, it's easy to mistype a credit card number or forget to include a shipping address. We've all done something like this before.
When this happens during an e-commerce checkout, how frustrating is it to get a vague notice – one that leaves you trying to guess what the mistake was, near the top of the page, nowhere near the area where the mistake was made?
Don't let this happen to your customers on your checkout pages. Make the error message and action needed to resolve it clear and easy to understand.
Use an e-commerce platform that allows you to put the error notification message immediately next to the entry field where the correction needs to be made.
3. Reassure Your Customers About Their Privacy And Security During Checkout
A major factor that costs online merchants an enormous amount of money because of abandoned checkouts is a concern about security. A survey by eConsultancy showed that 58% of online shoppers who abandoned the checkout process did so because of security concerns.
Chances are a large portion of your customers are at least somewhat worried about this, and it's probably costing you money. So what can you do to fight this problem?
You need to protect your customers' credit card and other personal information from hackers; an SSL certificate for your site is a solid step you should take. Also, make sure your online checkout process measures up to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). This can help you fight credit card fraud on behalf of your customers.
Please note: not only do you want to take these important information security steps, you want to plainly and clearly tell your customers that you are taking these steps for them. This can go a long way toward reducing your shopping cart abandonment rate, helping you to enjoy higher conversion rates and more sales!
4. Give Your Customers Several Different Payment Options At Checkout
Think back to what we said a moment ago about user experience and putting yourself in your online customers' shoes. Do you enjoy buying from an online merchant that makes the shopping and checkout process time consuming and difficult for you? Of course you don't!
Neither do your customers. They want you to make it easy for them. One way you can do that is to offer them several options when it comes time for them to pay you. People have different ways they prefer to pay. If Visa is the only credit card you take, and a portion of your potential customer base prefers American Express, chances are you will cost yourself quite a few sales.
If some of your prospects refuse to use credit cards and you don't accommodate them, chances are it will cost you. To get more sales from this group, accept PayPal and debit cards.
It's not necessary to offer every possible method of payment, but be aware of what methods your target audience prefers and offer those.
Is Your Online Marketing Like A Snowball Rolling Downhill? It Should Be!
To be effective, your online marketing process needs to build momentum in your shoppers' minds and hearts.
It's been said that effective selling requires a series of “Yeses” from the prospect. It's no different in online marketing and sales; you need for each part of your online marketing machine to lead your potential customer to say “Yes!” to the next step.
If at any time in the shopping process this momentum is stalled out, you'll likely lose the sale.
A place where you must have this momentum is on your landing pages. Indeed a solid, well-designed landing page with persuasive copy, a strong call to action and relevant graphics and images can not only maintain the momentum you've built up in your e-commerce shoppers' minds, it can strengthen it. It can lead to more sales for you!
But not all landing page platforms are created equal, and this is an area where you don't want to settle for second best. You want the best landing page templates you can get. You want Lander, the easiest-to-use landing page platform in the Universe!
Why? Consider this: not only is Lander a snap to set up and use, not only is it engineered to help you enjoy a higher conversion rate, not only does it offer you a, clean, simple intuitive dashboard to help you quickly determine how well your online marketing campaigns are doing, it comes standard with
- Advanced A/B testing capability
- Built-in video support
- An easy-to-use form building tool
- PayPal integration
With Lander, you just might enjoy more successful e-commerce campaigns. And even though it comes standard with loads of features (like those in the list above) that will give you loads of benefits, here's another “feature” you might like the most: you can try any of Lander's state-of-the-art landing page templates for free!
Got questions about Lander and how it can be an integral part of your next wildly successful e-commerce campaign? We have answers, and we'd love to visit with you. Contact us today!