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By Tom Wintaugh
Leverage payment gateway integration and choice of providers to increase sales and deliver a more satisfying customer experience.
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Payments are frequently overlooked as effective ecommerce conversion drivers. The main function of payment gateway integration services is to automate the transfer of funds and facilitate completed transactions—however this “last stop” of the customer shopping experience can also be a powerful tool for making the transaction happen in the first place. By thoughtfully integrating the right payment options on your site, you can encourage conversion and give customers more reasons to click “Buy Now.” In this blog, we'll explore ways that ecommerce businesses can harness payments to boost conversions, while enhancing the overall shopping experience.
Payments are an essential component of a customer’s shopping experience, and can create a strong impression of the quality of that experience. In fact, modern consumers are quite familiar with online payment systems, as four out of five Americans used some form of digital payment in recent years. The inclusion of familiar payment methods can boost trust and credibility right off the bat, as customers who see a payment brand they have worked with in the past will feel more confident in the security of their transactions.
Businesses that offer multiple payment options are accommodating a diverse array of customer preferences in advance. This increases the likelihood that each buyer will find an option they prefer, and improves their odds of completing the transaction. Allowing customers to use their preferred payment method helps them get through the purchase process quickly and efficiently, by reducing any hesitation or “onboarding” time required to use an unfamiliar service. Convenience and accessibility are vital for a successful shopping experience. Streamlined payment options minimize checkout abandonment because they ensure that customers’ time, convenience, and satisfaction are prioritized.
A “payment gateway” is a service that processes online transactions for ecommerce websites. It acts as an intermediary between your online store and the customer's financial institution, securely transferring payment information. We wrote about the core features to look for when choosing a payment provider here. In addition to managing transactions and fund transfer, here’s how integrating a payment gateway into your ecommerce website can also substantially increase your conversions:
Streamlining the checkout process: A well-integrated payment gateway simplifies the checkout process, making it faster and more user-friendly. A smooth checkout experience reduces friction for the customer, increasing the likelihood of completing a purchase and boosting your conversion rates. Read more about different types of checkouts here.
Offering multiple payment options: A versatile payment gateway supports a variety of payment methods (e.g., bank transfer, credit card, etc.), catering to a range of customer preferences. By providing shoppers with a choice of payment options, you can reach a broader audience and accommodate those different preferences. Payment choice not only improves customer satisfaction but also drives conversions, as customers are more likely to make a purchase when their preferred payment method is available.
Enhancing security and trust: 85% of shoppers say that knowing a company’s data and privacy policies is important before making a purchase. A secure payment gateway adheres to PCI DSS compliance, ensures that customer data is protected, and in turn, fosters trust among customers. Shoppers are more likely to complete a purchase on a website that they perceive as secure, driving conversions and increasing revenue.
Reducing cart abandonment: Cart abandonment is a significant issue in ecommerce, and optimizing the payment process can help minimize the risk of lost sales. The payment page and process are a seller’s last chance to reassure customers and inspire them to purchase the items in their carts.
PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance ensures data security by establishing stringent standards to protect sensitive customer information from potential breaches. As businesses adhere to these standards, they contribute to trust among shoppers and encourage them to complete purchases. Furthermore, PCI DSS compliance mitigates the overall risk of fraud, allowing businesses to maintain a positive reputation and continue driving conversions. By adopting these standards (and describing compliance right on the payment page), businesses can protect customers, avoid non-compliance penalties, and add authority and trustworthiness to their total online experience.
To fully leverage the potential of payment gateway integration services, it is crucial to consider the role payments play in your specific online store, keeping the unique needs of your industry, product requirements, sales channel, and customer preference front of mind. Tailored payment options allow you to inspire more conversions in 4 key ways:
By customizing the total payment process, you can provide a seamless and consistent experience that aligns with your brand identity and all of the other pages/content which comprise your website. This might include formatting the layout of the payment page, incorporating branding elements, and writing copy which suits the priorities of your shoppers. A cohesive shopping experience should help the customer feel like they are being guided through a well thought-out purchase journey from start to finish—we wrote about the benefits of a cohesive shopping experience here.
Different payment services can be configured to accommodate a variety of payment methods, including credit cards, digital wallets, direct deposit, “buy now/pay later” short term financing, and other alternative payment solutions. Not every business needs to offer every payment method, but it is a best practice to research and provide the methods your particular customers like to use. Read about how using one of the most popular payment providers can improve sales here.
A customized payment integration allows your ecommerce business to refine the payment process and providers as conditions change. This includes incorporating new payment brands, or perhaps removing payment solutions that no longer fit. As new providers become available, businesses can evolve the selections they offer to shoppers, ensuring that their online store remains current and competitive.
Payment integrations can be customized to work seamlessly with other ecommerce tools, such as inventory management systems, marketing automation, and customer data management software. This helps to streamline your overall ecommerce operations and drive conversions by providing a cohesive, efficient, data-driven shopping experience for customers.
To start leveraging payment gateway integration services and using them to drive conversions, begin by taking the following steps:
Assess the payment methods you are currently offering on your website and identify any issues or gaps that may be getting in the way of conversions. Are processes streamlined and easy to follow? Is the total checkout experience aligned with your brand, products, and style? Does your payment page feel intuitive and easy to use? Do you have more abandoned carts than you'd like?
Investigate various payment gateway providers and choose one that aligns with your ideal shopping experience, offers a wide range of payment methods, is compatible with your ecommerce platform, and adheres to PCI DSS compliance.
Using historical data, direct feedback, and an understanding of your customer personas, consider the types of payments your customers prefer to use. Think about any natural associations your brand or products have with specific methods of payment, if any (i.e. higher priced products which are frequently purchased with “Buy Now Pay Later” payment modes).
Next, consider any special requirements your products may have, such as compliance and safety regulations, speed of delivery, or return policies. Do any of these factors require special payment options, documentation, or needs?
Consider working with a payment gateway integration services provider to implement the payment options you want to offer. This type of service can connect data flows which are specific to your ecommerce platform, and manage any unique considerations that arise.
Regularly review your payment process performance and gather customer feedback to identify areas for improvement. In the same way you might use analytics to track page traffic, run assessments of your payment provider usage. Which options do customers choose most? Which provider is associated with the most completed transactions? Adjust your offerings based on this feedback.
Customizing payments to suit your specific online store, products, and customers can significantly improve conversions in your ecommerce business. Implementing these strategies will help you turn ecommerce payments themselves into one more effective tool in your arsenal for driving conversions. By providing a secure, seamless, and personalized checkout experience, you can streamline processes, enhance the total shopping experience, and at the same time, give your shoppers more reasons to convert.
Katy Ellquist, Miva’s Digital Marketing Strategist, is an accomplished writer, marketer, and social media analyst who has created sophisticated content campaigns for a broad range of professional clients. She brings to Miva a complex understanding of ecommerce trends and techniques, building upon extensive digital agency experience and a prior role as direct liaison to Miva’s top accounts. Katy is a regular contributor to the Miva blog, covering essential ecommerce topics like design & development strategy, site optimization, and omnichannel selling, with the goal of increasing the actionable knowledgebase of the entire Miva community.
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