British retail habits are shifting. The well-documented trend towards online shopping, as evidenced by the demise of bricks-and-mortar brands and the rise of digital challengers such as ASOS, has seen us become a nation of click-happy shoppers. From fast fashion to furniture, we turn to e-commerce outlets to service an ever-expanding gamut of consumer needs.
Yet a less-discussed trend is the growing role of “almost shopping”. The practice of browsing online, adding items to your basket, heading to the payment page, then just… stopping there. A staggering 96.7 per cent of visits to e-commerce sites end before purchase, creating a headache for retailers and breeding a nation of basket-drop-aholics.
It’s no surprise that an increasing number of retailers are exploring new forms of technology and innovation to improve the shopping experience. This includes reducing friction at payments points, helping enhance the process for the 18.6 per cent of people who find this element too complicated to bother with.
It’s becoming increasingly common that payment providers are considered a consultant to drop this drop-out rate. Once, you’d just take your three lines of code, integrate your payment provider as a necessity and move on with your day, but times have shifted. Now payment providers are considered as valuable as a company’s lawyer or accountant, provided you pick the right one. If you can’t convert your customer at that final stage, when they are in the basket and ready to buy, because your checkout process is overcomplicated or because you’re not offering integration with the right payment method, then frankly, your previous efforts are lost.
There are multiple tips and tricks to increase your conversion from basket to payment. Some are simpler – don’t redirect your customer to an unrelated URL to take their payment as it breaks their trust. Some are more complex – how do you run a global business across multiple markets, each with their own rules and regulations on how to orchestrate payments?
PSPs can help. Local currencies, payment methods, local banks and financial legislation, languages… they understand it all.
For example, in Germany, card penetration is low, so to make a profitable company you need to offer as many local payment methods as you can, provided they are applicable for your industry. In France, meanwhile, a local acquirer is better than a global acquirer because you get higher acceptance rates. In Brazil, there’s a wealth of different alternative payment methods to consider. You may not need them all – it depends, of course, on the needs of your customer.
In a global retail market where we have the world at our fingertips, it’s incumbent upon retailers to get savvier when it comes to providing the best shopping experience in the digital sphere. Using innovative marketing strategies to get shoppers onto their sites is one thing, but converting them into customers is another feat entirely. And that is why businesses opt for a payments partner, not a payment provider.
And for consumers, perhaps retailers upping their payment game will save us from ourselves, allowing us to ditch our addiction to maybe-shopping and instead leave with what we came for.