Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Businesses leaving millions on the table with unnecessary checkout errors

Countless sums are spent on marketing to bring customers through the virtual front door, help them find what they’re looking for, or even suggest what they should be buying. But when it comes to getting paid, so little is done to make it easy for the customer.

By Stripe ANZ Head of Growth Hayley Hopwood.

Stripe ANZ Head of Growth Hayley Hopwood.

We’ve all had that feeling of exasperation when trying to buy something online. You’ve finally found the item you’ve been searching for and there’s only one left in stock. Then you get to the checkout. The form jumps around the page, doesn’t fit your screen, and demands that you scroll through five years’ worth of options for your card’s expiry date. It makes you question whether it’s really worth it.

With eight out of ten lost sales in Australia failing on the checkout page, businesses need to view improving checkout quality as a significant lever for protecting revenue. 

Checkout form design

Australian consumers expect a fast, intuitive and mobile optimised payment experience, with as much as one-third (35%) saying they would abandon a purchase if it took more than two minutes to check out. Merchants are failing this two-minute-test, with just under half (47%) of consumers saying that, on average, it takes them more than three minutes to complete a purchase. As a result, a quarter (25%) of online shoppers abandoned a purchase in the past year because of a long checkout process. 

If your business is selling online, go through the checkout flow yourself to share the experience with your customers and find time to watch others go through it as they might interact with your checkout in different ways. Look at others’ checkouts too and you’ll notice that the little touches, like automatically showing the right card logo when someone starts typing in their number, making a marked difference to the overall experience. 

Mobile optimisation

Mobile optimisation has been talked about for so long I wouldn’t blame you for rolling your eyes at this subheading. But customer expectations are still not being met. While more than 50% of e-commerce traffic comes from smartphones, carts are abandoned on mobile at more than twice the rate of desktop.

Even today, 13 years on from the launch of the iPhone, we see checkouts that don’t automatically adjust to the size of the customer’s device. Whilst it’s true that errors like not adapting to screen size are becoming less prevalent, we still see 13% of websites in Australia not offering numeric keypads for card number entry, and very few sites offering digital wallets like Apple Pay or Google Pay, which allow for a convenient one-click payment experience.

The importance of being local

If mobile optimisation feels like an old problem as yet unresolved, local optimisation is much older, and much further away from resolution. 

Too many Australian checkouts are built with the false assumption that consumers in other markets follow the same payment customs as in the business’ home market. In fact, Australia has a deeply fragmented and idiosyncratic web of payment cultures and preferences. 

19% of Australian consumers abandoned a purchase in the past year because their preferred payment method wasn’t available. Interestingly, the solution is about offering the right combination of payment options, rather than increasing the quantity of payment methods. 

Offering the right local payment options helps increase revenue. A separate Stripe study found that businesses saw a 27% increase in sales when they offered Afterpay. Likewise, offering Alipay, a popular payment method in China, saw business sales increase two-fold from Chinese consumers.  

Don’t leave revenue on the table

Our research looked into many of the most visited websites across Australia where you might not expect basic errors to exist in such abundance. But when it comes to checkout design, we increasingly see that David is beating Goliath. 

Ironically that’s because great checkout design comes from scale. You want to look at lots of transactions to model what small iterations can have some impact on conversion. The Goliaths of the internet rely on in-house teams to take advantage of their own individual scale, but smaller websites using SaaS based checkouts are utilising the deep expertise of external software providers and the combined scale of millions of websites. 

About Hayley Hopwood

Hayley Hopwood is Head of Growth at Stripe ANZ. Prior to joining Stripe in 2019, Hayley held positions at Travelex, Western Union, PayPal and Australia Post. She’s got more than 20 years in the finance and technology sector and is passionate about embracing new technology and navigating teams through the ever-changing landscape. Hayley was recognised as a top female leader at the 2020 Women in Payments symposium.

About Stripe

Stripe is a technology company that builds economic infrastructure for the internet. Businesses of every size use Stripe’s software to accept online payments and run technically sophisticated financial operations in more than 100 countries. Stripe helps new companies get started and grow their revenues, and established businesses accelerate into new markets and launch new business models. Stripe aims to increase the GDP of the internet.

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