Your Payment Processing Checklist for the Holiday Season
The holidays bring many opportunities for businesses looking to earn new customers and boost their revenue. But they also come with a number of challenges.
As shopping behaviour changes during the holidays, businesses need to be prepared to make the most of every opportunity. It’s easy to lose customers and miss out on potential sales, even after they’ve added items to their cart.
We’ve put together this checklist to help you understand what gaps currently exist in the way you accept payments and how you can create a better shopping experience for your customers this holiday season. That’s not all - we’ve also got expert tips on how to optimise your existing payments processing systems.
Payment Processing Challenges that can Hamper Holiday Sales
One of the biggest challenges online businesses face during the holiday season is how to handle payment processing. According to a 2017 survey, 25% of businesses don’t believe their payment system can handle the increased holiday traffic.
If your payment processing system can’t keep up, this could cause a drop in sales. It can also negatively impact the customer experience and cause more customers to abandon their carts.
To keep pace with the increased transaction volume around this time of the year, start with identifying friction points as shoppers inch closer to the checkout page. If a large number of your customers are abandoning their cart at checkout, it could be because of one of the following reasons:
- A lengthy checkout process
- Too many checkout form fields
- A confusing checkout page
- Security concerns (lack of trust badges, SSL encryption etc)
- Absence of alternative payment methods
Of course, knowing what the problem is will only get you so far. So let’s look at how you can begin to optimise your current payment processing system.
How to Optimise Your Payment Processing for the Holiday Shopping Season
The SAP Consumer Propensity Report Australia 2018 found that 57% of Australian shoppers discard their online shopping carts often - the cart abandonment rate is highest in fashion (67%) and furniture (65%). Another study states that online businesses that fail to optimise their payment processing system will see about two-thirds of their customers abandon their carts.
As a business, it can be frustrating to lose customers that were nearly ready to buy from you. Let’s look at eight tips for how you can optimise your payment processing and create a better customer experience overall.
#1. Alternative payment types
Due to high transaction fees, many online business owners offer limited payment options. But your payment options should offer your customers greater flexibility, especially during the holidays, regardless of which location they’re shopping from.
Here are some of the alternative payment types that are popular in APAC that you can consider:
- Credit/debit cards
- EFTPOS payments
- Online payments processors
- Money orders
- Gift cards or vouchers
- Bitcoin or other digital currencies
- Digital wallets
#2. Employing tokenisation on your checkout
In the payment processing world, tokenisation is the newest buzzword. It is a way to encrypt any piece of sensitive customer data and adds an extra level of security to credit card transactions.
Tokenisation removes sensitive card data, like primary account numbers (PANs), from your environment and replaces each number with a ‘token’. The token is a long, unique string of characters that represents the original piece of data but has no actual meaning or value. This ensures the payment is processed without any account information being exposed.
If you are a business that generates significant revenue from repeat business or runs on a subscription-based model, tokenisation can present huge benefits.
#3. Run fraud checks
A large number of shoppers that abandon their cart do it out of payment security concerns. There’s no faster way to lose a customer than by giving off the vibe that their credit card information isn’t safe.
Ensure that your software uses fraud protection filters and will alert you to common fraud indicators. And always highlight your security measures which can include things like:
- Trusted logos of supported payment options
- SSL certifications
- Third-party security validations
- Proof of your business accreditation
#4. Automatic payments or instalment plans
Online spending peaks around the holidays and customers usually spend more per order. This means customers are likely to abandon a purchase not because they want to, but because they cannot afford it. One of the best ways around this challenge is to give customers the option to choose a payment plan such as AfterPay.
There are many different ways you can set this up. Customers can pay a percentage up front and then make monthly instalment payments. Or you could offer a payment credit where customers can finance orders over $100.
However you choose to do this, customers will appreciate the added flexibility.
#5. Speedy checkout
Understandably, all businesses want to find a way to gather data about their customers. But resist the urge to require customers to create an account before making a purchase.
Many customers will have reservations about creating a customer account at all. Even customers that are open to creating an account may see it as too time-consuming if they are in a hurry.
Customers order online because they want the shopping experience to be quick. So if you ask for too much information and the process takes too long, they’re going to abandon their cart and make their purchase with someone else.
For that reason, give your customers the option of checking out as a guest and set up a customer account later.
#6. In-app purchases
Remember when online shopping meant sitting at your desktop? Those days are long gone and now many eCommerce businesses are seeing the benefit of offering in-app purchases.
There are many advantages to offering in-app purchases. For one thing, studies have shown that customer engagement is higher since customers spend more time on mobile apps.
Customers spend twice as much money through mobile apps than they will on a desktop or from their smartphone. And in-app purchasing builds customer loyalty and drives future engagement.
#7. International card acceptance
According to a Forrester Research report, consumers shopping beyond their home country will help generate sales of US$630 bn, which would represent 20% of global eCommerce sales by 2020. If you only accept orders from your own country then you’re turning potential customers away. This holiday season, consider doing business with international markets as well.
Just make sure you are GDPR compliant. GDPR affects privacy laws in the EU and the UK.
#8. Make sure your website is mobile-optimised
Imagine this scenario: a potential customer researches your product on their laptop at work. After work, they pull out their smartphone with every intention of making a purchase.
But unfortunately, your website isn’t mobile-optimised. The website takes forever to load and the customer has to zoom in to even read the text. Frustrated, they turn off their phone and make a mental note to see if they can find the same product elsewhere.
In 2015, less than 10% of Australians made their holiday purchases using a smartphone. By 2017, this figure had grown to over 18%.
So for retailers, having a mobile-friendly website is a necessity. If the purchasing experience must is not frictionless across all devices, then you will lose out on potential sales.
Put Your Holiday Payment Processing into Play
According to Statista, global eCommerce sales will reach $4.5 trillion by 2021. And Australia is holding its own among countries like China and the UK. eCommerce sales in Australia have increased from $26.77 billion in 2013 to $32.56 billion in 2017.
It’s an exciting time to be involved in eCommerce. Whether you’re new to eCommerce or a seasoned pro, you need a reliable way to accept online payments.
If this is an area you’re struggling with, the Bambora team can help by making it easy to accept payments online, in-app, or within a platform.
Get in touch with Bambora today to learn more about the services we offer.
* * * * *
About the author: Victoria Galloway is Bambora APAC's Technical Copywriter, and has been writing and producing in the payments and eCommerce space for a number of years in the UK and Australia