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8 Tips for Improving the Payment Process on Your Online Store

By Reading Time: 7 minutes

A mistake frequently made by companies is underestimating the importance of a seamless payment experience. Improving the payment process for your customers will lead to more sales and a higher conversion rate, while ignoring this important aspect of your customer’s purchase journey will do the exact opposite.

You want to make it as easy as possible for your potential customer to part with their money and buy one of your awesome services or products. If you have a Printful store, it’s up to you to set up a method for customers to pay you on your store, so you should set up a third-party payment processor.

What exactly is a third-party payment processor?

A third-party payment processor lets you process payments from your customers without having to set up a merchant account of your own. This is ideal for small or medium sized businesses that are still growing and not bringing in large amounts in revenue every month. 

If you have a merchant account (you can get one through a merchant service provider), a customer can use their debit card to make a payment through a point of sale system. Companies with a merchant account in place will easily accept payment and finish the transaction.

If you do not have a merchant account, this is where third-party payment processors come in.

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You should always be on the lookout for ways to make the payment process easier. Here are a few ideas I would urge you to consider:

#1 Give customers as many payment options as possible

Not everyone is going to have a PayPal account and not everyone is going to want to use their credit card online. Each visitor has different preferences and you should ideally be able to give your customers the option they prefer.

Offering several payment options is especially important for businesses that have customers coming in from around the world. This applies to ecommerce stores, podcast creators, learning platforms, or bloggers who sell products on their blog.

In North America, credit cards top the list of commonly used payment methods (34% in 2018) but are projected to be dethroned by the eWallet option. At the moment, eWallets are the preferred payment method of 36% of all online shoppers surveyed.

While North Americans still prefer credit cards, online shoppers in Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa are already using eWallets more than credit cards. The point is, you can’t only be offering what’s popular in one country—especially if you want to attract customers from around the globe.

At the rate at which trends are changing, the safest bet is to offer your customers as many payment gateways as possible.

Read also: The Best Payment Gateways for Ecommerce

Offer the most popular payment options globally as well as the more niche ones preferred by your customers. How do you know which ones those are? Either look back on your data to see which payment option most people select, or send out a survey to all of your email subscribers asking them what options they would like to see.

Sendinblue has a good bulk email software that allows you to send up to 300 emails a day free of cost. You can then use a free service like JotForm (or a paid service with more features like surveyanyplace) to create the surveys.

If you do not have an email list to fall back on, you could depend on social media or a survey company.

  • Quick poll on social media
    If you have an active following on social media, consider creating a quick poll that asks your customers/ followers what payment methods they would like to use. These polls are easy to create and affordable for companies on a budget.
  • Work with a survey company
    If you want more information than a quick poll on Facebook can give you, or simply want to reach a more specific audience, consider teaming up with a survey company that will get your survey in front of the right people. If you use a company like Survey Monkey you will get to pick what sort of audience you want to target, how many questions you want to include in your survey, and various other targeting options. These are factors that will affect your price, but here is the average that I paid when I used the service.
Survey Monkey survey creation process
Survey Monkey survey creation process

#2 Don’t ask for too many details

Do you really need to know your customer’s entire address, phone number, and date of birth if they’re only buying an eBook from you? Probably not.

Customers are known to abandon their shopping cart if the website is asking for too many fields to be filled. Less is more—save your customers time and effort.

If you really need to ask for more details, add a little note on the side explaining why you need them. As people become more educated on the subject of online privacy, full disclosure goes a long way. For example, Recruitee, a talent acquisition software, does this when asking for a customer’s phone number.

Recruitee’s ‘Create an Account’ form
Recruitee’s ‘Create an Account’ form

Something as simple as the sentence ‘for safety purposes’ can encourage a customer to finish filling out the form. The moral of the story is simple—keep things easy and disclose why you need the customer’s information.

#3 Don’t redirect people to other sites

I think I speak for everyone when I say that redirects are extremely annoying. You want your customers to have your business in mind—not someone else’s. This is the drawback of using services like PayPal to finish payment processes. You wind up redirecting from your website and taking your customers elsewhere.

If possible, finish the payment process on your own website since it’s the last step of the sales funnel. For example, when you connect your online store to Printful, all payments are done on-site without using unnecessary redirects.

#4 Let your customers check out as a guest

A lot of apps and websites only allow customers to make a purchase after they create an account. Amazon, DoorDash, eBay, etc. are all examples of sites that ask customers to create accounts before processing an order. 

While big brands like these can easily get away with it and still make millions, smaller businesses should try to avoid this since it could potentially ruin customer experience

An alternative would be to give users the opportunity to check out as a guest but offer a discount if they create an account. This way you gain potential long-term customers and keep occasional shoppers happy too.

#5 Display your security badges 

People, especially the older generation, don’t always like the idea of entering their bank details in a website they’ve never used before. My father still sends me (his twenty-something daughter) links to articles about how people lose thousands of dollars thanks to fraudulent charges

According to data from the 2019 American Express Digital Payments Survey, merchants say fraudulent transactions account for an average of 27% of their annual online sales. This is up 8% from 2018.

While you may not always be able to offer a cash on delivery option, you can take other steps to make the payment process more secure. This would mean showcasing your security badges on your checkout page

Trust badges can include:

  • A safe checkout badge
  • Third-party endorsements that work as trust seals (for example, a Norton Secured sign)
  • A free returns badge
  • A money-back guarantee badge

An example of a badge like this in action can be seen on any of the CyberChimps checkout pages. For example, their consulting theme checkout page has this simple yet effective money back guarantee badge:

Money back guarantee badge displayed during checkout
Money back guarantee badge displayed during checkout

Even something as simple as a satisfaction guaranteed badge can help increase conversions.

Badges that are more familiar to use, like the Visa badge, also directly relate to an increased sense of security. Try using badges that are familiar to an audience. According to ConversionXL, these are some of the most familiar and most trusted badges:

Remember that a secure shopping experience leads to higher conversions and happier customers. 

#6 Consider offering a recurring billing option

If you offer a subscription-based service like web hosting or an outreach service, you will need to bill your customers every single month. No one wants to log in every month to make the payment, which is where recurring billing comes in.

It makes life easier for you and the customer, which is why this idea has gained so much popularity. 

However, people still may be a bit wary about having an amount auto-debited from their account. You could put their mind at ease by sending a reminder email a few days before the amount gets debited. Netflix does this with all new users. 

Netflix 30 Day Trial Offer
Netflix 30-day trial offer

When the 30-day trial is about to end, Netflix will send an email reminder 3 days before the next month’s billing period starts. This allows customers who want to cancel their subscription to do so easily.

#7 Avoid pop-ups, social media icons, and email opt-ins

There is a time and place for everything and your payment page is not the place for your opt-in form. An opt-in form can be a great way to grow your list of subscribers, and social media icons can be a good way to reach more people on your Instagram.  

However, when a customer is just about to hand you their money, you don’t want to be distracting them with advertisements or non-essential pop-ups.

If you’re looking for an example of a site that keeps things simple and focuses on what they should (helping their customer finish the purchase), the Ahrefs landing page is perfect in this regard:

Their landing page has no navigation bar, no ads, no opt-in forms, nothing. It’s the last step before making a purchase, so all attention is on the pricing structure, the trial offered, and getting the payment process done at the click of a button. You can do this for your own landing page as well by using a landing page builder like Leadpages that gives you tons of options and design elements to play around with.

#8 Offer click-to-pay email invoicing

If a customer is not comfortable with having money automatically debited from their account, you could also offer a click to pay email invoice. This is exactly what my web hosting company BigScoots does. 

BigScoots Email Offering Click-to-pay Invoicing
BigScoots email offering click-to-pay invoicing

If you have a credit card on file or have opted in for a PayPal subscription, they will auto-debit the amount each month. On the other hand, if you don’t, you can also opt to pay after you receive the email through PayPal. This is an example of a click-to-pay invoice. 

The primary difference is that you will get to do it manually rather than it being automatically debited from your account.

Offering customers this click-to-pay invoice option simply increases the number of options your customer has to hand their money over to you in the most secure way possible. This is always a good thing because every customer has a different type of income which means their pay day could dictate when they can pay all of their bills. 

As a company that services them, the more flexibility you give them in regards to payment, the better.

Wrapping it up

Now that you’re armed with a few ways you can make the payment process easier for your customers, take a walk down memory lane and think about things you were annoyed by during an online payment experience.

Odds are that your customers will not be big fan of the elements you didn’t appreciate either. For example, most of us have had doubts regarding the safety of online transactions. Take a deeper dive into that and focus on showing your customers your payment methods and process can be trusted. 

This can make a world of difference to your conversion rates. Anything that makes your customer’s life easier is going to help grow your business. You want your customer to love the experience with your brand from start to finish.

Read next: M-commerce: How to Make Your Business Mobile-Friendly

Freya is the founder of the personal finance blog CollectingCents that teaches readers how to grow their passive income, save money, improve their credit score, and manage debt. She has been featured in publications like Business Insider, Fox Business, the Huffington Post, and GoBankingRates.

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