Online shoppers expect to see their total charges before they check out and pay the way they prefer. Filling in forms with stored information also minimizes cart abandonment.

Joseph Daly, chief operating officer, Payment Processing North America, Paysafe Group

Joseph Daly, chief operating officer, Payment Processing North America, Paysafe Group

E-commerce sales grew by 16 percent in 2017. But despite that impressive number, many merchants aren’t achieving full sales potential because cart abandonment rates are high, at an average of 67 percent. Many merchants are missing out on sales because of minor issues and inconveniences throughout the checkout process that add up to an overall poor customer experience.

What can merchants do to take better advantage of an e-commerce revolution that shows no signs of slowing down? And, more to the point, how can they keep friction to a minimum and encourage more customers to finish their purchases? For e-retailers looking to refresh their sales this spring, a focus on the customer experience is a good investment to drive more e-commerce conversions.

From automating form completions, to offering more payment options, here are a few tips to re-invigorate the customer experience:

Automate When Able

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Checkout forms don’t have to be irritating. In fact, automation can dramatically speed up form completion and the overall checkout process. Try in-line validation because nothing is more aggravating that submitting a form only to have to start again from scratch because you’ve accidentally missed a field.

42 percent of people would rather go elsewhere than pay charges they weren’t made aware of from the beginning.

Merchants can also implement an autofill API, such as the one offered by Google. This allows customers to automatically populate fields with information they’ve used before, for example on other websites. Pre-fill fields are an easy way to apply geolocation and other information already gathered from the customer, such as billing and shipping addresses from previous purchases.

Offer Payment Options

Paysafe research suggests 19 percent of cart abandonment stems from consumers not finding the payment options they prefer on checkout pages. Increasingly, customers would rather abandon their shopping carts altogether than be forced to use a payment method they aren’t comfortable with. That means that offering alternatives to cash and card is a must.

That doesn’t mean it’s worthwhile (or practical) to offer every available payment method. In fact, some forms of payment may not create enough return on investment to justify the expense. Instead, choose a range of payment options that will cover the payment needs for a majority of potential customers. In North America, where smartphones are expected to account for 54 percent of e-commerce traffic this year, implementing Apple Pay and Android Pay is a worthwhile investment.

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Prioritize Transparency

Hidden fees, service charges and shipping costs added to the final checkout page are a far too common reason for cart abandonment. 42 percent of people would rather go elsewhere than pay charges they weren’t made aware of from the beginning—a trend that prevails across demographic and geographic lines.

That kind of friction can be reduced or eliminated by implementing simple changes such as showing any fixed fees, handling or payment processing fees for example, on the product page in a clearly visible location.

For variable costs such as shipping fees, consider integrating a real-time calculator into the product page flow. This allows customers to estimate the product’s overall cost, including shipping, from the start.

This way, customers will see all potential costs right from the get-go and won’t be surprised by their final order total.

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Personalize the Experience

In a world where customers are more fickle than ever, consumers increasingly expect a personalized end-to-end experience. Even seemingly minor problems, such as difficulties locating the right product, can contribute to a negative user experience, create friction and lead to cart abandonment.

Combatting this with website traffic data, behavioral analytics and the personal information submitted by customers will all have a role in enabling merchants to create a simpler, more relevant and, ultimately, more enjoyable shopping experience for each online shopper.

There’s no quick fix or one-size-fits-all solution. For most e-retailers, tailoring the online environment to the individual will be an ongoing process, but there are plenty of ways to refresh the online customer experience in 2018.d

Paysafe Group is a provider of payments services based in the United Kingdom.

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