If you run or intend to set up an eCommerce store, you’ll already know that you’ll need a payment gateway in order to take payments for the items you sell. However, in today’s marketplace, offering just one way to pay might not be enough. Consumer purchasing habits are changing and many people now have a preferred payment method. If you don’t offer that method, you may lose the sale. In this post, we’ll look at why it is important to consider a wide range of payment options.
What is a Payment Gateway?
Essentially, an online payment gateway is a financial service that processes payments on a website by providing a mechanism for money to be transferred from the customer’s account to yours. They make the checkout process quick and easy for the customer, reducing abandonment rates as a result and, more importantly, they ensure that transactions are secure and verified. In doing this, they make sure that personal information, such as credit card details are kept secure and they verify that the customer has a valid account and that there are sufficient funds available to pay for the goods.
Why offer a range of payment methods?
While some people are still happy to type in their name, address and card numbers every time they make a purchase, others are not. Technology has moved on and for many, this has now become an unnecessary chore: a chore that slows down the process and can cause them to abandon the cart before the sale is completed. In effect, it is similar to a slow loading website: if you keep people hanging around, they’ll move elsewhere.
Today, there are far quicker options when it comes to paying online, with leading services such as PayPal, Apple Pay and Square enabling consumers to pay without the need to type in their details. All they need to do is log into their account, something which most devices will store the username and password for, and aside from confirming the purchase, the rest of the process is automated.
Indeed, some of these services have additional features such as offering the ability to pay after delivery and guaranteeing money back if there are problems with the product.
These new methods of payment are far more convenient for users. It’s especially useful for the increasing numbers of people who make purchases on their phones. It means they don’t have to have their debit cards with them, they don’t need to type the card numbers in – which is never easy on a phone, and they can make purchases while they are out and about.
Now that this new technology is here with us, people’s expectations and purchasing behaviours have changed. Once upon a time, no-one buying in-store minded sliding a card in a reader and typing in their pin. Today, we sigh at the inconvenience of not being able to tap and go. We now have the same mindset when buying online. So, the more seamless you can make the sale, the more chance you have of people buying from you.
The research backs this up
Recent research has shown that, on average, 70% of customers who add items to their shopping cart will leave a site without making a purchase. Of those, 17% leave because of trust issues that prevent them from wanting to give their payment details. Often this can be an unfamiliar payment gateway, though it can also be down to the fact that the site lacks an SSL certificate and is labelled as insecure in the browser. On top of these, another 6% abandon the site simply because of the limited choice of payment options available.
What does this mean for your bottom line? In short, it means that offering a wider range of payment gateways could improve your conversion rates by between 4.2% and 9.8%. And with more people likely to move towards these easier forms of payment in the future, it’s even more important to consider offering alternative gateways.
Which gateways offer easier payment methods?
There are quite a few payment gateways that don’t require customers to laboriously fill in details and type in their card numbers. The main ones to think about are PayPal, Square, Stripe, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay and Google Pay. Older and more established companies which have adopted similar technologies include Visa, with Visa Checkout, and American Express.
Payment technology is continuing to develop and now this is having an impact on eCommerce stores. Today’s solutions make it easier than ever for people to pay online, a convenience that inspires more mobile sales but which, as a consequence, makes traditional ways of inputting card details an onerous experience.
To continue to offer customer-friendly shopping experiences, it can be advantageous to offer a wider range of payment gateways, ones which suit users’ personal preferences, make shopping quicker and more convenient and which offer other features, such as increased security and buy now – pay on delivery options.
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