How to improve the user experience (UX) for online payments

The pandemic has pushed online spend to nearly a third of all cash spent in retail. Meanwhile, customers who had never shopped online are growing in confidence. To make the most of this booming market, your eCommerce brand needs to make each transaction easy and enjoyable for every user.

In practice, that means optimising your online payment processes. While eCommerce sites dedicate a lot of effort to making their shop fronts beautiful, recognisable, and effortless for users, they can take for granted what happens after the shopping cart. And that’s a problem.

This is why we’ve created this blog series — to show you how you can achieve the best results, at the tightest end of the sales funnel:

  • How to optimise online payments
  • How to improve authentication for online payments (coming soon)
  • How to improve authorisation for online payments (coming soon)
  • How to optimise online payments for international customers (coming soon)

We’ll be focusing here on the user experience (UX) of online payment. By that we mean the way the visuals and design of your payment pathway affect how your customers think and feel. To boost conversions, your job is to make them confident, secure, and happy.

We’ll show you how. And along the way, we’ll show you what we at CCV can do to make managing online payment even easier.

Why customer experience in online payment really matters

Before we tackle how to improve the customer experience of online payments, let’s dig into the why. It’s simple. The quality of your customers’ experience of payment — the simplicity, speed, and smoothness — has a direct impact on your business goals.

  • Firstly, you’ll reduce cart abandonment. A customer can put an item in their shopping cart, but the transaction is far from complete. As many as 75% of customers with items in their trolley fail to convert. Improving the UX of the payment process will help improve those rates.
  • Boost conversions. More generally, studies suggest that improved customer experience, both before and during payment, can increase conversion rates by 400%.
  • Increase spend per customer. Strong UX doesn’t only encourage more people to spend. It encourages customers to spend more too. A total of 86% of customers say they are willing to pay more for a better customer experience across channels.
  • Improve retention. One in three customers say a single bad experience would dissuade them from returning to a brand. A total of 92% say that two or three bad experiences would put them off forever, no matter how good the product.
  • Be remembered. In 2020, customer experience — instore and online — was expected to become the most important brand differentiator, even over price and product. That means customers recognise your brand for the experience they receive. And this will determine whether they shop with you again.

In today’s consumer environment, you can’t afford to neglect customer experience. That is across all channels — in-store, in-app, and online. But it’s across every part of your online experience too. That includes payment.

Improving the experience of online payment: our guide

Customers expect the payment experience to be clear, secure, and compatible with every device they use. It should be enjoyable and hassle-free too.

We’re here to help you give your customers everything they demand. Here are six ideas you should focus on to improve your customer experience, along with concrete steps you can take to make them a reality.

Reduce customer effort.

According to the Baymard Institute, many ecommerce sites have twice the necessary number of data fields in their payment processes. This way, they’re making life difficult for their users. And, when every additional field has been found to reduce conversion rates, this isn’t just an abstract problem. It has real-world implications.

Payment should be fast, functional, and free of confusing or unnecessary features. How to make that happen? Try these actions:

  • Reduce the number of fields. The fewer fields, the less effort and the more likely customers are to complete payment. This is as simple as using “full name” rather than “first name” and “last name”. Similarly, don’t force customers to provide unnecessary details like tax codes, invoicing addresses, and “valid from” details on payment cards. Greater complexity just puts customers off.
  • Include auto-completes and highlight optional fields. If your payment page can deduce your customer address from their postal code, you’ll save users added effort. Similarly, by highlighting what fields customers don’t need to complete, you’ll prevent wasted time.
  • Store data for returning customers. Payment card ‘tokenisation’ offers familiar customers the chance to checkout without re-entering all of their details. It will make payment even smoother and faster.
  • Provide a single clear pathway from cart to checkout. Filling payment pathways with irrelevant calls-to-action or options to navigate away can create noise and confusion. Keep the customer journey as direct and clear as possible, focusing on conversion.
  • Optimise loading speeds. For every extra second a page takes to load, your conversion rate drops by 4.4%. Improve loading speeds and you’ll reduce cart abandonment—and improve SEO and bounce rates too.

Offer consistent imagery and brand.

Speed matters in eCommerce, but beauty and trust matter too. You’ll need to provide a payment experience that reflects the rest of your store design— and that promotes confidence, consistency, and trust. Here’s how:

  • Firstly, keep your customers on your site. This sounds like a given. But with so many third-party payment options out there, it really isn’t. When it is possible, keeping customers on your site — rather than redirecting them to a third-party platform like PayPal — allows you to maintain control over the payment environment and ensure your brand stays central.
  • Make the experience familiar and trustworthy. Use your logos, colour scheme, and branding at every stage of the payment pathway, so users know they are in the right place — and they know who they are giving money to.

At CCV, we can provide a seamless, tailor-made payment pathway. That means it is clear, hosted on your site, and with visuals that reflect your brand. Get in touch to find out more.

Give customers all the information they need.

UX and payment page design is not just about style and visuals. It plays a crucial role in how information is presented and received too.

In this way, one of the biggest reasons for cart abandonment is that customers lack visibility on information about their orders. The risk is that they navigate away from payment to find that information—and don’t return to finish the deal.

To boost conversions, you need to put clarity of information front and centre:

  • Make order summaries as clear as possible even on mobile. Customers often want to check (and double-check) that they’re buying the right thing for the right price. Make this as easy as possible, in sidebars or popups, at every stage of the payment pathway. You’ll improve customer convenience — and boost trust.
  • Shine a light on privacy and delivery information. Both before and throughout the payment process, delivery timings and costs — as well as privacy policies — should be in clear sight. Customers shouldn’t have to abort payment to find the information they need. You can’t be sure they will return.
  • Orientate customers in the payment process. Using checkmarks and a progress bar throughout the payment pathway ensures users have clarity on what they are doing—and how much further they have before completion.

Ensure compatibility with every device.

Today, we’re past the point where ecommerce brands could treat mobile shopping or m-commerce as an afterthought. When half of transactions are now made on mobile, your ecommerce strategy should really be mobile-first.

Here’s how to ensure your m-commerce platform is up to scratch:

  • Ensure visuals are optimised for every screen. If text is too large or too small, or isn’t formatted correctly for tablet, mobile, and desktop, your store will look unprofessional. In one study, over a quarter of consumers said they wouldn’t shop from a site with an unprofessional design.
  • Use context-appropriate keyboards. Often on mobile, it makes more sense to use numerical keyboards rather than alphabetical ones. This makes typing things like payment card numbers much easier on a smaller screen.
  • Remember loading speeds. Heavy imagery or video, for example, can affect loading speeds when users are relying on mobile data. It’s best to keep things as light as possible, for customers browsing on the move.
  • Enable cross-channel user recognition. If your brand operates across channels — in brick and mortar stores, apps, and websites — ensure that you can recognise your customers wherever they are. CCV can help. Our payment services help you track customers across all of your touchpoints — for both their experience and yours.

Promote confidence in security.

According to Experian, as many as 27% of customers abandon their cart “due to a lack of visible security”. If you don’t show that you are trustworthy, users won’t have any reason to believe you are. And that will have a negative impact on their experience.

There are simple ways to ensure customers know you’re serious about their security, privacy, and comfort. Here are just a few:

  • Use logos and icons that communicate security. Customers recognise the symbols they associate with secure payment, such as ‘lock’ icons or the logos of 3D Secure, Visa, or your payment services provider. Including these throughout your payment pathway will reassure customers you’re doing everything you can for their safety.
  • Take advantage of mobile wallets. Wallets like PayPal or Apple Pay are payment environments customers recognise already. By enabling them, you’ll be offering customers an experience they trust, while simplifying your payment authentication.
  • Show clear validation and error messages. Sometimes payment doesn’t work. But if you redirect users to anonymous error pages, you don’t encourage them to give it another go. Providing clear explanations of the problem—and ways to solve it—will improve their experience.

Don’t let anyone feel excluded.

Finally, a clear, smooth, and enjoyable customer experience should not just be for your “regular” customers. If you’re serious about optimising your payment pathway, you need to make sure your UX is optimised for customers from across the world, too.

  • Localise everything. Ensuring everything is in local languages and currencies — and that all data fields can accept global addresses, phone numbers, and payment information — will be key. Consumers don’t want to buy when payment pages aren’t in a language they are comfortable with.
  • Offer payment choice. This applies as much to customers from your native country to those from around the world. 56% of online shoppers want to see a wide range of payment options. You need to accept.

Find out more in our article on optimising payment for global audiences.

Let CCV help

Optimising your payment pathway can feel like a big task. CCV’s payment services can make managing payments and winning new customers that much easier.

A payment service provider (PSP) is a company that receives, authenticates, and processes electronic payments on your behalf. Alongside this, we can:

  • Provide the security that customers demand. We’re a recognised provider of secure payments, so your customers can feel safe throughout the payment process.
  • Help you recognise customers across touchpoints. At CCV, we are not limited to online payments. Rather, we can help you keep track of customers across every channel — in-store, in-app, or online.
  • Make international transactions easier. When your company has to manage different currencies and issuing banks, things can get complex — and not just for your customers. We can help simplify your payment admin and give international users the experience they deserve.
  • Free you up to deliver growth. No matter what stage your business is at, we can take care of your payment processes, so you can focus on delivering growth.

Thousands of businesses trust us to make their payments happen. Get in touch with us to find out more.