Online shopping is big business, but you’ll only reap the benefits with a user-friendly payment process. It doesn’t matter how appealing the rest of your website is; if visitors can’t make a hassle-free payment at the checkout stage, they’ll never convert to paying customers. Here are a few tips to help you accept payments online.
1. Avoid redirecting to another website
If you’re new to the world of web design, it’s tempting to outsource online payment processing to another site like PayPal. There are certainly some benefits to using a third-party online payment gateway, not least of which is the convenience. However, adding in an extra step is risky business. It’s hard enough to drive traffic to your website, so do you really want to send your customers away from it? There’s a chance they’ll abandon the checkout process altogether if redirected. Keep them onboard with a fully integrated payment system.
2. Allow guests to check out without registering
Does your site require visitors to register with a username and password before they can make a purchase? The more steps you add to the checkout process, the higher the chances your customers will get bored or reconsider their purchase. Registration might be appealing for loyal customers, but for first-time visitors it can be overkill. Offer a chance to bypass the process and check out as a guest.
3. Enable multiple online payment methods
Some of us prefer to make online payments by credit card, while others might prefer a direct bank transfer. Problems crop up with websites that only accept a single method of payment. You’ll boost the chances of completed sales by offering multiple online payment methods. While it’s not feasible to accept every method out there, look for online payment gateways that accept multiple options. This should include card payments as a minimum, but you could also include apps, certificates, and even direct transfers.
4. Ensure secure online payment processing
You want to build trust with your online audience, so give them the peace of mind that their payments will be secure. This starts with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, ensuring the encryption of payment details and secure processing. Another certification that online customers look for is PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) which regulates how cardholder data is stored and processed. This also ties in with our first tip of avoiding redirection to a third-party website, which customers might see as less secure.
5. Focus on consistency of design
From online adverts to payment confirmation, there should be consistent messaging throughout every step of the online customer journey. Headlines, calls to action, product descriptions, and checkout pages should all use a cohesive tone of voice and unique branding. This prevents confusion and builds consumer trust in your website, all of which translates to a higher likelihood of successful payments.
6. Stick to the basics
We’ve already mentioned the benefits of including a guest checkout option as part of the payment process. However, you should still avoid excess detail when it comes to registration. The fewer forms that the customer must fill out, the lower the chances of shopping cart abandonment. Do you really need to collect personal details like phone numbers to accept payments online? Stick to the basics of payment and delivery information, avoiding excess fields like survey questions at all costs.
7. Make error messages clear
It’s natural for buyers to make mistakes during the checkout process, whether it’s a skipped field or a mistyped email address. You’ll need to nudge the buyer to correct this mistake with a clear error message. This should appear in the field where the error was made to avoid any confusion. Most sites display the error message in red type to catch the eye.
Keep distractions at a minimum and choose a comprehensive, user-friendly online payment gateway. By following these simple tips, you’ll make it easier to accept payments online and improve conversion rates as a result.
We can help
GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.