Jan 16, 20194 min read

Don’t Distract Your Customers with Irrelevant Payment Options.

Anton Hellkvist headshot

by Anton Hellkvist

When Sarah, 26, finds an item in your store and proceeds to the payment process, you just want her to finish what she started, don’t you?

At the critical point of purchase, even the slightest difficulty might cause her to hesitate – and that’s the last thing you want. Yet this is what happens, time and time again, all over the internet.

Many online stores unknowingly create bumps in the road during the checkout process; small disturbances that cause a few innocent seconds of delay, right when Sarah and other people like her are about to complete their orders. One of the most common doorways to distraction is irrelevant payment options. Let me explain what I mean by describing Sarah’s reality. In a minute, it will be clear to you how the problem plays out and how it hurts your cart abandonment stats.

How Sarah ended up at your checkout

When Sarah finds your item we can’t be sure of where she is. She might be on a bus, on the subway, on her way to work, or commuting home from work. She could be waiting for a friend at a coffee shop, or just home from her yoga class. The point is, she ended up in your store. Perhaps she just stumbled upon a picture on Instagram, and fell in love with what she saw. She read the comments, got inspired and checked it out. So far so good.

She chooses the style, colour and size she wants and proceeds to the checkout. And suddenly there she is: at the critical point of completing her order.

Now what happens?

Sarah falls at the final hurdle

You would hope Sarah only has one thing on her mind: buying that item. However, as we know, that is not always the case.

If you could scan Sarah’s thoughts you would see she has a lot on her mind.

Your product is in the mix, for sure. But also things like:

“I wonder if anyone more has commented on the Insta story I published ten minutes ago?” or “Oh, no, I didn’t tell Lisa that I can’t go out tonight, I’d better text her.” or “I’m getting hungry. Do I have something to eat in my fridge or do I need to buy something?”

Your biggest competition nowadays is not the companies that sell similar products to you. No; it’s Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook… and everything else that threatens to steal a customer’s attention away from your online store. Young people are experts at multitasking on their phones, constantly switching back and forth between multiple apps so as not to miss out on anything.

Your ability to hold their attention until the purchase is complete is what makes or breaks the sale.

Back to Sarah. Had it taken her just a couple of clicks at the checkout, she would have completed the purchase right then and there. But unfortunately, she experienced too much friction in the process, and once distracted she never returned to finish her shopping.

Sorry about that.

What happened exactly?

So what exactly was the stumbling block for Sarah? Was it that she didn’t want to get her credit card out while she was on the bus? Was it that she got a bit confused over the many payment options? Was it that your online store didn’t display her preferred payment method as the pre-selected option? Was it anxiety over whether she would regret the purchase later or if she could really afford it? What happens if she doesn’t like the item?

Why aren’t you showing Sarah the most irrelevant payment options?

If Sarah chooses to pay by invoice (Pay later) or installments (Pay later in parts) whenever she can, why wouldn’t you have that option pre-selected upfront to encourage her to complete the purchase? Why would you promote card payments in Germany, where just 9 percent prefer that option and the majority like to pay by invoice?

By optimising the payment process based on the profile of each individual customer, taking into account the preferred payment methods in their country, you’ll avoid losing as many sales, thereby increasing your revenue. And while you sit back and watch those statistics improve, your customers will also remember how easy it is to buy from you.

That’s smoooth.