Analyzing Annoyance? Online Shopping Behavior at the Checkout
If you’re standing at the checkout in a brick-and-mortar store, it’s easy enough to see when fellow customers become agitated and annoyed. Impatiently checking the time, audible ‘harrumphs’ and negative body language are all tell-tale signs that the payment process is not proceeding as smoothly as desired. But how does this frustration manifest itself in online shopping behavior?
The tyranny of distance removes all physical cues, but it is crucial for online retailer to identify and address points of friction, in order to improve the overall digital shopping experience and maximize conversion rates.
Tracking purchases online, for example through clicks and conversions, does yield data that payment providers can use to refine checkout and digital payment processes. It has been shown, for instance, that including the three most popular alternative methods of payment in any given market can increase a merchant’s conversion rate by up to 30%. Services such as those offered by ClickTale go deeper, with heatmap analytics and other powerful tools to understand online shopping consumer behavior. But a another recent study may add something new to payment providers’ and merchants’ analytical arsenal – the ability to analyze annoyance in shopping online.
New insights into online shopping behavior
Jeffrey Jenkins, an information systems expert, led the research into how negative emotions – including anger, frustration, and confusion – can be detected through mouse movements.
According to his Brigham Young University study, "How mouse movements can determine emotions", when consumers are upset or confused, mouse movements become jagged and imprecise, rather than following a straight or gently curving path. Somewhat counterintuitively, upset consumers also tended to move their mouse cursor more slowly. The ability to process sufficient data in order to draw such conclusions was a requirement for the study, which could potentially have a range of practical implications for web developers seeking to reduce pain points that generate negative emotions.
“Traditionally it has been very difficult to pinpoint when a user becomes frustrated, leading them to not come back to a site,” said Jenkins. “Being able to sense a negative emotional response, we can adjust the website experience to eliminate stress or to offer help.”
Reducing friction at the checkout
The resulting digital technology has already been patented and spun off to a local startup company that holds the license. How exactly this may be developed for use in the payments and eCommerce space remains to be seen, but the continued “API-ization” of payments means that it is conceivable that common shop plugins already used by merchants could quite easily integrate this analytical technology.
As a result, payment providers and merchants could gain a more precise understanding of the aspects of the online shopper checkout experience that evoke negative emotions. Just how annoyed do online shoppers get when a page loads slowly? Does confusion really reign when users are taken off page to complete their payment? Is frustration evident when certain types of payment methods are not available, or fail to function as they should? What about 3D Secure? These are all things that can increase friction, and ultimately lead to a high shopping cart abandonment rate – the last thing a merchant wants. A better understanding and actionable insights can only be a benefit, especially when optimizing conversion rates can have such an impact on revenues.
But what about mobile?
The study in question is predicated on the presence of a mouse cursor, but with mobile shopping set to overtake traditional desktop eCommerce (mobile share of all online purchases is expected to be 40% by the end of the 2015 and the 50% “tipping point” not far behind), both payment providers and their merchants may be focusing attention elsewhere. A “mobile first” strategy will mean reducing friction and improving mobile payment flows, and gaining a deeper understanding of mobile shopping behavior. Whether a similar “analysis of annoyance” will be possible on touchscreen devices, via swipes and taps, remains to be seen (though the BYU study tentatively suggests it is possible).
The bottom line is that payment providers and merchants need to keep an open mind to using these sorts of new digital technology and tools that are being developed, in order to optimize payment setup across all channels.
Related blog posts
The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Omni-Channel Day
I have been proclaiming for some time that ‘omni-payment’ is the missing element in many retailers’ full omni-channel customer service offering. What I mean is that many retailers offer their goods and services in-store and through various digital channels, but payments are often still processed by different systems and operate in silos. There are downsides to this isolation, and challenges to overcome in consolidating payments systems.
The Challenge and Reward of Consolidating Payment Platforms
The majority of retailers operating internationally have multiple payment platforms, designed to suit the local markets in which they operate, and these platforms often differ between sales channels according to research carried out by ACI Worldwide and Retail Week. This reflects not only different consumer expectations and payment preferences, but also the cost of upgrading and consolidating multiple payment systems. The emergence of new payment options, combined with pressure to be compliant with the latest payment standards, only adds to the complexity.
Contactless Turns Ten: The Shift to Contactless Universal Payments is Now Well Established
In September 2007, Barclaycard first introduced contactless payments to the UK. Ten years on, and many Brits would no longer want to live without a contactless card in their wallet. In fact, six out of ten Brits now pay with "touch and go," and according to the UK Cards Association 108 million contactless cards are in circulation in the UK, with volumes of transactions currently reaching £400 million per month.
Vanilla Payments Don't Always Cut the Mustard
Five years ago, there was a clear trend among major brick-and-mortar retailers to bring in their own payments software. Except for very small retailers that used bank-owned stand-alone POS terminals, retailers wanted to own and operate their own systems – usually licensed products from a small number of specialist payments software vendors. This approach gave retailers flexibility, control and cost savings through centralization. Other than the bank-owned terminal approach, there were few viable alternatives.
What Australia’s $639m CNP Fraud Problem Means for Retailers
In my role at ACI Worldwide, my fellow fraud consultants and I constantly share information from all corners of the globe. One recent bit of intelligence that immediately caught my eye, and I shared with colleagues across the world, was the staggering cost of card-not-present (CNP) fraud here in Australia.
CNP fraud accounts for 78% of all payments-related fraud in Australia. And to say it is a challenge for retailers—and the industry as a whole—is a vast understatement. With the astounding growth in eCommerce sales, this is not a problem in decline; it is rising aggressively and shows no signs of abating.
Challenge to Opportunity for ISOs
With the explosive growth of global eCommerce, the entire retail industry has become increasingly digitized, and in the U.S., eCommerce sales growth of more than 15 percent YoY continues to outpace stores. But at the same time, ISOs are feeling the squeeze as acquirers, logistics companies, card schemes, banks, and POS manufacturers (among others) have adapted their offerings with the goal of offering end-to-end payment applications and becoming a merchant’s sole provider.
However, ISOs can turn challenge into opportunity – and revenue – and can thrive despite the disruption of the traditional payments ecosystem.
How Connected Consumer Lifestyles Will Drive Forward Mobile Payments
Merchants are striving to respond to the ever-changing behaviors and expectations of consumers by creating seamless purchasing experiences that engage customers and keep them returning for more. In turn, payment service providers (PSPs) and technology vendors are endeavoring to meet the needs of those merchants by providing appropriate supporting technology and services.
Amazon & Whole Foods: A Game-Changer for Customer Experience
The estimated $700-billion-dollar grocery business recently got a jolt when Amazon announced its intended purchase of Whole Foods Market. With more than 450 stores in the U.S. and UK, Amazon will be plunging head first into the physical world of commerce.
How mCommerce and eCommerce Are Shaping the Infomercial (Cash, check or money order?)
If you enjoy watching infomercials as much as we do, you’re likely familiar with the payment option that closes out these delightful paid programs...which brings us to another edition of Rantings, focused on Payment Habits. And after all, who hasn’t purchased a ShamWow!? Mark, we’re approaching the unofficial start of summer (editor’s note: there’s likely a future post on summer holiday purchases) and even though there’s no correlation between vacations and COD (cash on demand)—at least I don’t think there’s one—it at least provides an awkward segue into Payment Habits.
Stop Fraud… Or Increase Conversion Rates? With a Fine-Tuned Fraud Engine, Merchants Can Do Both
Preventing fraud and driving high conversion rates are universally important objectives for merchants – but many struggle to adequately balance these two demands. They either employ aggressive fraud prevention strategies to minimize fraud losses, or conversely, reduce checks in order to prevent false positives, improve customer experience and ensure sales targets are met. Neither exclusive approach works in the long run; focusing on only one will prove costly on multiple fronts.