Checkout Optimization Challenges: Top Tips for Online Merchants
As the current conference season draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on one of the key topics topping the agenda for many online merchants: checkout optimization.
Over the last couple of months, I’ve been involved in a number of panel debates focused on how merchants can grow internationally and build (and retain) direct customer relationships with new segments. Merchants are seeking to own consumer data, to enable them to market more effectively to their customers. While having that customer data and a solid relationship is the holy grail, the trade-off is that the merchant must address a range of operational challenges, including website user experience, stock, payments regulation (including PSD2, PCI DSS compliance) and checkout optimization.
The impact of customer journeys on conversion
Savvy merchants understand that a smooth customer journey and optimized checkout experience make a huge different to conversion rates and therefore to the bottom line – as well as long-term growth. But achieving this is still somewhat of a grey area. The questions we’ve been recently asked include:
- What are the most important things for retailers to consider when optimizing their sites to support high-quality customer journeys?
- How can customer journeys lead to certain behaviors; for example, are some on-site behaviors indicative of potential fraudsters?
- Which delivery and payment options should be promoted at – or even prior to – the checkout?
- How do you prioritize site optimization tasks in this tough market?
Checkout optimization is undoubtedly a key component to increasing conversion rates on both eCommerce and mobile channels, but it is never a straightforward, standard, or static task. Answering the above questions on how to tackle checkout optimization challenges will always be dependent on the individual business drivers, objectives and customer segments of each merchant.
However, there are a number of common considerations that all merchants can use as a starting point. Here are our top tips for online merchants:
- Ensure that the checkout process is short and simple. Review pages and/or special offer codes should be presented prior to the checkout flow to avoid distractions that can result in customers leaving the site, or abandoning their purchase.
- Display the preferred local payment methods readily available in the most prominent position on the checkout page.
- Use tokenization where you can, especially if you are offering mobile checkout, to help keep the process quick and simple. Using tokenization also allows you to move towards an omni-channel experience for your customers, enabling buy online, return in store, click and collect and other cross-channel options.
- Use multi-layered fraud tools as part of the checkout process. This can help drive up conversion rates and reduce attempted fraud and chargeback levels. Always monitor false positives and rules within your fraud tools to maximize efficiency and revenue.
- Always test site navigation, checkout optimization and other elements of the customer journey and make necessary adjustments to ensure that you maximize spend on site by making the checkout flow as simple and appealing as possible.
What is on the horizon for merchants as the deadline for Secure Customer Authentication (SCA) looms? Read “PSD2 and Strong Customer Authentication – What's in Store for Merchants?” by ACI’s Jackie Barwell. Or get in touch with Chris Andrews to talk in depth about checkout optimization and eCommerce payments strategy.
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