5 minute read
*Editor's note: This article was updated on November 8, 2021 from its original publish date of November 2, 2020.
The trend towards ecommerce will continue to accelerate this holiday season, as experts are placing their bets on a strong season for online sales. Mastercard expects to see holiday ecommerce sales increase by 7.6% over 2020. Retail executives have even stronger growth projections for their online channels, expecting to experience double-digit growth, according to Deloitte's annual retail holiday survey.
Coupled with the general uptick in online shopping this year–global consumers are expected to spend $4.89 trillion online in 2021–you can expect this holiday season to be your busiest yet. Even ecommerce giant Amazon launched its "Black Friday-worthy deals" the first week of October in anticipation of an earlier start to the season than ever before. They're onto something: A new consumer study by the National Retail Federation reports that 49% of consumers will browse or buy for the holidays before November, up from 42% in 2020.
Businesses of all sizes are looking to capitalize on the sea change sparked by the pandemic as online holiday shopping increased 50% in 2020 over the previous year.
Meeting the payment expectations of holiday shoppers will be key to capturing your share of ecommerce spending. Use our holiday payments checklist to make critical optimizations to your ecommerce site to ensure you're delivering for your customers.
Allow your customers to pay their way
When a customer has their phone in one hand and an eggnog latte in the other, they can't always reach for their wallet. That's why you need to think beyond credit and debit cards to offer a full range of online payment methods. Integrate digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Alipay into your checkout process so shoppers can pay with one click.
In addition, use your online payments analytics to understand other ways customers might want to pay. For example, if you have a large international audience, accepting local payment methods can help you capture sales in specific markets. Meanwhile, payment methods that offer flexible terms like recurring billing, subscription services, or deferred payment options like buy now, pay later (BNPL) can help customers buy what they need when they need it.
Simplify checking out
In a busy holiday season, it's key to make your checkout process as simple as possible so that people don't get frustrated and abandon their purchases. Do whatever you can to remove extraneous fields and clicks; ideally, your entire checkout process should be on one page. If you do require multiple pages, add a progress bar so customers know how much longer it will take. See our infographic for additional ways to optimize your customer's checkout experience.
Add card storage
What good is being a loyal customer if the store treats you like a stranger every time you visit, even if it is online? One way you can reward customer loyalty is to implement card storage so you can auto-fill payment details at checkout. This removes the need to type in payment details again and again, which can help make your site their go-to source for a major shopping spree or to get a quick stocking stuffer.
Update card information automatically
A small but annoying thing for a customer is to go through the checkout process only to have the sale rejected because their card expiration is out of date. If they have to go get their wallet, it adds a point of friction that can cost the sale. By using account updater services, you can automatically refresh your customers' account information without any work on their part.
Brand your checkout process
If you don't host your checkout process, it can throw customers for a loop as they get transferred from your site to the payments page. This jarring experience can create doubt in the customer's mind, causing them to abandon the sale. Make sure your brand is represented on your payments page by using your logo, brand colors, and language so that your customers feel more confident about clicking the “Pay Now" button.
Offer guest checkout
When shopping for that fun relative, a customer might find the exact right gift on your site. But that doesn't mean they want to create yet another account. Instead of making customers create an account and sign in to complete a purchase, offer guest checkout that lets them buy without registering. You can always offer the opportunity to create an account after the sale is complete–after all, that fun relative's birthday might be just around the corner.
Provide one-click shopping
One way to entice shoppers into creating an account is to offer one-click purchases. This lets customers store their payment details and shipping information so they can buy with just one click. Promote one-click shopping to encourage more account sign ups while reducing checkout friction for your most frequent customers.
Remember their purchase history
It's always easier to get additional sales from a happy customer than to attract a new customer. By leveraging your customers' buying history, you can create a personalized shopping experience that provides product suggestions that helps them maximize a past purchase or prompts them to reorder a frequently purchased consumable product. A powerful reporting tool can help you unlock your customer data to create an even better experience and keep them coming back.
Be mobile friendly
Just like they do the rest of the year, holiday shoppers live on their phones. Mobile ecommerce is expected to account for 72.9% of all ecommerce sales in 2021, which means you need to build your ecommerce site and checkout process with a small screen in mind.
Did you know?
Mobile ecommerce is expected to account for 72.9% of all ecommerce in 2021
Simplify navigation, reduce unnecessary content, minimize form fields, and increase button size to optimize the mobile checkout experience. An added bonus is that your desktop checkout experience will benefit from this streamlined experience, reducing friction for all your customers.
Ensure payment securityWhile holiday shoppers are busier than ever, they're still on guard for payment fraud. By implementing a best-in-class security experience, you can give customers the confidence they need to complete the sale.
You can provide protection with tokenization that replaces sensitive data like account numbers with tokens to shield access to customer data. Another is to implement 3D Secure 2.0, which helps you reduce fraud and decrease your liability for chargebacks while meeting European Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) regulations.
Ensuring your security measures are top-notch helps you avoid making it onto the naughty list while building trust in your brand.
Wrapping It Up
Is your payments process on the naughty or nice list? Give yourself the gift of more ecommerce revenue this year by using this checklist to evaluate your payments.
- Offer a payment mix that meets the needs of your customers.
- Simplify your checkout process.
- Add features to make checkout seamless like card storage, automatic payment detail updates, guest checkout, or one-click shopping.
- Reflect your brand at checkout.
- Use your payment data to help make revenue-generating decisions.
- Optimize your checkout for mobile.
- Ensure your security is up to par.