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During the holiday rush, shoppers expect retailers to provide a smooth payment process when checking out their orders. Many are shopping online to avoid long lines and stressful holiday encounters.

Ensuring the checkout process is reliable, easy, and swift helps avoid cart abandonment. First, retailers must examine their checkout process from start to finish. They can address these issues head-on by identifying areas where shoppers are most likely to get stuck or frustrated. Next, they must ensure a seamless checkout experience to create repeat customers and loyal fans.

Creating Loyal Fans: The Goal of a Smooth Payment Process

Holiday sales are a great way to get new prospects in the door. A smooth payment process is one way to get them to keep coming back. Therefore, your goal is to create an experience that leads them to become life-long fans long after the holiday season.

It is easier when you understand the voice of your customer. Discovering wants, needs, and expectations helps you keep them engaged and interested. It allows you to fine-tune your checkout process and better serve them.

You’ll need to reach out to customers and prospects. You can use interviews, online surveys and forms, feedback from live chats, and social media. This omnichannel approach is not just for feedback. It also keeps customers engaged and interested.

Once you understand their challenges, you’re ready to improve your retail customer’s experience. A smooth payment process is critical. Customers should always have a seamless online experience, especially during the holiday season. Accordingly, you should have enough staff in your marketing, IT, and e-commerce departments to immediately address online problems. Be prepared to support the expected online holiday rush.

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Create a Smooth Payment Process to Better Serve Customers

Before retailers can create a smoother payment process, they must understand why customers and prospects are leaving the site. According to Baymard Institute, more than 70% of consumers abandon their carts when shopping online. The top issues that caused this included:

  • Unexpected fees and totals, including shipping and tax
  • Slow delivery times
  • Discomfort at sharing credit card information
  • Account creation is required to process the purchase
  • Complicated checkout process

How can retailers address these issues? First, recruit staff members to walk through your checkout process to discover where problems or confusion occurred. Next, take the time to tackle each issue. These steps help make an easier payment process:

Addressing Cost Totals

While you can’t eliminate tax or shipping fees, you can help customers see their totals as the transaction proceeds. For example, display the shipping costs as soon as the address and shipping options are known.

Make sure shoppers can clearly see any other fees. You can take steps to reduce credit card processing fees, like negotiating a lower rate or switching to a more affordable processor.

Some ways to offset these problems include offering gift card programs, loyalty programs, and discount codes. That said, do not offer these during the checkout process.

Slow Delivery Times

Slow delivery times are frustrating during the holiday season. However, you can improve them by offering more options, such as expedited shipping. You can also partner with a more reliable shipping provider.

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Trust With Payment Information

The idea of data security breaches may make prospective customers uncomfortable with sharing credit card information. To address this problem, you can offer alternative payment methods, such as PayPal.

It’s also important to display any data verification logos from the security system your shopping cart employs. It encourages customers to move forward through a smooth payment process by building trust.

Dealing with Account Creation

Remember, you can lose customers if you force them to create an account during checkout. Set up your shopping cart so that people can purchase as a guest.

Additionally, offering customers account creation during the process may confuse them even when not required. Remove this option from checkout. Instead, you can offer them to create an account on purchase follow-up, like in the purchase confirmation email.

How can you entice people to sign up for an account? Loyalty programs can offer your prospects many attractive options, especially around the holidays. Maximize your loyalty program’s impact during the holiday season with:

  • Enhanced return policies for members
  • Holiday-themed promotions such as games and sweepstakes
  • Holiday gift cards
  • Creating days when members can earn extra reward points
  • Buy now, pay later options

Complicated Checkout

First and foremost, customers want to check out quickly. While you can’t always reduce the number of steps, you can simplify what a user sees on their screen. Placing a bar that tracks checkout progress at the top helps keep shoppers on task.

Make error warnings, such as missing required information, clear. Use a red box and a pink background. Reduce text as much as possible on the page. Use a function that copies the billing address to the shipping address with a simple click. These small details make for a smoother checkout process.

As the holiday season approaches, retailers must prepare their systems to support online shoppers. These customers expect a speedy and smooth payment process. Get ahead of the game now by testing systems, making checkout more seamless, and understanding what customers want. Make this holiday season rewarding for all your shoppers, and you will be rewarded with loyal customers in return.

Blog Contribution: Amanda Winstead