Four payment strategies that can boost your mcommerce
The shopping habits of consumers are constantly changing and retailers need to be responsive or risk losing customers. Today, mcommerce is one of the most popular channels in retail, growing 300% faster than ecommerce. Retailers across the world have been benefitting from this growth, in particular in the UK where in the last year alone, mobile spending has increased by 77.8%.
However, we are only seeing the top of the ice berg when it comes to mcommerce as most retailers are not even fully equipped to handle mobile customers. A recent survey revealed that one in seven retailers did not have mobile customised websites or apps in place, with only 3% considering themselves mobile-ready.
Retailers that are without a fully mobile optimised website are going to make it more difficult for their customers to buy from them across channels. Customers would have to overcome lengthy and complicated checkout processes before they are able to complete their orders, which would very likely lead to customers abandoning their carts before completing the purchase. In 2013 alone, cart abandonment resulted in over £6bn in lost revenue for UK retailers.
Today, consumers are becoming more and more impatient when it comes to their online experience. They are demanding a more convenient and streamlined mobile shopping experience, particularly with regard to the payment process.
The payment process has been referred to as a “pain point” in the shopping experience, in particular when it comes to online commerce; it should be streamlined as much as possible. “You’re asking customers to do something they don’t want to do” says Jack Smith, New Look’s group digital director, “you’re making it really arduous for them at the same time.” The fashion retailer went through an extensive campaign to reduce their mobile checkout process down to two pages and found that their conversion rates soared as a result.
Retailers need to understand that for a lot of them, their current mobile shopping experience is a tiring and difficult one and it is putting customers off. If they want to increase their mcommerce sales, they need to make this a more enjoyable experience for customers and improving their mobile payment processes is key.
How can retailers make payments easy and convenient – and stay ahead of the competition in 2016?
1. The customer is always right
While this may be quite obvious, retailers that sell in the way their customers buy, or want to buy, are more likely to convert visitors to the website. It is important that retailers use all the resources available to them, such as analytics and consumer surveys, to find out as much information as possible about their customer base and their shopping habits. This removes a lot of guess work and allows retailers to really know what their customers want, so they can provide it for them.
M&S, an Elite retailer in Internet Retailing’s IRUK Top500, did exactly this when it was redesigning its website ahead of the 2014 launch of its own platform. After analysing the behaviour of visitors to its website, M&S discovered that shoppers often put products in their basket from a mobile device but then made the purchase itself from a desktop device. This demonstrated the significance of having a shopping cart that was available to consumers across all sales channels.
2. Always stay on the move
More and more of us are now using our mobile phones to complete our online purchases and retailers who make their mcommerce experience simpler for customers will benefit from greater sales. Customers do not like the thought of having to enter their card details each time they complete a purchase but are also wary of saving their details online in case they fall into the hands of hackers. Retailers, such as Amazon, are overcoming this by offering one-click checkouts which greatly reduce the unfriendliness of the mobile shopping experience. Unsurprisingly, as a result, Amazon has seen its mcommerce sales grow by 110% in 2014 to $16.8bn.
3. Tailoring services to the needs of customers
The payment habits of consumers differ greatly from country to country. Therefore, it is important that retailers are aware of the preferred payment methods of choice for each specific territory and to be prepared to accept a range of different ones.
For example, Dutch shoppers prefer to pay with iDeal which is used by 60% of them, while those in Germany and the Nordic countries prefer to use bank transfers. Therefore, research is key. Retailers need to be aware of the nuances of each country and be prepared to accept them.
4. Maintaining a secure online environment
Consumers are becoming more aware of the potential threats they face online from hackers. High-profile data breaches, such as TalkTalk and Ashley Madison, have also reminded consumers that even the biggest companies are vulnerable to attack. Therefore, it is of paramount importance for retailers to protect their shopper’s data and to provide a safe online environment for them.
Fortunately, there are many solutions which can help provide a secure online experience, but they often come at the cost of reducing the user friendliness of the online platform. Retailers then need to find the right balance of security and convenience for their customers. It is ultimately up to the retailers themselves to ensure that their payment processing meets the requirements of the PCI Security Standards Council.
By following these four key steps, merchants are well on the way to ensuring their payments are easy, secure and convenient for shoppers. The latest trends in payment strategy and technologies will be discussed in April this year on the show floor, and at the dedicated digital payments theatre at InternetRetailing Expo in Birmingham.
Find out more and register for free at www.internetretailingexpo.com
Ian Jindal is an experienced multichannel retailer and editor-in-chief of InternetRetailing.