opinion

Are Your Payment Forms Losing You Sales?

Are Your Payment Forms Losing You Sales?
Gary Jackson

Whatever product online merchants are selling, their ultimate goal is conversions — and one cannot overstate the importance of payment forms, which can make or break a transaction. The difference between effective and ineffective payment forms can mean the difference between finalizing the sale or not finalizing the sale.

For merchants, e-commerce transactions can be equated to running a marathon. Even if one is selling a great product and has built considerable traffic, weak or inadequate payment forms can be a deal breaker — and when that happens, it isn’t unlike a professional runner who has made it 98 percent of the way, but trips and falls before reaching the finish line.

Merchants need payment forms that are as up-to-date and user-friendly as possible by 2017 standards — not the standards of half a decade ago.

Merchants need to make absolutely certain that their payment forms are as effective as possible, and that means taking the technology, currency, linguistic and geographic needs of consumers into consideration.

In 2017, many consumers favor a multi-device experience when shopping online. Someone who is accessing the internet via a desktop or laptop in the morning might be using a smartphone in the afternoon or evening, and payment forms must be equipped to handle transactions on any variety of devices.

When the consumer is ready to close the deal, payment forms must be easy to use whether the consumer has a desktop iMac, a Windows-based laptop, a smartphone or a smart TV — and consumers who find a payment form to be a hassle are likely to decide against making a purchase. Merchants should never assume that if a payment form isn’t smartphone-friendly, consumers will simply wait until they are on a desktop or laptop to make the purchase; they might decide that the purchase isn’t worth the aggravation and kill the deal.

At CCBill, we have conducted tests on our own payment systems, and the abandonment rate among mobile users was 30 percent higher on payment forms that aren’t mobile-friendly than it was on payment forms that were mobile-friendly. In other words, almost one out of three mobile users decided against making a purchase if the payment form they were served was not optimized for mobile use.

Even if a payment form is device-friendly, however — even if the form can accommodate a variety of devices and operating systems — failing to address geographic, linguistic and currency considerations can also kill the deal.

In 2017, many e-commerce companies are marketing to customers all over the world, and with the right payment forms, a company with a Chicago or Seattle address can have high conversion rates in Prague, Vienna, Melbourne or Florence. But payment forms must be optimized for those markets. A payment services provider that thinks internationally will make sure companies can offer payment forms that are user-friendly in a variety of countries.

If payment forms are dynamic, they will not only determine where the potential customer is based — they will automatically come up in that person’s language, offer local payment methods and store them. So, if the potential customer lives in Sweden, a payment form will appear in Swedish with a price in euros. And Sweden’s preferred payment methods will be available.

Payment preferences can vary considerably from one country to another. Although credit cards dominate online payments in the U.S. and Canada, the dominant payment options in other countries might range from direct debit to local bank cards. Payment service providers should take that into consideration, making certain merchants’ forms can accommodate a variety of payment preferences in a variety of countries.

Additional CCBill research has found that customers enjoy a very localized experience when shopping online. Even multilingual consumers appreciate payment forms in their native language. A potential customer in the Netherlands might be fluent in several languages and speak English and German almost as well as they speak Dutch; even so, they will appreciate payment forms coming up in Dutch just as they will appreciate being able to pay in euros.

Technology evolves rapidly in the digital age, and antiquated payment forms designed for the Internet users of 2011 or 2012 are going to fall flat in 2017.

Merchants need payment forms that are as up-to-date and user-friendly as possible by 2017 standards — not the standards of half a decade ago — and one way to achieve that is through split testing, also known as A/B testing or multivariate testing. In order to ensure that their forms are going to increase conversions rather than driving customers away, merchants should ask their payment service providers if they offer thorough, comprehensive testing for payment forms.

Regional testing of payment forms can be an excellent way for merchants to determine which countries are or aren’t lucrative for them. Let’s say, for example, that a merchant’s site has high traffic in Germany but a weak conversion rate in that country. If the merchant’s payment forms are not optimized for Germany, regional testing can pinpoint exactly where the forms are going wrong — and a savvy payment service provider understands the importance of regional forms testing.

When seeking a payment service provider, another thing merchants should inquire about is the ability to determine what is known as “regional pricing.” For example: a U.S.-based merchant might be charging $20 for a product; using a payment service provider’s regional pricing feature, and that merchant could specify that the product would sell for exactly $20 in Australian dollars in Australia, £20 in the U.K. or an even €20 in Spain, Germany, Italy, France and other countries that have the euro as their official currency. Instead of showing consumers currency conversion fees, regional pricing allows merchants to bill them in nice, even amounts — which adds to the type of localized buying experience that consumers around the world appreciate.

Customer support needs to be localized as well. A savvy payment service provider can see to it that merchants offer local, toll-free support numbers in a variety of markets.

Having payment forms that are effective all around the world might seem like a daunting task. But with the right payment service provider, it’s certainly doable — and the better the payment forms, the more profits they are likely to yield.

Gary Jackson, managing vice president of sales at CCBill, brings nearly two decades of experience in the online media and commerce markets to the industry. Since joining CCBill in 2006, he has been a champion for CCBill’s business expansion for merchants and partners of CCBill, as indicated by the launch of a number of pioneering software innovations and traffic tools, including FlexForms, Merchant Connect, Integration Partners and the industry’s first stored payment service, CCBill Pay.

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