Payments at the heart of e-commerce success, research finds

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Over a quarter of people who abandon an online purchase do so because the website does not offer their preferred method of payment, especially younger consumers, who have high expectations of the payments process.

According to a survey of 2,000 UK adults commissioned by Skrill, 28 per cent of people abandon on online purchase purely because they are not satisfied with the payments options offered. This figure rises to nearly a third (32 per cent) of 18-24 year olds failing to convert into paying customers at the last hurdle.

The next generation of young adults appear to have different expectations when it comes to the availability of alternative payment methods. This group was 8 per cent more likely than people aged 65 and above (24 per cent) to abandon a purchase at the final stage.

Younger generations are more open to new technological advances in the payments industry. The 18-24 year group are more likely to use a digital wallet than any other age group, with 14 per cent of young adults using them for every purchase they make, and a further 39 per cent in this age group using them to pay regularly.

The survey highlighted that using a credit or debit card is still the most popular way for consumers (57 per cent) to pay online. Digital wallets are the next most popular method (29 per cent) followed by bank transfers (2 per cent), text pay services (1 per cent) and virtual currencies (1 per cent).

“Growing numbers of consumers feel comfortable buying goods and services online and they want to be able to pay in the way that is familiar and convenient,” said Chantal Willis, VP of e-commerce at Skrill. “Businesses in our towns and on our high streets already provide a variety of payment options for customers, so it seems odd they would not replicate this online. Imagine a supermarket unveiling a brand new store that looks great but only accepts cheques as payments.”

“Our data shows while businesses are investing huge sums getting customers to the point of making a purchasing decision, they risk not completing the sale if they only accept card payments,” she added. They must ensure they have systems in place to cater for the half of the population who prefer alternative payment methods. Given online stores attract customers from anywhere in the world, the need to offer a wide range of payment options is absolutely crucial.”

Providing multiple payments is vital for retailers to get the e-commerce conversion rates that they need. When brick and mortar stores are implementing all kinds of payment methods, online sites need to do the same. It is already easier to abandon an online basket than a real one, so the payments process need to be as user friendly as possible.

Other major gripes that consumers cited as the cause of abandoned transactions, included the website being too slow to load or regularly crashing (43 per cent); having to register for an account first (38 per cent); the website asking for too much information (32 per cent); not trusting that the website is secure (25 per cent); realising the website was not UK-based (14 per cent) or finally, being required to pay in a different currency (6 per cent). Online businesses ignoring these bugbears could risk losing significant revenue.

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