Corporations that put tens of millions on the desk with pointless checkout errors

Countless sums of money are spent on marketing to guide customers through the virtual front door, to help them find what they are looking for or even to give purchase recommendations. But when it comes to getting paid, so little is done to make it easy for the customer.

By Stripe ANZ Head of Growth Hayley Hopwood.

Stripe ANZ Head of Growth Hayley Hopwood.

We all felt this desperate feeling when we tried to buy something online. You have finally found the item you were looking for and there is only one left in stock. Then you come to the checkout. The form skips around on the page, doesn't fit on your screen, and requires you to scroll through the five year options for your card's expiration date. One wonders whether it's really worth it.

With eight out of ten lost sales in Australia failing on the checkout side, businesses need to see improving checkout quality as a key lever in protecting revenue.

Checkout form design

Australian consumers expect a fast, intuitive and mobile-optimized payment experience, with a third (35%) saying they would abandon a purchase if the payment took more than two minutes. Dealers fail this two-minute test. Just under half (47%) of consumers say that it takes them an average of more than three minutes to complete a purchase. As a result, a quarter (25%) of online shoppers abandoned a purchase in the past year due to a long checkout process.

If your business sells online, you go through the checkout process yourself to share the experience with your customers and find time to watch others go through as they can interact with your checkout in different ways. Also check out other people's registers and you'll find that the little details, like automatically displaying the correct card logo when someone starts entering their number, can make a huge difference to the overall experience.

Mobile optimization

Mobile device optimization has been talked about for so long that I wouldn't blame you for rolling your eyes at this subheading. But customer expectations are still not being met. While smartphones account for more than 50% of e-commerce traffic, shopping carts are abandoned more than twice as quickly on mobile devices as they are on desktop computers.

Even today, 13 years after the introduction of the iPhone, we see registers that do not automatically adjust to the size of the customer's device. While it's true that mistakes like not adjusting to screen size are becoming increasingly rare, we still see that 13% of websites in Australia don't offer number keys for entering card numbers, and very few websites offer digital wallets like Apple Pay or Google Pay that allow for a convenient one-click payment experience.

How important it is to be local

If mobile optimization feels like an old, unsolved problem, local optimization is much older and far from a solution.

Too many Australian registers are built on the false assumption that consumers in other markets will follow the same payment habits as they do in the company's home market. Indeed, Australia has a deeply fragmented and idiosyncratic web of payment cultures and preferences.

19% of Australian consumers abandoned a purchase in the past year because their preferred payment method was not available. Interestingly, the solution is about offering the right combination of payment options rather than increasing the number of payment methods.

Offering the right local payment options will help increase sales. A separate Stripe study found that companies saw a 27% increase in sales when they offered Afterpay. Likewise, the offering of Alipay, a popular payment method in China, has doubled business revenue for Chinese consumers.

Don't leave any receipts on the table

Our research has explored many of the most visited websites across Australia that you can't expect basic errors to occur in such a multitude. But when it comes to checkout design, we see more and more David beating Goliath.

Ironically, that's because great checkout design comes from the size. You want to look at many transactions to model which small iterations can have some impact on the conversion. The Goliaths of the Internet rely on in-house teams to take advantage of their own custom size, but smaller websites that use SaaS-based checkouts take advantage of the vast expertise of outside software vendors and the combined size of millions of websites.

About Hayley Hopwood

Hayley Hopwood is Head of Growth at Stripe ANZ. Prior to joining Stripe in 2019, Hayley held positions at Travelex, Western Union, PayPal and Australia Post. She has been in the finance and technology sector for more than 20 years and is passionate about leveraging new technology and navigating teams through the ever-changing landscape. Hayley was recognized as one of the leading female executives at the Women in Payments Symposium 2020.

About Stripe

Stripe is a technology company building an economical infrastructure for the Internet. Businesses of all sizes use Stripe software to accept online payments and conduct sophisticated financial transactions in more than 100 countries. Stripe helps new businesses get started and grow their sales, and established businesses accelerate into new markets and introduce new business models. Stripe aims to increase the GDP of the internet.

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