Ecommerce checkout design has come a long way in recent years.

As many big retailers focus on making the process as seamless as possible, guest checkouts are now seen as standard and slow-loading speeds are a thing of the past.

But what about payment preferences?

I’ve recently been questioning whether people do actually care if a site has a one-click buy option.

If the process is quick, transparent and easy - does it really matter?

According to new research from PayPal, the answer appears to be yes.

Here’s a closer look at the stats and the reasons why payment technology is still in demand during checkout.

Changing behaviour of consumers

In a study of 2,000 small businesses and more than 2,000 consumers, PayPal found that there was a stark contrast between retailers’ lack of innovation and the way consumers now browse and shop.

Despite the rising popularity of digital wallets, contactless payments and smartphones, 44% of small businesses have reportedly never reviewed their payment methods.

As a result, many could be missing out on sales.

In fact, mobile shopping could be the biggest factor here, with this area growing at nearly four times the rate of overall online spending in the UK.

What’s more, despite a fifth of consumers most frequently buying online using a smartphone, just 17% of small businesses are said to have mobile-optimised websites and just 4% have a mobile app.

Last year, we wrote about Starbucks Order and Pay – just one example of a brand using dedicated mobile payment app to streamline customer service.

Despite PayPal’s research focusing on smaller businesses, Starbucks is still a good case for what mobile technology can enable.

With its in-built wallet and GPS tracker, it makes ordering a coffee as easy as can be.

Some might question whether buying a coffee was really that hard to begin with.

And they would be right, yet it still goes to show how much value consumers today place on convenience.

Reasons behind abandoned checkouts

While long-winded forms and surprise delivery charges also contribute, a lack of payment options could be the reason behind many abandoned baskets.

According to PayPal’s study, 63% of consumers admit to abandoning an online purchase in the last three months due to being unable to pay the way they wanted.

Again, this goes back to convenience.

Being able to store your bank details or access a real-time payment method means faster and more spontaneous purchases – without the need to locate or enter in your debit or credit card details.

Below are two examples of the payment section on ecommerce sites.

Oasis' inclusion of PayPal means I am just a couple of clicks away from completing a purchase.

While H&M doesn't currently accept PayPal (though it is soon to introduce the feature), it does offer users the chance to save their card details for future purchases.

Furthermore, it gives customers the option to pay via an invoice and the chance to defer payment for a month.

These aren't necessarily convenient options for first-time customers, particularly on mobile where form filling is a pain, but could encourage repeat purchases from customers who have already setup an account.

Capitalising on new technology 

Just as PayPal isn’t the only payment service provider, there are many other companies utilising new technology to offer consumers even more options.

Zapp is one such company that has recently caught my eye.

It is a mobile payment service like Apple Pay or Pingit, however, Zapp takes away the need for a digital wallet by allowing consumers to buy with their bank’s own mobile banking app.

It will be interesting to see whether it takes off.

While it does require banks and retailers to partake, the ability to collect greater amounts of data means that it is likely to appeal.

For consumers, the ability to view bank details (like account balance etc.) at the point of purchase could be an added incentive.

Then again, it could put off those who prefer not to see money leaving their account.

In conclusion…

While there are many factors that can make or break a good UX, this latest research suggests that retailers should not underestimate or ignore payment preferences.

As technology advances, so will consumer expectations, meaning that retailers of all sizes should take heed.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 12 October, 2016 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (3)


Amanda Quinn, Business Development at Techquin

The need to fill in too many details is definitely a valid reason for an abandoned trolley!!

almost 2 years ago


Darren Ward, Director of Product Marketing at User Replay Ltd

Agree that having the right payment options is crucial. And also ensuring that they work as well. Our customers often use our solution (UserReplay) to understand which payment options users are choosing but also which payment options are not converting well and what obstacles they are throwing in people's way when you are closing the sale.

Remember, the conversion rate between the person clicking "Confirm order" and the order completion should be highest on the site (well over 90%). Hence, identifying issues, obstacles and the best payment options at this point is crucial. You have already done the hard work to get the customer's commitment to buy, Don't throw away the sale at the last second.

almost 2 years ago


Jeremy Pearmund, User Experience Architect at Connect IB

Not convinced about the effect on abandonment that the article attributes to payment options.

Payment options are just one factor in a purchase decision and only impact towards the end of the purchasing journey. Unless the payment options are diabolical (like they can't use any of the options presented), a customer will already have invested time making the decision and developed an emotional bond / desire for the product to the point that the payment options will not change their decision.

Consider the following scenario: I go into a coffee shop, order a coffee and then find they don't have contactless payment, I don't storm out and go somewhere else, I just use chip & pin. Contactless may make it easier, but it hasn't changed my purchasing behaviour or the stores I go into. I also don't spend more just because it's easier to pay.

I accept that some customers do then choose to go elsewhere based on payment options. However, if the product or service is the one they want, at the correct price, delivery options are convenient, returns and other policies imbue trust, the brand's reputation, the customer's personal past experience, and any previous customer reviews are all positive they may be willing to put up with a slower or less convenient payment option.

15 years working with major UK retailers has shown me that there are almost certainly much more important reason's why customers abandon than the payment options alone.

almost 2 years ago

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