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.