Business Online Journal
Optimize Payments for Your Online Store
By: Renzo Costarella
Published: October 22, 2016, 6:00 pm

If you own an e-commerce business you should have two things on your mind: how can you drive more traffic to your store and the easiest way you can get customers through the payment flow.

The checkout experience is a game within itself. Nobody really knows what the ideal checkout experience entails, and with new innovations in payments surfacing daily we're probably far from determining what that is. Nonetheless, there are methods that have proven to be successful when optimizing payments for your online store. Here are a few ways to get your customers "through the line" and paid. 

Implement Strong Risk Management Practices

According to the Global Fraud Index, a PYMNTS/Forter collaboration, the fraud attack rate for digital goods has tripled since Q1 of 2016. The takeaway? More innovations in payments means more opportunities for online scammers to weasel their way into your pocketbook. So, whether you're shopping on Amazon or the new online shoe store nobody has heard about, odds are you'll approach the checkout with some level of caution. Ideally, you want to mitigate that caution as much as possible, and here's how:

  • Do your research. There is an ample amount of data out there that points to common practices used by fraudsters and online scammers as well as how to avoid them. 
  • Eliminate false positives. A false positive is essentially when a legitimate payment is declined. If you can identify and eliminate these occurrences you will surely increase customer conversion rates and pinpoint truly illegitimate payments.  
  • Only store necessary information. The less customer information you store the more you'll reduce risk. Often times, online stores like to offer a "one-click checkout" experience that allows returning customers to checkout with ease. This is a great practice as it simplifies the checkout experience tenfold, however if you choose to do this make sure you have strong security measure or store customer data on a third party server.

See related: Stop E commerce Fraud in Its Tracks: Arm Your Business with These 10 Practices

Choose the Right Payment Processor

The payments world is a very complex one. The average person probably couldn't tell you all the steps involved in a credit card transaction. Long story short, there are a lot. Choosing the right payment processor for your online store is one of the most important steps in optimizing your overall payment experience. There are hundreds if not thousands of payment processing companies out there, here's how to pick the right one: 

  • Rates: Credit card processing rates vary quite a bit when you compare various companies. Some offer flat fees, some have monthly fees, and some have a combination of both. 
  • Documentation: Any legitimate payment processor is going to offer documentation that allows you to seamlessly integrate their processing solution. Some companies even offer their APIs and documentation to the public, so have your development team check it out before contacting them. 
  • Security and Compliance: PCI compliance is a set of security standards that ensures secure transactions. PCI compliance is tiered 1-3, so make sure you understand the implications of each. The more risk you can alleviate from yourself, the better. Make sure you go with a processor that is highly secure and compliant. 

See related: Top 101 Payments Companies for Businesses of All Sizes

Streamline your Checkout Flow

It's no secret that user experience can really make or break a business. As an online store owner, your job is to get your customer from the "add-to cart" button to the "pay now" button quickly and efficiently. Here's what to do:

  • Get inspiration: You don't need to be a world-class UX designer to implement this strategy. Go through at least 10 checkout flows of online companies you like to shop at. Take detailed notes of what you like and what you think needs improvement. This is an excellent practice to help get the ball rolling.
  • A/B testing: If you're deciding between a few different checkout experiences try them out with some A/B testing. Make sure you have proper analytics set up so you can track conversation rates, traffic, and other relevant data points. 
  • One-click payments: This was mentioned above as a common practice used by online retailers. Companies like Amazon use this practice to simplify the buying experience for recurring customers. This is great for customer retention and overall traffic. However you must be very disciplined in regards to security and storing consumer data. 


Photo credit: Roman Dementyev/Shutterstock