There's no question that the past two years have seen a dramatic shift in how consumers shop. According to Cybersource's Global Digital Shopping Index, U.S. consumers have increased their use of digital shopping channels by 60% and those new habits are likely to stick.
What is one of the most important parts of any shopping experience? Making sure the payment actually goes through. Digital acceptance – that moment when a digital payment method either works or is denied – is a vital part of the customer shopping experience. 451 Research's "Voice of the Connected User Landscape" survey found that nearly half of all respondents abandoned an online shopping cart due to difficulties completing the purchase – of those, 67% either didn't make the purchase at all or bought the item somewhere else.
So as the year draws to a close and businesses look at their growth plans, ahead - here are the three payments "resolutions" that every company must make to ensure their customers never face that moment of friction at the check-out screen.
1. Make payments as customer-centric as the rest of the shopping experience:
Digital-first businesses have come of age in a time when every step of their customer's experience can be managed, data can be analyzed and outcomes can be improved. If a business is willing to commit time, thought and resources to understanding what items customers buy together in order to drive relevant advertising or build a new app that offers a unique shopping experience, they must ensure that the actual moment of sale is just as customer-centric.
Start by thinking through the different types of shopping experiences you want to create – and who you want to create them for. Are you targeting shoppers in one country or are you looking to grow globally and build great experiences across hundreds of countries? What should that feel like and how can you build something consistent that will meet all your customers' expectations?
When it comes to the actual checkout, create an experience that will be a reflection of the brand. Make it as frictionless as possible for customers, but don't skip the vital authorization step to combat the bad actors so you don't end up with the burden of loss to fraudsters (and a bad experience for everyone).
2. Ensure an omnichannel experience that meets consumers where they want to pay:
Businesses can no longer afford to think about consumers in unique buckets: people who shop online, people who shop in-store, people who shop in an app. The truth is that customers exist across all of these channels so businesses need to be prepared to offer a fluid, omnichannel payments experience.
Forrester's research found that the average U.S. consumer is connected to 4.7 connected devices, 4.4 social platforms and 3.2 channels. Committing to a seamless digital acceptance process means enabling consumers to pay across all of those channels – with whatever their preferred payment method may be.
Start by making sure your developers have the flexibility to access the connections they need to integrate omnichannel payments into your global commerce platform. Businesses can't create great customer experiences without a capable network of processors, acquirers, solution integrators and tech partners. Ensure that those partners offer flexible cloud-based platforms, modern APIs and modular services that can scale.
3. Make it Inclusive
Inclusion has been a major theme in how businesses think and behave – but what businesses should resolve to do in the new year is ensure their digital acceptance is inclusive as well.
What can inclusion look like at the check-out screen? It's all about giving customers choices and welcoming them in through whatever payments "door" they want to come through. For businesses that means enabling all types of payments, whether it's traditional credit or debit, "Buy Now, Pay Later" options that offer more flexibility, or even cryptocurrency, which has seen a recent boost as a payments option. It can also mean being mindful of global customers and the local payment methods and currencies they'd prefer to use for a purchase.
There are still a few weeks left in the year for businesses to get a jump on their 2022 planning and goals. Take this opportunity to reassess payments platforms and partners and resolve to make digital acceptance a priority in the months ahead.