Problems in the online shop sink businesses, yet few develop their payment methods
The results of the Finnish Commerce Federation’s study of retail payment methods are bleak. Even though a little hiccup in the payment phase can cause customers to leave and never come back, few businesses are actively improving their online payment services.
The smoothness of payment plays a significant role in the success of sales. According to a survey by the Finnish Commerce Federation, 44 per cent of online customers had interrupted their purchase in the payment phase at least once in the past year, and nearly a third of such customers do not think they will use the same service again.
Purchases can be interrupted by technical difficulties of the lack of a preferred payment method. Many online shoppers also have a change of heart in the payment phase.
“Customers expect to use their preferred payment methods online, so offering those methods is a part of customer service”, says Anu Mäkinen, owner of Ipanainen, a children’s clothing store with brick-and-mortar and online outlets. “Good customer service also includes a clear purchase path so that the customer does not have to navigate 15 pages just to buy something.”
In the mobile channel, the smoothness of the purchase process is even more important. If the mobile shop fails, most customers will not come back a second time to see if it might work after all.
INTEGRATING PAYMENT SYSTEMS CAN BE TRICKY
Merchants feel that combining the payment systems of brick-and-mortar and online shops is difficult. The largest obstacles are major differences between the systems and the perceived lack of benefits achieved with combining them. Costs, lack of competence and difficulties in finding a suitable partner are also in the way of payment system integration.
Ipanainen has been working on combining their payment systems for some time now and has encountered its share of challenges.
“It seems like our company is in a challenging size category: we cannot afford to invest hundreds of thousands in the integration, but solutions designed for micro enterprises are too light for us”, Mäkinen says.
Only 14 per cent of companies with physical and online outlets have integrated their payment systems. Another 19 per cent are in the process of integrating their systems or planning an integration. However, the majority of companies are not yet even planning to integrate their systems in spite of the demonstrated benefits.
APPRECIATED BY CUSTOMERS AND STAFF
“The more our payment systems communicate with each other, the better we are able to serve the customer”, Mäkinen says. “Our aim is to give online customers a real-time view of the products and quantities we have in stock.”
The integration of payment systems also makes the jobs of employees easier.
“At present, we have to spend an immense amount of time manually updating different systems”, says Mäkinen. “This makes the orientation of new employees a whole lot
since they have to learn the use of many systems at once.”
Even though the updates can be a lot of work, stopping development is never a good thing in digital services. Nobody is forcing companies to renew, but competitors both near and far will eventually brush aside businesses whose services are not up to international standards.