If you want to improve the purchase pipeline and make paying easier, everything starts with a thorough study of user analytics. In the best scenario, the company has been monitoring purchase pipeline analytics and factors that influence customer choices carefully, regularly and for a long time. This gives the service provider a clear picture of where the worst bottlenecks are and which factors have the greatest impact on sales conversion. On the basis of this information, the service can then be developed in a regular cycle, learning from each implemented change.

Unfortunately, the monitoring of analytics is often too shallow, which can lead to big losses. Even though sales figures, visitor amounts and conversion can, with luck, meet the targets set for them, detailed scrutiny can reveal clear issues and areas in need of improvement. In the worst-case scenario, if you do not remember to constantly question the functionality of your service, you can squander your chances for growth and fast profits. Mistakes are quickly multiplied if, for example, increased visitor volumes achieved by marketing investments are not converted into sales as efficiently as possible.

BUYING IS MORE THAN PAYING

When setting out to redesign the purchase path, the designers need to understand which usability challenges, service features or technical issues improve sales conversion or cause users to fall by the wayside. It is vital to analyze the entire purchase process from product comparison and selection to the final payment transaction and post-sales customer service processes. When you look at the whole, you can start solving the right problems from the start.

Analytics can tell you surprising things. For example, you may notice that a user who visits a certain sales page or uses certain filters to limit the product selection is more likely to make a purchase. By studying these elements that influence conversion, designers can identify exceptional features in the introduction page or possible wider user needs behind the choice of filter. The user experience can then be improved by applying these findings to other parts of the service.

Well-designed analytics will also reveal technical issues that may not generate actual error reports in the systems. For example, if more Android users are dropping out at certain points in the sales pipeline, the reason can be a usability issue that only affects certain devices or operating systems. If this group represents a large percentage of service users, you have arrived at the root of the problem.

THE USER EXPERIENCE CONTINUES ACROSS SERVICES

It is not unheard of for a major purchase path pitfall to be found in a third-party service. You need to ensure that your payment service meets the needs of users and service providers. The ideal service is customizable and functions perfectly on all terminal devices. Particularly on mobile devices, there are big differences in the user experiences and functionality of payment services, and a well-known provider is not always a guarantee of service usability.

Unfortunately, not everything is up to you. Even if the payment service measures up to the wildest fantasies of the designer, few Finnish banks offer mobile-friendly online payment processes, for example. If that is the case, the service provider does not have many options apart from trying to steer mobile users toward credit cards or other easy payment methods.

FIGURES AND USER SURVEYS HELP MAKE PAYMENT EASIER

Every little user feedback, test or interview helps determine the causes of problems that cannot be identified through analytics. Perhaps the biggest problem causing interrupted payments is the lack of a preferred payment method from your service? The Finnish Commerce Federation’s study of online transactions recently revealed that this is one of the biggest reasons for payment interruption in Finnish online services, right after technical problems and changes of heart.

On the basis of analytics, user studies and observations, the designer makes the assumptions on which the improvements to the purchase experience will be built. The required changes can be extensive, such as a complete restructuring of the digital service. At other times, minor improvements can achieve noticeable results.

Follow-up and constant measurement is an important part of design, since only the figures will tell what impact the choices and changes ultimately had. The results will indicate whether the design and technology choices were correct and what the next step should be.