Consumers will use fingers and toes to vote in online stores. This is very apparent in the study published by the Finnish Commerce Federation and the University of Tampere (source in Finnish). According to the study, a large percentage of online store purchases are cancelled during the payment stage. One of the main reasons is the lack of a preferred payment method.
Finding the right payment method is an essential part of the online store customer experience. When the purchasing process feels easy and above all safe, the customer will be happy to shop at the store again. For the consumer, familiarity with the payment stage can be more important than the price.
Finns prefer to pay for their online store purchases using an online bank
Payment methods need to be localized for an online store just like product texts, pictures and units of measure. Sometimes Finnish online stores offer only credit cards as a payment method to serve both Finnish and international customers. By doing so, stores attempt to offer everything for everyone – a strategy that rarely works well in commerce.
Statistics show that Finns still prefer to pay for their online purchases using their online bank.
According to the Finnish Commerce Federation study, 39 % of online purchases are paid using an online bank. In the distribution of payment methods via Paytrail, the share of online banks is much higher. Up to 86 % of online purchases have been made through online banks.
Adding online banks to an online store’s payment method selection shouldn’t be seen as an expense, but instead as an opportunity to serve one’s customers better and therefore improve sales.
Of course, industry traditions of the online store and its target group will also influence the preference of various payment methods. The Finnish Commerce Federation study shows for example that in cosmetics an invoice sent with the order is still the most popular payment method, whereas home electronics are purchased online often using a credit card or PayPal.
Banks, credit cards and invoice are essential payment methods
As one might expect based on the results of the study, the most important way to improve conversion at payment stage, and thereby also the customer experience is to offer a comprehensive selection of payment methods. For online store selling to Finns, this means offering Finnish online banks, credit cards as well as invoice and installments.
The easiest way to get a selection of payment methods for one’s online store is to use a specialized payment service provider who handles the payment processing and the payment service availability and updates.
By using an outsourced payment service provider, the selection of payment methods will stay up to date when changes occur within a payment method. For example, the most recent change was in the summer of 2016, when Säästöpankki split into two separate banks. After this change, about 100,000 Finnish customers started using Oma Säästöpankki. Without the Oma Säästöpankki payment method, an online store instantly left thousands of potential customers outside their customer base.
In addition, payment service providers keep an eye out for new payment methods and handle the integration into their service. According to Jaana Kurjenoja of the Finnish Commerce Federation, consumer studies show that consumer trends favored by young people always spread. This will also be the case with payment methods.
Additional methods to improve conversion in the payment stage
A broad selection of payment methods is one of the key factors for improving conversion in the payment stage. In addition, a merchant has the following means at their disposal:
SHOW THE FINAL PRICE CLEARLY BEFORE THE CHECKOUT STAGE
An online purchase may be cancelled because the customer has second thoughts after seeing the shipping costs of the purchase. The Finnish Commerce Federation study suggests the same.
A continuing problem at Finnish online stores is that shipping or other additional fees are not being shown clearly before the final payment stage. This has taught customers to go through the checkout process just to see the final price of the order. The merchant will see this as a cancelled payment, even though the customer never intended to buy anything in the first place.
If the customer finds it necessary to check for any potential additional fees, they have not been told clearly enough during the purchasing process what final price will include. This can be easily fixed by the merchant.
BUILD A DIRECT PATH TO CHECKOUT
E-commerce optimization guru, Jaakko Knuutila, points out that purchasing shouldn’t be made too difficult. The path to checkout should be as direct as possible, without unnecessary intermediate stages or complicated forms. Building a smooth payment path is an important part of an online store’s conversion optimization.
ENABLE SHOPPING CART REMINDERS
Abandoned shopping cart or payment information is usually stored in either the online store’s system and/or the payment service’s system. This makes it possible to send the customer an automated email to remind them of products left in the shopping cart or in the payment stage.
A shopping cart reminder is an excellent tool for retrieve purchases that have been abandoned because of insufficient time or a lack of online bank codes.
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