People often think that providing as many payment methods as possible is good, because customers can choose their favorite one. This should mean that the income will be greater; fewer people get discouraged by the lack of the payment method they prefer. Sounds logical, but it’s actually a minimal plan and there’s no guarantee it will work in every case.
If we try to go beyond the “convince to buy” approach, what is there that we might want to achieve? The first thing that comes in mind is “convince to buy again”. Make your customers become your regular customers. And how is it exactly related to payment methods?
Let’s analyze two popular choices: PayPal and credit cards. The common feature is that we can use them to pay, but what are the differences and how can we use them to our advantage?
PayPal is universal, meaning that customers get one payment tool and can use it on every website that implemented it. It’s like… real money — you can pay with it in every store that accepts your currency. Of course we can say more or less the same about every other payment method, but the thing is that PayPal makes it easy. It a system that works everywhere the same way, it’s simple and easy to use. A customers learns one thing and uses it whenever and wherever it suits them.
Credit cards are also very popular and acceptable in most places. But the payment process looks different depending on the e-shop. Some retailers implement it directly, some use other services (like Skrill or PayPal). Some require customers to enter card data every time, some make it easier and require this only once. Some use 3-D Secure, additional redirections, different payment forms etc. — there is little a customer can hold to.
Having this said, it seems that PayPal is easier and more friendly. Well, to put it absolutely straightforward — such simplification makes it simply not true. But what’s most important, this is only when we consider both cases from the customers’ point of view.
Now let’s think like a merchant.
PayPal doesn’t make our store special or convincing, it just makes it easier for PayPal fans to pay. That’s it. We cannot affect the payment process and do not have any good arguments to say “buy here again”.
On the other hand, we can do a lot with credit cards if we put a little effort to it. Instead of choosing the simplest ways to accept credit cards (including PayPal), let’s think how to make it a great experience for our customers.
Consider the following:
- require card data only during the first sale,
- don’t redirect to other pages unless it’s really, really necessary,
- add relevant solutions to simplify purchases (like automated recurring billing),
- minimize the buying process — with credit cards, you can easily go down to 2–3 steps (Amazon does it with just one :)).
Credit cards can be a lot easier to use than many other payment methods. But it’s just an example; if you can think of any other payment method or solution that will allow to attract customers — put it into practice.
Then show them that buying on your website is easy and buying again is even easier. First attract and convince them, then let them get used to it.
This is just another example that each and every element can be turned to your advantage. It just requires a bit more effort, but it’s definitely worth it.
photo source: Free Digital Photos