The conventional wisdom of online commerce is that payments should be invisible, and merchants should offer their shoppers as many payment options as possible.

In an interview with PYMNTS, Nicky Schardt, director of product, customer experience at Spreedly, said merchants should take those assumptions with a grain of salt — or risk confusing customers and losing the sale.

That’s because there’s such a thing as too much choice, she said.

For a long time, payments have been viewed as a commodity, but they’ve become much more than that in recent years.

As Schardt told PYMNTS, “Payments, as part of an online checkout experience, are a vital part of the customer’s journey with a merchant.”

As a consumer interacts with a brand, as they browse a website or visit a store, consider the (real or virtual) shelves, and proceed to the checkout, that journey doesn’t have to be entirely devoid of friction, she said.

A Little Friction May Be Good Thing

 “If you removed all friction, it could be unsettling for some shoppers,” she said.

Identifying the “right” amount of friction — enough to ease consumer uncertainty — is not only the responsibility of the merchant, and part of the brand experience, but the evolving level of friction also ties back to payments innovation.

The issues get more complicated when merchant aggregators enter the mix, she said, as they must consider the payments preferences of the merchants of record, which are also focused on their end customers. In this instance, payments orchestration can be a key way commerce can move smoothly on a global scale.

None of this is to say that the friction needs to result in an eternal push-pull, as consumers grapple with what data to hand over in various fields. Schardt said that all too often, merchants concentrate on providing what they hope is a “slick” shopping experience (no matter the channel) but don’t pay as much attention as they might to the last mile of that experience — the payments.

Those moments include filling out data fields with the most sensitive details — payment card numbers and the like — and grappling with drop-downs. Perhaps some of the information can be auto-filled, perhaps not.

As to the amount of friction that is optimal — well, that can be gauged and implemented by the merchant. To get there, the brands must have a deep understanding of their customers, she said. Fortunately, they typically have all the data they need to craft a deep understanding of how customers shop, where their preferences lie, and which payment methodologies they favor over others.

Having granular insight into the customer’s preferred payment methods can help merchants avoid a trap: offering too many options. A judicious approach, market by market, can keep merchants from overwhelming their users. It has the bonus of saving companies time and money by simplifying integrations.

For the companies seeking to serve specific end markets, she said, the integrations themselves can prove daunting — and so enlisting the aid of comprehensive platforms such as Spreedly’s, along with payments orchestration, can be a strategic benefit.

Working in tandem with a well-versed provider can help satisfy local regulations and data privacy requirements. Embracing a platform model can also help future-proof against any changes in consumer preferences in any given market.

Looking ahead, she said, combining customer insights with a robust platform (and ease of integrations), “can optimize friction and increase the number of successful transactions. Being prepared before implementing a new checkout experience, helps merchants focus and avoid throwing the kitchen sink experience at the customer.”



About: The findings in PYMNTS’ new study, “The Super App Shift: How Consumers Want To Save, Shop And Spend In The Connected Economy,” a collaboration with PayPal, analyzed the responses from 9,904 consumers in Australia, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. and showed strong demand for a single multifunctional super apps rather than using dozens of individuals ones.

Source link

Share This