For most people, the concept of invisible payments is something they associate with companies like Uber and Amazon. And with good reason: they’ve nailed it when it comes to making payments happen in the background, without any effort from the customer.
In reality, however, most companies don’t have the resources that these giants do. Investing a ton of money into the futuristic tech that powers Amazon Go stores is a far-fetched notion for a lot of organizations. We get it.
But that doesn’t mean that invisible payments are out of your reach. You don’t need a blockbuster budget in order to see its benefits, such as reduced friction and improved customer retention.
Because here’s the crucial thing: invisible payments isn’t just a gimmick to slap onto your offering to make it sexier. Instead, it’s the final step in designing your customer experience to be as simple and seamless as possible. You don’t have to be a big tech company to do that – a few smart tricks or tweaks in your business strategy could make all the difference.
So how do you start integrating invisible payments for your company in practical ways? We’ve put together a few examples to get you thinking.
1. Boost repeat business with subscription payments
If you’re already offering subscription services, then recurring billing is one way you can effortlessly eliminate checkout friction and raise conversion.
By storing your customer’s payment details, you can automatically debit the subscription fee from their account without requiring them to log in or manually authorize each payment. (We also always recommend going a step further to tokenize your customer’s sensitive payment information to protect their identity—and your reputation—in case of a data breach.)
Not offering a subscription service? Maybe now’s the time to start thinking about how the model could work for your business.
Senior finance executives say that at least 40% of their organizations’ revenues come from subscription models. What’s more, 17% of C-level executives and boards are planning to launch new or additional recurring revenue business in the near future.
Take the automotive industry, for instance. In the last few years, luxury car makers from Cadillac to Mercedes-Benz have all launched subscription programs to give consumers access to a range of high-end vehicles without having to owning one. It’s a more cost-effective alternative to lease plans, rentals, car-sharing programs or buying. It’s perfect for expats and millennials who want hassle-free, temporary ownership of a car.
According to Forbes, by 2026, vehicle subscription programs could account for nearly 10% of all new vehicle sales in Europe and the US. That’s pretty impressive for a business model that only emerged a couple of years ago.
2. Let your customers pay in one click
If you’re selling anything online, it’d be a shame not to offer one-click checkout to make the purchase process easier and faster.
Just like with recurring payments, all you have to do is store your customer’s payment details the first time. After that, they’ll be able to check out with a single click of the “buy” button, which means no more frustration of having to enter their payment info again.
This is a no-brainer for online retailers. But even industries which have long relied on the traditional in-store checkout are now turning to e-commerce models to complement their existing customer journey.
TabbedOut, for example, is a mobile app which connects to merchants in the hospitality business and lets their customers start a tab, review their check, and pay with one-click checkout. It’s a win-win for both customers and merchants, since the entire payment process is way easier and more efficient. And it goes to show how reducing friction in the payments process doesn’t require complicated or expensive steps – a little can go a long way too.
3. Create smoother customer journeys with a new pricing model
If you’re charging your customers a flat fee for a service where usage can vary a lot, then you could consider adjusting your pricing based on consumption or length of use instead.
This could apply to public transportation companies, for instance. Instead of requiring commuters to figure out how much they need to pay per trip, they could have their ticket price automatically debited based on the length of their journey.
A similar example can be found through Dutch public parking app, Parkmobile. Users activate the app once they’ve parked, select the street they’re on, and stop the app when they’re about to leave. The app then automatically calculates how much it costs and then charges it to the user’s bank account or credit card. Not only is it vastly more convenient for drivers by saving them from the hassle of paying at a parking kiosk, it also ensures that drivers never pay a cent more than they should.
Redesign and innovate your customer journey
Invisible payments isn’t just for the big boys, and it’s not just another passing trend. It applies to virtually every type of business there is, and it can absolutely work for yours. Instead of forcing it to fit into your current business model, just take a step back and think of how it can inspire different shopper journeys and create new revenue streams for your organization.