When designing your customer journey, convenience is king.
Which is why we fully expect the shopping experience to evolve in the coming years to become simpler and more seamless than ever, especially at the point of sale.
Invisible payments—when the process of paying takes place in the background, without conscious or active effort from the customer—is the future, and it’s here on our doorstep. No matter which industry you’re in, invisible payments can be a huge step up for improving customer retention.
Make no mistake, we’re firm believers in making the payment experience as effortless as possible. At the same time, we’ve got to caution you: it can backfire on you if you don’t execute it right.
When reducing payment friction goes too far
While invisible payments are fantastic for the checkout experience, they understandably cause skepticism. That’s because:
1. It’s a relatively new concept
Anything novel takes some getting used to. Where there’s a lack of awareness and understanding, people will fill in the gaps with assumptions – often negative ones. And where their financial health is concerned, who can blame them for being cautious?
2. Unintended purchases are a risk
Your customers worry they’ll be charged for things they didn’t intend to buy, or that they won’t know how much something costs until they’ve been charged.
If this does happen, it’ll result in disputes which will ultimately sabotage your efforts to promote new digital payment methods. It’ll also damage your reputation, because who enjoys feeling scammed?
3. Shoppers could get carried away
When buying becomes too easy, people might be led to make impulse purchases which causes them to overspend and lose sight of financial responsibility.
This might be great for your bottom line, but in the long term, your brand will be seen as exploitative and unethical. Your customer’s trust is the most valuable currency today, so if you don’t guard it tightly, you’ll be facing a backlash that could be ruinous for your reputation.
Human-proofing your checkout process
So how do you strike a balance between a seamless checkout experience, while keeping your customers’ confidence in your brand?
There’s a plethora of things you could do, but to start with, we reckon the following five are essential.
1. Make sure invisible payments isn’t the only way to pay
Unless you’re charging your customers a flat fee, or on a subscription basis, you should give your customers the option to use other, more familiar payment methods. And even after they’ve opted to pay “invisibly,” they should be able to cancel it at any point and choose a different payment method.
The “wow” factor of invisible payments will catch on quickly, but until then, you don’t want to force your customers to change their payment habit overnight…because they’ll simply turn to your competition.
2. Allow your customers to make a final confirmation of their purchase
You can store your customers’ payment details for easy, one-click checkout, while still ensuring that they get to view their cart summary before confirming payment. Help your customers avoid accidental purchases by paying close attention to your UX design.
3. Send them their receipt immediately
Once payment is complete, your shoppers should receive confirmation of their purchase immediately, along with an itemized receipt, so they clearly understand what they’ve just bought. Full transparency is paramount.
4. Make returns and refunds easy
Maybe your customer bought something unintentionally or is experiencing buyer’s remorse? This can happen despite your best efforts. In which case, the least you could do is make it really easy for them to return their purchase and get a refund. If your shopper has to jump through hoops to return something, they’ll definitely start feeling inconvenienced, annoyed, or worse: deceived.
5. Communicate before rolling out
Once again, full transparency is absolutely critical. It’s important that you communicate clearly and extensively to your customers about the new payment method – how it works, when they’ll be charged, what they can expect regarding pricing, and so on. Reassure your buyers that you’ve thought about their concerns, and that you’ve taken steps to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Invisible payments will go a long way towards reducing payment friction and boosting your conversion rates – but only if you do it right. If you lose your customer’s trust along the way, then you’ve sabotaged any advantages that invisible payments might provide you. With these tips, however, you’ll be able to not only maintain but improve consumer confidence in your brand when you embrace new payment technologies in the future.
Want to make sure your checkout process is set up for success? Our Payment Experts are happy to consult with you – just get in touch.