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BigCommerce: Digital Payments, and the Importance of Payment Innovation in eCommerce Success

A crucial and often overlooked component of any eCommerce journey is payments. Getting this part of the user experience right can make the difference between a sale or an abandoned cart.

Research developed by BigCommerce and Klarna found that just over a fifth of UK shoppers are influenced by flexible payment options when making an online purchase decision.

Jim Herbert is Vice President & General Manager EMEA at BigCommerce with over 10 years of experience in eCommerce, having previously founded Sceneric, and working as a managing partner at DigitasLBi_UK. Herbert has given his insights into digital payments and the importance of payment innovation for eCommerce success:

Jim Herbert, Vice President & General Manager EMEA at BigCommerce
Jim Herbert, Vice President & General Manager EMEA at BigCommerce

The Role of Payments In eCommerce

Payment technology (also known as paytech) has played a significant role in the growth of eCommerce over recent years. From a consumer perspective, payment technology provides choice and convenience. Not supporting the potential customer’s preferred payment option can drive them away.

For a retailer, paytech can both speed up the purchasing process and help a business grow across different regions and jurisdictions by allowing them to personalise the experience of the user, with the right currencies and local payment options.

Convenience is a consistent theme when it comes to consumer expectations of eCommerce technology. Linnworks has found three-quarters of UK and US shoppers listed convenience as their main motivation for shopping online.

With this in mind, digital wallets such as Amazon Pay and Apple Pay have surged in popularity. Systems such as these, which hold card details behind layers of encryption, allow shoppers to quickly and securely make purchases without inputting card details.

Last year, digital wallets and mobile sales accounted for 44.5% of global eCommerce sales. It is estimated that by 2024, digital wallets will account for over half of total eCommerce payment volumes. 

Changing Customer Habits

A key behavioural change from consumers over the last year is the way in which they are making purchases. As technology develops and becomes more accessible, we’ve seen eCommerce accelerate on mobile devices, especially through social commerce. Data from Statista reveals that by the end of this year mobile commerce is set to account for 53.9% of total eCommerce retail sales. Meanwhile, social commerce is expected to grow to 4.3% of US eCommerce retail sales over the same period, according to eMarketer.

It also seems we’re increasingly craving and relying on convenience as time goes on. Analysis shows 26% of shoppers will abandon a purchase if they cannot remember or be bothered to find payment details. Capturing the buyer in the moment is essential to convert the sale. Momentary delays in the functionality of the site or a lapse in the experience can be enough to lose their attention and send their focus elsewhere.

The pandemic and subsequent accelerated shift to eCommerce has truly brought to the fore the importance of convenience as an influencer in the consumer purchasing journey. Key to the delivery of this is the right payment technology, which captures and remembers consumer details across devices and is accessible at their fingertips. I expect to see this further enhance the seamlessness of the buying process and offer them the convenience they so dearly crave.

It’s All About The Journey

As eCommerce has grown and flourished, so have its capabilities and, naturally, the expectations placed on it by consumers. Shoppers today expect a straightforward, frictionless journey.

Research has shown that flexible and seamless payment options speed up decision making for nine in 10 shoppers and even prompts them to spend more. Similarly, when a checkout does not offer this, consumers are easily put off.

Klarna and BigCommerce found around 38% of UK shoppers admit to abandoning online shopping carts at least once a week, while 24% claimed they abandon purchases if the retail site didn’t remember them. At the other end of the scale 28% of Gen Z shoppers – who combined spend an estimated $150billion per year in the US – consider a simple online checkout experience as a purchase driver.

Payment technology can and should be utilised to enhance the checkout and overall customer experience. Payment options must offer choice, speed, trust and convenience. Retailers can do all the legwork in getting people to their online store and finding the item they want, but if expectations are not met with the checkout and payment experience, all this work will be undone.

The Path Ahead

Consumers want eCommerce to be as quick and flexible as possible and anything less than a seamless experience is more likely to result in abandoned baskets. Paytech has already played a significant role in enhancing eCommerce capabilities, largely by improving the customer experience. As functionality in paytech continues to grow, using it to ensure a seamless, smooth consumer journey will be a key element in competing in the online retail rat race.

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