In the world of business, especially within the e-commerce sphere, the adage ‘the customer is king’ has never rung truer. Today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape requires businesses to provide effortless, seamless, and most importantly, frictionless experiences to customers. Central to this is the payment process, which, if optimally managed, can significantly boost customer loyalty and drive business success.
Defining the frictionless experience
But what exactly constitutes a ‘frictionless’ payment experience?
In essence, it is a payment process designed to provide a high conversion and approval rate by reducing complexity across all available payment methods – be it card payments or alternative options like SnapScan or Instant EFT. The goal is to develop an engaging, intuitive payment gateway that is easy for customers to navigate. Simplification is key in this regard – the fewer the steps, the smoother the transaction. However, the importance of creating such a system extends beyond just customer convenience.
Reducing customer pain
The rationale behind prioritising frictionless payments lies in the pain points and obstacles consumers often encounter during transactions. Declines or failures in the payment process are among the most significant issues consumers face. Unclear reasons for such failures further exacerbate the situation, as often neither the payment gateway nor the merchant communicates the exact cause of failure to the consumer.
Not getting any feedback on payment failure results in friction – customers want to know why transactions failed. If they do not have this insight, they get a negative experience from the merchant resulting in potential for churn. It is therefore crucial for merchants to have insights into their customers’ preferred payment methods and understand the challenges their customers face while transacting.
Optimising the environment
Informed by this, merchants can take significant steps towards streamlining their checkout processes, leading to enhanced customer experiences. Here are some key strategies to consider:
1. Optimise payments across digital devices: Today’s consumers are not bound by one medium. They shop across various devices – smartphones, laptops, and tablets, to name a few. Therefore, businesses must ensure their e-commerce platforms are compatible and provide a consistent experience across all devices. The consistency extends from the visual rendering of their website or mobile app to the functionality of the payment system.
2. Provide multiple payment methods: A customer’s inability to use a preferred payment method can lead to cart abandonment. Businesses must balance customer preferences with available payment options to prevent such lost sales. Offering a wide range of payment options can cater to diverse customer needs and ensure a frictionless checkout process.
3. Prioritise security measures: Managing online payments involves dealing with sensitive information, requiring robust security measures. While PCI-compliance is a must for businesses storing card information, achieving this can be a challenging and expensive task. The right service provider can help manage these complexities, enabling businesses to strike the right balance between user-friendliness and security.
4. Personalise the payment experience: Personalisation is a growing trend across various business sectors, and payments are no exception. Features such as tokenization of user profiles can significantly streamline the payment process for recurring purchases, helping businesses foster customer loyalty and providing a truly frictionless payment experience.
5. Transparency and data analytics: Transparency is a key component of customer trust and satisfaction. Integrating data analytics into the payment process can offer both the merchant and the customer valuable insights. By choosing a service provider that provides extensive data analytics, businesses can monitor transactions, understand consumer behaviour, and make necessary adjustments to further enrich the customer experience.
Choosing the best payment provider
Ultimately, creating a frictionless payment experience for consumers is not a task any merchant can achieve in isolation. It requires choosing the right payment provider partner – one that is well-established, fully compliant with legislative and governance structures, with a history of innovation and a reputation for delivering frictionless payment experiences. The right partner can provide merchants with access to critical analytics, enabling them to optimise their payment processes, provide customers with the transparency they desire, and ultimately, enhance the overall payment experience.
The ability to provide frictionless payment experiences is more than a boon for customer satisfaction – it has become an essential component of competitive advantage. As businesses navigate the digital frontier, streamlining processes, enhancing security, personalising experiences, and prioritising transparency will ensure they don’t just keep pace with the evolving landscape, but thrive within it. After all, a satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.
By Wesley Fetter, Product Manager at Ecentric Payment Systems
About Ecentric Payment Systems: Founded in 1998, Ecentric Payment Systems is the leading provider of retail processing solutions in South Africa and across Africa. Ecentric serves as a trusted payments partner to 65% of the JSE-listed retailers, serving their in-store, online, mobile and omnichannel payments requirements. Powered by technology and expertise, our comprehensive payment solution supports all payment methods on all channels, with automated reconciliation, loyalty programs, vouchers, and gift cards through a single POS integration. With an active-active architecture, P2PE, and a proven track record of near 100% uptime, Ecentric thrives in an innovative environment to bring their clients the latest and greatest in switching systems and payment processing. To find out more about Ecentric Payment Systems, visit https://www.ecentric.co.za/.