Originally published on Sezzle’s Blog
Merchants should make the payment experience frictionless for consumers. The fact that a consumer is already in a checkout process means that they’ve already been converted from being a shopper (“just looking around”) into being a buyer. Yet there is a surprising number of e-commerce sites that make it hard for buyers to pay.
My first credit card experience
Cash is still the primary method of payment in many parts of the world. In the Philippines, for example, only 31% of people have a bank account. Thus, the other 69% depend primarily on cash to complete transactions. I lived in the Philippines till about six years ago, and I remember getting my first credit card there.
I took the card to a grocery store, gave it to the cashier, and she swiped the plastic through the point-of-sale machine.
About two minutes later, the machine dispensed a piece of paper.
After signing the receipt, she inserted it back into the computer, this time with two carbon copies underneath.
Another two minutes passed.
She then stapled all the merchant and bank copies together and put them away.
I was given my copy.
I then realized there was a line five people deep looking at me, most likely frustrated that I didn’t just pay with cash!
My primary motivation for trying a new payment method was to make the checkout experience easier. But that wasn’t the case at all! I went back to paying with cash the very next week.
Convincing consumers to adopt a new product
If you’ve been following the payments industry for the last five years, you’ve seen countless alternative payment methods rise and fizzle out. While it’s difficult to convince consumers to switch to an unfamiliar method of payment, we think that persuading them to use it a second time is the real challenge.
Leading product design at a previous company, I used the jobs-to-be-done framework many times. Let’s say a customer wants to purchase a product or service to complete a task. The product designer must evaluate what that task is and create the right product or service to perform the task. In the case I cited, I hired the credit card company to get me out of the store as quickly as possible. One less than positive experience and I abandoned the thought of using it a second time.
Marketers are well aware of how little attention we hold from consumers . According to Google, 40% of shoppers will abandon a retail or travel site if the site doesn’t load within 3 seconds. So, for retail sites, the mission is to show users you have what they want to buy, and you have three seconds to do that. Three seconds!
UX hiccup in online shopping
I shop online more times than I go to the store in any given week. The convenience of shopping from bed beats the experience of standing in line even at my favorite store . So at my whim, I open my laptop and start shopping. When I’m ready, I click “checkout” only to realize my credit card is in my purse in the living room. Having to get up to go get the card isn’t the biggest deal in the world, so I do it in order to enter the 16-digit card number. But it’s one point in the user experience that can now be eliminated with the use of new technology in payments.
Services like Venmo and Paypal have become increasingly popular with millennials because they solve the problem I just mentioned, among others. You don’t know your credit card number at the top of your head but you always know your phone number or email and password.
Sezzle works in the same way; a user account is tied to a phone number. After linking your bank account, checkout is a breeze and you won’t ever need to worry about leaving your credit card in another room again.
When introducing a new payment method, we can try to sell people on why our product is better, but consumers prefer to come to that conclusion on their own. The product has to be as familiar and as easy to use as possible.
Of course, it’s impossible to create the perfect user experience. Everyone is a little bit different and thus has a slightly different set of requirements for their payment experience. User testing, or simply observing users interact with your product, is a great first step in helping you improving their experience. Testing will help you tremendously in understanding what can persuade consumers to use your product a second time.
What else can companies do to convince consumers to take the first leap, and to keep coming back for more?