Payments – The BigCommerce Blog Ecommerce Blog delivering news, strategy and success stories to power 2x growth for scaling brands. Thu, 15 Mar 2018 21:11:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Payments – The BigCommerce Blog 32 32 7 Brands Discuss the Benefits of the New Cashless Economy and Apple Pay’s Growing Ubiquity Tue, 13 Mar 2018 14:00:37 +0000 Technology is restructuring how money moves. From crypto-currencies to peer-topper payments and one-click checkouts, modern innovations are shifting the basic…]]>

Technology is restructuring how money moves.

From crypto-currencies to peer-topper payments and one-click checkouts, modern innovations are shifting the basic payment infrastructure of our economy.

The gadget we carry in our pockets is becoming more than ever thought possible. And the wallet is its next target.

Adii Pienaar, Founder of Conversio and WooThemes (later acquired by WooCommerce), sums this up best:

Customers worldwide are using their mobile devices for online shopping more often.

Depending on who you want to believe, it’s estimated that since late-2014 more than 50% of all online purchases are made from mobile devices. Apple / iOS has about a 15% market share of mobile devices, which is a huge potential user base for Apple Pay.

The attraction of Apple Pay is the convenience of already having your credit card details on your device. Your customers are also already familiar with spending money on their Apple devices (even if it’s just via iTunes or the App Store).

In general, there’s a trend where customers are spending more dollars when they can act impulsively and with a low-level of friction.

Think about how easy Amazon makes this with their 1-Click Purchases.

From a historical standpoint, Apple Pay, was announced in 2014. But it wasn’t the first of its kind.

The Evolution of Mobile Payments:

A brief history of mobile payments, according to TechCrunch:

  • 1983: David Chaum, an American cryptographer, starts work on creating digital cash by inventing “the blinding formula, which is an extension of the RSA algorithm still used in the web’s encryption.” This is the beginning of cryptocurrencies.

  • 1994: Although this is disputed, some believe that the first online purchase, a pepperoni and mushroom pizza from Pizza Hut, occurs in this year.

  • 1998: PayPal is founded.

  • 1999: Thanks to Ericsson and Telnor Mobil, mobile phones could be used to purchase movie tickets.

  • 2003: 95 million cell phone users worldwide made a purchase via their mobile device.

  • 2007: Both the iPhone and the Droid operating system are released.

  • 2008: Bitcoin is invented.

  • 2011: Google Wallet is released.

  • 2014: Apple Pay is launched, followed a year later by Android and Samsung Pay.

  • 2020: 90% of smartphone users will have made a mobile payment. 

At the time of Apple Pay’s release (years following Google’s own Wallet application), Apple CEO Tim Cook described the magnetic stripe card payment process as broken for its reliance on plastic cards’:

  • Outdated and vulnerable magnetic interface

  • Exposed numbers

  • Insecure security codes

Since then, the same technology Apple uses for Apple Pay has become ubiquitous worldwide: EMV, a payment tokenization specification.

It is why your credit card has a chip in it.

Still, digital payment methods remain more secure than physical cards. They can’t be stolen, for one.

“Payments like Apple Pay are the the most secure payment method out there. Apple Pay contains multiple layers of dynamic encryption and is also protected by TouchID, Apple’s fingerprint technology,” says Jennifer Pollock, Content Marketing Editorial Lead, Square.

But digital payment methods like Apple Pay have another upside: emerging generations with cash flow and raised on cell phones prefer them.

From a study conducted by The Washington Post.

And by 2030, those surveyed expect digital wallets to be the primary source of payments.

“Obviously, consumers are nervous about credit card security so offering the many payment choices is a good idea. Apple Pay means they don’t even have to pull out their credit card at a register,” says Rieva Lesonsky, CEO,

To see how these trends are vying in 2018, I’ve interviewed 7 BigCommerce brands using the technology to understand their use case, their data and thoughts.

These two questions reigned supreme:

  1. Are people using Apple Pay?

  2. Would you recommend Apple Pay?

Here’s how their experience shook out.

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

SerengeTee Targets Its College-Aged Audience

Experience SerengeTee’s site.

Why did you add the Apple Pay button?

We have a young demographic made up of high school and college students. We’ve noticed a spike in mobile usage so this made all the sense in the world.

It makes the checkout process incredibly easy.

How was the implementation process?

Not bad at all. We had our developer do some simple styling, but that was about it.

Can you quantify the results?

We are continuing to see more and more users using mobile and fewer bounces in our cart. We can’t quantify Apple Pay effectiveness just yet, but we think that’s a helpful piece of the puzzle.

Would you recommend Apple Pay?

Absolutely, especially if the analytics are showing high mobile and iPhone usage.

Apple Pay is a solution to those low mobile conversions.

Typing in address and credit card info is an awful experience on desktop, never mind mobile devices. Add to that the fact that most people are on the go while using their mobile device and it’s not hard to understand why mobile conversions remain so low.

Adding Apple Pay gives your customers a frictionless way to instantly make a purchase without thinking twice about it.

– Richard Lazazzera, Founder, A Better Lemonade Stand

Spearmint LOVE Sees Mobile Orders Take Off

Experience SpearmintLOVE’s site.

Why did you add the Apple Pay button?

Our traffic is now over 80% mobile. Any technology that improves the user experience for mobile users is something we consider testing.

Apple Pay makes the checkout process seamless and improves conversion.

How was the implementation process?

Like most native features on BigCommerce, implementation was easy. It took less than 10 minutes and required no developer time.

How has the button been working?

Our customers love it and we have had no technical issues since we implemented Apple Pay.  It is a core part of our mobile checkout process.

Would you recommend Apple Pay?

Yes, if you have high mobile traffic it is a must have feature.

One Click to One-Touch Checkout

Around 68% of all shopping carts are abandoned, and complicated checkouts are a major factor.

The Apple Pay integration streamlines the checkout process, increases security and decreases cart abandonment for mobile and desktop shoppers.

Plus, integration is a breeze. 

Activate Apple Pay Now.

CocoWeb Increases Conversion Rate 15% Across Devices

Experience CocoWeb’s site.

Why did you add the Apple Pay button?

As a small ecommerce business, we feel the brand of “Apple Pay” will surely help our credibility as our customers checkout.

Needless to say, we also believed that the technology and user base would help us increase conversions.

How was the implementation process?

BigCommerce had been amazing in providing the support and technology for a smooth implementation process.

It literally took us less than an hour to implement and fully test Apple Pay on our website.

How has the button been working?

It has worked wonderfully.

In particular, it has help us increase our mobile conversion by more than 20% and our desktop by 15%.

Would you recommend Apple Pay?

I think it is no-brainer to use Apple Pay for any serious ecommerce business, especially those small stores in which any additional conversion counts.

Apple Pay Exists Both On and Offline

It’s also worth mentioning that Apple Pay should help shrink the divide between online and offline sales, since customers can use it for both types of purchases.

Therefore, you may end up getting better sale management options along with more sales in general.

– Catalin Zorzini, Founder, 

Zin Home Grows Mobile Sales 20%, AOV 10%

Experience ZinHome’s site.

Why did you add the Apple Pay button?

We added the Apple Pay button to allow customers a better, and more convenient, purchasing option.

We had noticed an increase in sales from mobile devices, and knew that by providing apple pay as an option, it would only increase them further.

How was the implementation process?

The implementation process was quite simple. When we switched to Paypal Braintree, and with the BigCommerce platform, it was as simple as flicking a switch to implement Apple Pay.

It couldn’t have been simpler.

How has the button been working?

Since implementing Apple Pay, we have seen a steady increase in the number of sales in which customers have selected it as their payment option.

We also know that as more people grow accustomed to using it, they will expect to find it on all online retailers as an option.

For us, providing that kind of ease of use, and the added security it gives our customers, is an important element of having an ecommerce business.

Can you quantify the results?

In the time since we implemented Apple Pay, we have seen a 10-20% increase in sales on mobile devices.

In addition, it should also be noted that there has been a decrease in abandoned orders that had been started on a mobile device.

Although we did not expect it to be impacted by the implementation, we have also seen an 5-10% increase in AOV on mobile orders.

Would you recommend Apple Pay?

The answer is a simple one — we would absolutely recommend Apply Pay to other online stores.

The demand for such convenience is only going to grow, and the ease of implementation makes it a simple task to complete.

In addition, our increase in AOV and conversion rate are a testament to the smooth, seamless shopping experience that Apple Pay provides.

Less Mobile Abandoned Cart

One of the major hindrances to mobile buying has always been the checkout.

It’s easy to browse, it’s easy to add-to-cart, but the checkout process has always been cumbersome on mobile. Apple Pay streamlines the checkout and makes it easier.

– Allen Burt, Founder & CEO, Blue Stout

Natomounts Eliminates Chargebacks with Apple Pay

Experience NatoMounts site.

Why did you add the Apple Pay button?

From a text to a call or even an Instagram notification, just about anything can take a visitor from our website.

We wanted to add a payment option that would allow someone to check out in seconds, so they can get back to whatever they were doing before linking to our site.

How was the implementation process?

Easier than I expected. BigCommerce and Stripe’s integration made it so we were up and running in literally minutes.

How has the button been working?

The integration has been working flawlessly and chargebacks for that card-type are practically non-existent.

Would you recommend Apple Pay?

Implementing Apple Pay has only helped our website conversions, bounce rates, checkout process, and chargebacks.

I have yet to see a downside to enabling one of the easiest checkout processes we’ve ever implemented on our website.

Apple Pay is truly frictionless commerce.

Apple Pay is truly frictionless commerce geared to increasing mobile transactions.

My advice to retailers would be to run a thorough mobile UX audit and deliver a truly mobile first user experience to shoppers and customers.

Now that the mobile checkout has been more or less ‘fixed’ with Apple Pay (with Android Pay to follow), mobile devices will becoming the primary de facto online shopping device.

– Kunle Campbell, Founder, 2X Ecommerce

See how Natomounts created a mobile-first experience.

Giant Teddy Sees Faster Checkout, Higher Conversions

Experience Giant Teddy’s site. 

Why did you integrate the Apple Pay?

We decided to add the Apple Pay button due to the smooth transition offered during the checkout process.

Customers are now able to quickly proceed to check out and pay for their desired item – much more quickly than pulling out a credit card.

Apple Pay already has their billing, shipping and contact information saved to avoiding having to re-enter. This leads to easier navigation for our customers.

Can you quantify the results?

We have seen an overall increase in conversion since adding the Apple Pay button along with a few other additions were made to the website.

We can’t say for certain it was the Apple Pay button, but it certainly helps.

Would you recommend Apple Pay?

We would definitely recommend Apple Pay to other stores for many reasons.

The biggest one is the security and safety it brings to the customers at checkout, especially for smaller businesses.

The button allows a business to offer a very fast and efficient payment method. It also is great for mobile users. So many people are already on their phone so much, so paying with it just makes it that much more convenient.

Speed + Trust

Speed and trust: the less info you need a consumer to enter on your site, the more likely it is that they will complete the transaction with you.

Services like Apple Pay help take that mental roadblock of manually giving you their credit card info out of the equation. Really, it is all about convenience.

– Chris Van Dussen, CEO, Parcon Media 

Nine Line Processes +600 Sales Immediately Through Apple Pay

Experience Nine Line’s site.

Why did you add the Apple Pay button?

Apple Pay has become increasingly popular over the years.

Offering new ways for our users to checkout allows us to stay ahead of the curve.

Since 80% of our traffic is mobile or tablet, it made sense to offer payment options that are baked into those devices.

We really want to offer our users the ability to check out faster without too much manual input. Apple Pay offers a much more speedy checkout process.

How was the implementation process?

The implementation process was pretty straightforward. We were able to get the payment method live in under an hour.

All we had to do was enable the feature and do some minor HTML adjustments to our checkout.

The implementation is incredible easy and can be integrated without a developer.

Can you quantify the results?

Just this year (2018), we’ve captured over 600 sales with Apple Pay. It has made up 2.5% of our orders in 2018 and we expect that number to increase as Apple Pay becomes more popular.

Would you recommend Apple Pay?

I would highly recommend implementing Apple Pay.

For a successful ecommerce strategy, implementing multiple payment methods allows you to capture more orders and streamline the customer journey.

We’ve noticed a huge spike in our mobile traffic, and implementing features such as Apple Pay only enhance that experience.

Because of the easy implementation and low risk, there is no reason not to offer this option.  

More Options, More Sales

Every time you add a payment solution, you make it easier for a related customer segment to buy and improve their conversion rates.

If you offer an impulse buy product, have a lot of mobile shoppers, or have items with lower AOVs, the Apple Pay user segment is probably not insignificant.

Go get them!

– Drew Sanocki, Private Equity Operating Partner, Empire Growth Group

One Click to One-Touch Checkout

Around 68% of all shopping carts are abandoned, and complicated checkouts are a major factor.

The Apple Pay integration streamlines the checkout process, increases security and decreases cart abandonment for mobile and desktop shoppers.

Plus, integration is a breeze. 

Activate Apple Pay Now.

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

]]> 6
Your M-Commerce Deep Dive: Data, Trends and What’s Next in the Mobile Retail Revenue World Thu, 15 Feb 2018 15:00:08 +0000 I often find myself doing a double-take when someone refers to mobile commerce as “the next big thing.” For me…]]>

I often find myself doing a double-take when someone refers to mobile commerce as “the next big thing.”

For me this implies that mobile commerce is a trend, a passing fad that will soon be forgotten, or superceded by something else.

It isn’t.

Is mobile commerce different to ecommerce?

Yes, and no.

Mobile commerce is a natural progression of ecommerce.

On some levels they are nearly identical, but there are also important differences between the two.

As a result, you will see me use ecommerce instead of mobile commerce a few times throughout this article, and you are welcome to do the same.

But I will only interchange them when referring to the aspects that overlap; there will be times when only mobile commerce will do.

Why does mobile commerce matter?

Mobile commerce is not replacing ecommerce, but a larger portion of ecommerce sales are now coming from mobile devices.

eMarketer forecast global ecommerce sales of $2.290 trillion for 2017, considerably higher than the $1,179 trillion forecast by Goldman Sachs in 2014.

At the same they were expecting mobile commerce to account for up to 70% of ecommerce sales throughout Asia.

In Germany, the US, and the UK, mobile commerce was predicted to make up a third of all retail ecommerce sales.

By now your website – and online store – should already be accessible on mobile devices, but that doesn’t automatically mean your business is ready for mobile commerce. And as eMarketers numbers suggest, you could be missing out on a lot of sales.

Per DynamicYield, “Only 12% of consumers find shopping on the mobile web convenient“. That’s a lot of room for improvement.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s start from the beginning.

What is mobile commerce?

Mobile commerce, also called m-commerce or mcommerce, includes any monetary transaction completed using a mobile device.

It is an advancement of ecommerce, enabling people to buy and sell goods or services from almost anywhere, simply using a mobile phone or tablet device.

But mobile commerce is more than just a simple evolution of ecommerce.

It has also served as a trigger for new industries and services, or helped existing ones grow, including:

  • Mobile money transfers.
  • Electronic tickets and boarding passes.
  • Digital content purchases and delivery.
  • Mobile banking.
  • Contactless payments and in-app payments.
  • Location-based services.
  • Mobile marketing, coupons, and loyalty cards.

Are there different types of mobile commerce?

While m-commerce covers a wide variety of transactions, they can all be categorized as one of three types:

1. Mobile shopping.

Mostly similar to ecommerce, but accessible via a mobile device. Mobile shopping is now possible through mobile optimized websites, dedicated apps, and even social media platforms.

2. Mobile banking.

Not too different to online banking, though you may find some transaction types are limited or restricted on mobile devices. Mobile banking usually involves a dedicated app, though some banks have started experimenting with the use of chatbots and messaging apps.

3. Mobile payments.

There are so many diverse mobile payment options that we have chosen to cover them in detail further in this article.

As a business owner, and user of BigCommerce, your exposure and interest in mobile commerce would mostly relate to shopping and payments, which is what the rest of this article will focus on.

Advantages (and Disadvantages) of Mobile Commerce

There are disadvantages to many forms of doing business, but this should never be viewed as a significant hindrance.

The advantages usually outnumber the disadvantages, and there are ways to overcome many of the pitfalls, especially when you know what some of them are.

Let’s start with the good, first.

Common Benefits of Mobile Commerce

1. Better overall experience for customers.

Ecommerce already made shopping more convenient.

Consumers were given access to:

  • A wider variety of products.
  • More competitive pricing.
  • All without ever having to step away from their computer.

With mobile commerce, they still have these benefits, but now they don’t even need a desktop computer.

As long as they have a mobile device, they can shop whenever they want, wherever they are.

Mobile Responsive Out Of The Box

BigCommerce had multiple out-of-the-box theme options that were mobile-responsive. I bought a template for $149.

Honestly, that was a game-changing moment because all of our mobile traffic from social media, could now check out easily.

The conversion rate immediately went up. Mobile time on site went up. Everything went up! When I switched from Volusion, we could only do $400,000 in sales. My first year with BigCommerce, we almost tripled our sales to $1,100,000.

– Tyler “Sully” Sullivan, Founder of BombTech Golf

New mobile commerce applications that enhance the customer experience even further include:

  • Augmented reality, with Ikea and Sephora among top retailers using augmented reality apps to complement their mobile commerce business
  • Chatbots and messenger apps which making it easier for businesses to interact with their customers using apps and services their customers already use and love.

2. Phenomenal growth potential.

eMarketer expects global ecommerce sales to reach $4.058 trillion by 2020, representing 15% of total retail sales.

And the percentage of that belonging to m-commerce will also continue to grow, as more online retailers see more than 50% of traffic coming from mobile devices.

This suggests that retailers investing more in mobile commerce can ultimately expect a higher conversion rate and ROI.

3. A true omni-channel experience.

An omni-channel experience is when stores sell both online and offline — likely also selling through multiple online channels (i.e. on Amazon, eBay, Facebook, B2B).

We’ve also been referencing the importance of listing your product wherever consumers are already spending their time. This is increasingly known as contextual commerce, a more strategic take on the overarching omni-channel term.

Omni-channel is about being where your customers are, and making it possible for them to buy what they want.

And mobile commerce makes this easier than any other form of multi-channel marketing and selling.

Push Products to Amazon in One Click

BigCommerce’s Amazon integration is really good – and it’s really helped us out. We’re converting more ecommerce and online sales due to our Amazon presence now.

I would have never gone out to put products on Amazon on my own. The fact that it was going to be easy to integrate directly through BigCommerce if why I did it – and now, we see 1 out of every 10 orders coming to us through Amazon.

It’s a great gateway to gaining customers, especially when you are strategic about which products you put up there, and which you make exclusive for your own site.

I think beyond just selling on Amazon for Amazon’s sake. Being there helps to create more customers for our website, too. It helps us with volume and with growing our website and our clientele.

– Brent Densford, CEO of BeachRC

4. Variety of payment options.

With new mobile payment solutions emerging, it is now possible to offer customers a truly diverse range of payment options.

This doesn’t mean we’ve moved beyond “cash or card,” but mobile commerce has given up mobile wallets, which make one-click checkouts possible in more than one store.

No more having to manually enter your credit card details and shipping details the first time you shop at a new online store.

Popular mobile payment solutions include:

  1. Apple Pay.
  2. PayPal One-Touch.
  3. Visa Checkout.
  4. Amazon Pay.

Common Pitfalls of Mobile Commerce

1.Constant need for optimization.

This isn’t so much of a pitfall as it is a need to change your way of thinking when it comes to developing and managing your online store.

As we will discuss later, the speed at which the pages of your website load play a critical role in conversions and repeat business.

You will need to be aware of advancements in technology, and changes in optimization best practices to ensure your website – at least on mobile – offers a superior experience that is fast and simple to use.

2. Variety of payment options.

The diversity of payment options is both a benefit and pitfall when it comes to mobile commerce.

Many mobile wallets are not available in all geographical locations, while consumers in some locations prefer one payment option over another.  

In Holland, for instance, 70-80% of people use iDeal, which is a payment system not really used anywhere else. If you don’t have iDeal in Holland, the Dutch won’t buy from you.

All countries have their nuances like that, which is why it was so important we used Adyen with BigCommerce. Adyen supports a large volume of sales, and allows customers to choose their preferred payment method without cluttering up the checkout flow with a bunch of different payment options.

You can even use IP addresses to automatically fill in a country’s preferred payment as someone checks out, so you don’t disrupt the checkout flow for the end user.

Rogier van Genugten, CEO at Vinyl Express

And offering more choices for payment isn’t always a good thing.

A regularly cited study from 2000 found that a higher number of choices often leads to a decrease in sales and customer satisfaction.

It will be difficult to get the right mix of payment options when your online store first launches, but in time you will gather reams of data about your customers that will allow you to adjust them to what your customers use and want.

One-click solutions will always be preferable because they make checkout less cumbersome, but don’t ignore some payment options because they only work in certain locations.

3. Easier for customers to compare prices.

The traditional way to do a bit of comparative shopping was to know your prices in advance, by scanning a number of catalogues and advertisements before you went to any physical stores.

Alternatively you could have moved from one shop to another, and get a great workout in the process.

But mobile commerce has – again- simplified this.

Armed with little more than a mobile phone, customers are able to rapidly compare the prices – and shipping costs – for dozens of stores until they find the one offering the most value.

And most of the time this happens without you even knowing it.

You can overcome this by – like your customers – constantly being aware of what your competitors are charging for the same products, not just those close to you, but also those miles away, and even across borders.

4. Need to know and comply with a wider range of regulations.

This is a pitfall for both traditional ecommerce and mobile commerce: knowing and complying with a large number of tax laws and other regulations for all the countries you ship to.

Some online stores avoid this by only selling and shipping to residents of one country, or only a small handful of countries.

But this severely limits the size of your market, which is meant to be a benefit of ecommerce.

It is true that some products can only be shipped to a few international markets, but for everything else you should – as your business grows – investigate the feasibility of expanding across borders.

A smart alternative is to make some of your products also available via Amazon, so while your own online store only ships to certain locations, through Amazon you are able to ship far more widely. With Amazon taking care of many of the regulations involved.

Own a New International Market Now

Cross-border commerce happens for online brands regardless of their strategy. The internet is a free for all –– with IP addresses dictating the currency your international consumers see.

But what if you are ready to invest in international expansion and localization to own a brand new market long before you competitors?

That’s what this guide will teach you to do.

Get the guide.

Understanding Mobile Payment Options

Choosing the right payment solution for your ecommerce business is even more important when it comes to mobile.

Your customers would prefer skipping the need for adding credit card and shipping details, so one-click solutions that integrate with mobile wallets offer you and your customers more.

Simpler checkout and payment leads to more conversions, more sales, and more repeat business.

For some brands, like Power Support, choosing the right payment solution can result in an immediate increase in conversions. For Power Support, they say a 26% increase in orders within two weeks after installing Amazon Pay.

Mobile payments is one type of mobile commerce that has become an industry all of its own.

Mobile payments now include:

  • Mobile wallets, also referred to as digital wallets
  • Contactless mobile payments
  • Closed loop mobile payments
  • Money transfers
  • Mobile point-of-sale (POS)
  • Carrier payments

While not all of these are applicable to ecommerce, it helps to understand what each type of mobile payment means.

1. Mobile wallets.

Mobile wallets make it easy for online shoppers to securely store their credit card details, shipping address, and more.

The benefit to shoppers is that when paying for online purchases they don’t need to enter all this information again, which can be especially awkward on mobile phones.

At checkout they simply select the mobile wallet they are registered with, and authenticate using Touch ID or a PIN. Nothing more.

There are a many mobile wallets available, though some are limited to specific geographical locations, and only a few are accepted by most ecommerce merchants.

Here is an example a brand out of the UK, Sour Cherry, using PayPal One-Touch for a one click payment option.

Similarly in the U.S., brands like Natori build a one-click m-commerce option:

Well-known mobile wallets include:

  • Apple Pay.
  • Google Pay.
  • Amazon Pay.
  • PayPal.
  • Samsung Pay.

2. Contactless mobile payments.

Contactless mobile payments make use of select mobile wallets to facilitate payments made in-store.

Supported mobile wallets typically include:

  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay
  • Samsung Pay

Some banks launching their own mobile wallet too.

When making a payment in a physical location, customers can place their phone close to a supported terminal to validate and transmit payment, instead of swiping their debit or credit card.

3. Closed loop mobile payments.

Closed loop mobile payments are exactly the same as mobile wallets, but are linked to a single brand via a dedicated mobile app.

Examples include:

  • Walmart Pay
  • Starbucks
  • Taco Bell

All allow users to add their card details to the mobile app, and to then use the app to pay for their purchases in-store.

Here’s an example of Atlanta Light Bulbs’ app payment walk-thru. You can see, you only have to insert your information once, and then it’s one-click every other time you buy from them.


4. Money transfers.

Money transfers were previously limited to banking apps, but now there are an increasing number of ways to transfer money from one person to another – on a mobile device – without using a banking app.

Early adopters of this include:

  • PayPal
  • Google

Now you have:

  • Venmo
  • Square Cash
  • WeChat
  • SnapChat
  • Facebook Messenger

Convenience = Conversion

Anything that makes mobile and in-app payments easier is a plus. Venmo, for example, can be use for both single and split payments in so many scenarios. That means that it can only bolster conversions and revenue when offered as an option.

– Krista Fabregas, Editor, Ecommerce & Retail, FitSmallBusiness

5. Mobile point-of-sale (POS).

Mobile POS is a way for smaller merchants to process card payments without a traditional card reader.

bulSquare, PayPal, and other payment solutions also offer mobile card readers that are portable, and only need a mobile phone in order to process any payments.

These could either be small card readers that attach to your mobile phone, or contactless card readers which would allow customers to pay for their purchases using certain mobile wallets.

Some of these solutions integrate with various ecommerce platforms, so if you have both an online and physical store your sales and inventory are automatically synced.

Offline to Online Inventory Syncing – Automatically

The Square POS inventory sync and catalog import are exactly what I was looking for. Other platforms take up to 24 hours to update inventory, but BigCommerce captures changes instantly.

– Alexander Head, Drink Dispatch

6. Carrier payments.

Used less frequently these days, carrier payments were perhaps the original form of mobile payments.

Carrier payments were once a popular method for paying for downloadable ringtones, but is now mostly used for making charitable donations.

A user sends a message to a specific mobile number, and the value of the transaction is added to their next cellphone bill.

The Impact of Page Speed on Mobile Commerce

Page speed has always been an important consideration for websites, and it is even more important when it comes to mobile commerce.

Google has been encouraging developers to optimize for mobile page speed ever since they noticed that more than 50% of search queries were happening on mobile devices.

Page speed has long been a ranking factor, but Google has always only considered the speed of desktop versions of websites.

This changes in mid-2018 when mobile page speed becomes a ranking factor.

+272% in Mobile Revenue

The number one benefit of re-platforming is the responsive site. Now our mobile conversions are increasing rapidly. Mobile conversion rate is up 272% and mobile revenue is up 193% since this time last year.

I’m obviously very pleased with our growth and I definitely attribute it to our re-platform and our new mobile sites.

– Cory Barnes, Digital Marketing Manager for Exxel Outdoors

But how your site ranks in Google isn’t the only reason to pay attention to mobile page speed:

  • Forrester found in 2009 that 40% of consumers won’t wait longer than three seconds for a page to load before leaving a site completely.
  • With online shopping, site loyalty is contingent on page speed for 52% of shoppers. If made to wait, 14% of online shoppers would simply switch to shopping at another site.
  • After a poor site experience, 79%  of online shoppers state they are less likely to support a site again.

The study reporting these figures is almost 10-years old, but our expectations in terms of mobile page speed are likely even higher now.

A more recent study by Google found that the probability of bounce increases exponentially the longer a site takes to load on a mobile device.

Mobile Experience is key.


Mobile traffic has already overtaken desktop traffic, and we are seeing mobile sales approach desktop sales. This trend will continue moving forward, with mobile eventually overtaking desktop sales.

Retailers with a mobile first mentality will outperform those that treat mobile as a second priority. This mobile first mentality applies to everything: web design, email layouts, reward programs, and more.

– Steve Deckert, Co-Founder, 

5 steps you can take to improve mobile commerce page speed

Most ecommerce platforms have various page speed optimizations built-in, but this doesn’t absolve you from running a few page speed tests, and identifying areas that could do with improvement.

1. Run some tests.

It is important to remember that users with a high-end smartphone on a WiFi connection will have a far superior experience than someone with a mid-tier smartphone with a 3G connection.

To account for this, we suggest running separate speed tests using several different tools:

  • Test My Site – a Google tool for testing mobile page speed. The test is run over a simulated 3G connection, and the results show how long the page takes to load, and how many visitors you can expect to lose with that loading time. You can enter your details to receive a slightly more detailed report via email.
  • PageSpeed Insights – another Google tool, but here you can expect a grading (and improvement suggestions) for both mobile and desktop speed. Here the performance of your website is compared to that of pages monitored by the Chrome User Experience (CrUX) report, and rated as fast, average, or slow. Your page is also assessed to see if it follows any common performance best practices, and you are then given suggestions on how to improve performance.
  • WebPageTest – using this tool you are able to specify what browser, device, and connection type the test should be run on, giving you a better idea of how your website performs for the average user. The results are more detailed, and while you aren’t given any suggestions, you will be able to better identify the root cause of any performance issues.
  • Pingdom – the reports returned after a test using Pingdom are easier to understand than those of WebPageTest, but the free test doesn’t include an option for mobile only.

It’s important to remember that all of the tools mentioned here are only ever testing the page speed for a single URL, not your entire site.

Depending on how your site has been designed, many suggested optimisations could be applied to your entire website, though you may still want to test several different pages to look for any isolated issues.

The following points will discuss how you can implement suggested optimisations to improve the mobile page speed of your site.

2. Optimize & reduce images.

Images are one of the biggest contributing factors to poor page speed for two reasons:

  1. They aren’t always optimized, and
  2. There are often too many on one page

Ecommerce sites undoubtedly benefit from the use of high quality images, but modern image optimization makes it possible to reduce the file size of images without affecting the digital quality.

But image optimization isn’t just about reducing the file size, it’s also about resizing images for different devices.

Get Automatic Image Optimization Now

BigCommerce recently partnered with Akamai to integrate automatic image optimization into BigCommerce stores using the Stencil theming engine.

The Akamai Image Manager automatically optimises and resizes images, and also converts them image formats that offer higher levels of compression. Customers in the closed beta for this integration reported as much as 70% improvement in load time across their sites.

Learn more.

Unfortunately, ecommerce sites are also at risk of poor mobile page speed as a result of too many images on a single page.

Because customers can’t pick up – or try on – products in an ecommerce store, it’s only natural to compensate for this by including multiple images of the same item from different angles.

But the old adage of “less is more” still applies here.

If you plan your product photos properly, it is possible to get by with two to four images, instead of six or more.

In many instances, all you need is a shot of the front, the back, and maybe one or two close-ups that show specific features.

Given how much influence images have on page speed, optimizing your images – and even reducing the number of images on each page – will almost always result in a noticeable improvement in load time.

Mobile Is Here

In the digital space we’ve been banging the drum on mobile for years now and there are still many sites that don’t get it.

Optimize your forms, create mobile first designs, load pages quickly. Mobile is here. Understand how your customers use mobile and optimize.

– Stephen Slater, Digital Advertising Manager, TopRankMarketing

3. Minimize code.

Minifying HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code involves stripping the relevant files of all spaces and line breaks.

Doing this doesn’t reduce the file size as dramatically as with image optimization, but every millisecond improvement in page speed counts.

Google recommends several tools which will minify your code for you, though most ecommerce platforms also minify these files automatically.

Every App Is Code

More built-in functionality means less apps –– and less apps means less code –– and less code means a faster site.

But that’s only part of the reason why BigCommerce merchants sell 34% more than those on Shopify.

Learn more.

4. Reduce tracking snippets.

The use of 3rd-party tracking and analytical services is a necessary evil when it comes to ecommerce.

But if you’re not using the Google Tag Manager, the snippets of code required by each service can affect page speed.

With Tag Manager you are still able to use all your preferred tracking and analytical services, but you only need to add one snippet of code to each page.

Set Up Google Analytics Across Your Site in 3 Minutes

BigCommerce customers don’t need to manually install snippets on every single one of their site’s pages to get the benefits of Google Analytics data.

Instead, one snippet drop on the backend will automatically place the code where it needs to go on your site to make setting up tracking quick and easy.

5. Do a feature audit.

Featuritus is a term originally used to describe the unnecessary addition of features to software.

And it’s a term that – along with Bright Shiny Object (BSO) syndrome – is also relevant to web sites.

Each feature and software integration you add to your site requires additional resources, which impact on page speed.

A feature audit means honestly judging the value of each feature and app you’ve integrated into your site.

The tests you ran through Pingdom and WebPageTest would show the impact of any scripts, images, and other resources needed for some features and apps.

Now ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you and your customers benefit from all of them?
  • Is the benefit gained more valuable than that of a better page speed on mobile?
  • Would removing any of them negatively affect sales and conversions?
  • If so, is there a way to keep the feature or app, but reduce the impact on page speed?

Depending on your site structure, not all of the optimization suggestions made by Google – or discussed here – will be possible.

And while those that are typically lead to speed improvements measured in milliseconds, each millisecond adds up.

And in the words of Daniel An, Global Product Lead for Mobile Web at Google:

No matter what, faster is better and less is more.

Remember also that there is a lot to gain from taking a mobile-first approach to developing and optimizing your website.

Mobile-First Wins

When we designed our new website, I told the designer, ‘Don’t send me desktop designs. Make mobile perfect, then make a responsive version for desktop.’

We’ve achieved 5% conversion rates on mobile with over 80% of our sales on mobile devices.

 – Brandon Chatham, CEO at NatoMounts

Deciding Between a Mobile App and Mobile Website

People began talking about mobile apps as the future – and as a must-have for any business – soon after Apple and Google first launched their app stores.

And while for some businesses there certainly is value in having a branded app, there is still some doubt over whether every business stands to benefit from having a branded app.

In their analysis of Google in late 2015, Morgan Stanley wrote:

Mobile browser audiences compared to mobile app audiences

U.S. mobile is still largely a browser based world as mobile browser audiences are ~2X larger than app audiences across the top 50 U.S. mobile web properties.

As shown, the median browser audience (across the top 50 U.S. mobile apps as of July 2015) has grown at 61% per year, while app audiences have grown at an average of 51% per year.

Said another way, mobile browser audiences have grown 1.2x faster than mobile app audiences off of a 1.8x larger base.

Note that this over-indexing toward browsers is the opposite of what most investors we speak with expect, who often ask about the”app-lification” of consumer behavior as we transition from desktop to mobile.

We attribute this difference to the most commonly cited industry report on app and browser behavior published by Flurry, which asserts that:

Nearly 90% of time spent on mobile (across iOS and Android devices) occurs in app.

But Flurry’s breakdown of how people are spending their time on mobile matters, as we see that the app time spent data is skewed upward by gaming (32% of time) and social (a total of 29% of time between Facebook at 17%, Other messaging at 10% and Twitter at 2%).

This doesn’t suggest SMEs should completely abandon the idea of a branded app.

There are times when a mobile app definitely helps, especially when it offers more than a mobile web site can, as Doug Root, CEO at Atlanta Light Bulbs discovered through one of BigCommerce’s software integrations, which:

[…] enabled us to build our own shopping app.

Our customers love it! We’re able to give it to our commercial customers, to set them up, put their favorite products in their phone, and then say, “Here, bam! All you’ve got to do is order on your phone, and you’re ready to go.”

Orders just roll in on the BigCommerce platform. It all talks back and forth wonderfully.

And BigCommerce’s strategic partnership with Handshake promises to give B2B customers unique features like:

  • A mobile sales app for paperless order writing. Perfect for tradeshows and customer appointments, it works both online and offline and helps you ship orders in hours instead of days.
  • A B2B ecommerce portal that lets customers place orders with you more often. It streamlines your processes, reduces order time and eliminates service calls for pricing and availability.
  • A dedicated mobile commerce app for your B2B buyers to help them save time by buying from their shelves. They can scan barcodes or search for products to quickly build orders.

For B2C customers, a Progressive Web App (PWA) could prove to be of more value than simply repackaging your website as a mobile app.

PWAs are a fairly new concept that has seen incredible adoption by big brands over the last year.

There are several features of PWAs that explain this:

  • The can be developed and deployed in less time – and at a lower cost – than regular mobile apps. In most instances they only require some modifications to your website code, and the inclusion of a few extra components.
  • They already support key “app-like” features like push notifications, background syncing, offline functionality, and being ‘added’ to the home screen. Other features like geo-fencing, etc. are planned.
  • They are cross-platform, and if setup correctly, will work as a traditional website on any desktop device and Apple mobile device. On Android devices (using the Chrome browser) they look and behave more like a traditional mobile app.
  • They don’t need to be submitted to app stores, which means you don’t need to put in extra effort marketing them, and your customers are not expected to download and install anything.

Progressive refers to another key feature: PWAs need to be supported by almost any device and browser, from entry level through to high-end.

This usually means either only including features supported by entry level devices, or creating different versions for different devices.

With PWAs, all the features you want can be included, but they will only become available to users progressively.

A user on a slow connection with an entry-level device will still be able to browse your store, and place an order. But they won’t see certain interactive features, and background syncing and offline functionality might be disabled.

AliExpress was a very early adopter of PWAs, and following their launch noticed:

  • Conversions for new users across all browsers grew by 104%, with an 82% increase in their iOS conversion rate.
  • The number of pages visited per session per user across all browsers doubled.
  • Time spent per session across all browsers grew by 74%.

One possible explanation for the iOS growth – despite the current lack of support for PWAs on iOS – is that PWAs are usually faster than regular websites and mobile apps, and use considerably less data.

Deciding whether to launch a mobile app – or PWA – shouldn’t be driven by claims that everyone else is doing it.

It should, instead, be influenced by whether or not it offers benefits and value to your customers, and to you.

Top Mobile Commerce Trends in 2018

As a final reminder that businesses can no longer afford to ignore m-commerce, the data team at BigCommerce analyzed figures and trends across the BigCommerce platform in 2017, in order to highlight just how important mobile commerce is right now.

Here are the biggest mobile commerce trends in 2018, based on consumer shopping data.

1. Increased trust.

More consumers feel comfortable shopping on mobile than ever before. Security issues have diminished as the age of m-commerce has increased.

Additionally, consumers are more and more of the “digital native” age, meaning they’ve grown up with computers and the internet their entire lives.

These generations are more likely to use mobile commerce than older generations.

2. Faster checkouts.

One-page checkouts and digital wallets (Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal One Touch) have improved mobile conversion by up to 10% at launch.

And it’s no surprise – as more consumers are comfortable shopping on mobile, more convenient mobile checkout experiences have surged in popularity.

Still requiring folks to type in all their credit card numbers?

You’re losing out on sales.

3. Easier to use sites.

More and more sites are now optimized for mobile use.

As mentioned earlier in this piece, m-commerce isn’t going anywhere. It isn’t the next new trend. It is a staple of modern retail.

As a result, ecommerce platforms and businesses alike have moved into near 100% responsive site builds, meaning most sites today are easy to use on mobile.

What’s more though is that many brands are moving to mobile-first, or mobile-unique experience. In this instances, a mobile site is created specifically for the mobile user –– different than what the desktop version looks like.

Brands that do this often see an increase in mobile conversion due to easier site navigation and specific experience built for the unique browsing patterns and challenges of mobile shopping.

Mobile Commerce Statistics

Look, you don’t need an article to tell you that mobile commerce is important.

You probably shop on your phone – or browse there at the very least.

That said, numbers never hurt, especially if you are needing to convince others in your organization about the benefits of a mobile-first m-commerce strategy.

So, let’s look at the numbers.

Revenue impact for the retail industry.

  • Mobile conversion increased 30% YoY from 2015 to 2016.
  • In 2012, mobile sales accounted for 10% of total purchases across BC stores
  • In 2016, mobile commerce sales accounted for 31% of total purchases

Same store mobile commerce growth stats by country YoY.

  • U.S. businesses – 24% growth.
  • Australia & New Zealand businesses – 33% growth.
  • European businesses – 18%.
  • Canadian businesses – 19%.
  • Asia-based businesses – 42%.
  • Other – 30%.

Mobile device differences.

  • iOS users spend 18% more on average than Android users.
  • Desktop average order value (AOV) is 53% higher than mobile AOV (iOS + Android).

Desktop still matters.

  • Desktop AOV is 50+% higher than mobile AOV.
  • Average conversion rate by device:
    • Desktop: 4.31%.
    • Mobile: 1.5%.

Here’s the full m-commerce infographic to share:

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

]]> 4
Digital Commerce and the Threat of Card-not-present Fraud Tue, 19 Dec 2017 21:33:22 +0000 Digital commerce continues to be top of mind for online retailers. Consumers shop more and more across a variety of…]]>

Digital commerce continues to be top of mind for online retailers.

  • Consumers shop more and more across a variety of devices and channels.
  • Retailers continually optimize their sales channels to deliver more seamless consumer experiences.

But within this focus on digital commerce is also increasing pressure from fraudulent activities.  

According to a recent survey of North American digital enablers (e.g., ecommerce platform providers) commissioned by Discover® Global Network, mid-sized merchants with annual revenues of $250 million to $1 billion are seen as the most high-risk targets for fraud over the next 12-24 months.1

This risk for mid-sized merchants could be caused by two factors:

  1. First, fraudsters likely see mid-sized merchants as having enough revenue and customer volume to make attacks worthwhile.
  2. Second, mid-sized merchants often lack the necessary complex risk management systems used by larger digital commerce companies that would help thwart fraud.1

There’s not much you can do about factor #1, and that makes the second factor here incredibly important.

As digital commerce continues to grow, so do new methods to commit fraud.

Let’s look at a few of those –– and what you can proactively do about it.

New Payment Methods, New Fraudulent Activity

The method in which consumers shop is continually evolving.

Take digital commerce, for example. In 2016, shoppers spent more than $1.9 trillion worldwide.2

Some estimates project that global ecommerce sales will reach $4 trillion by the year 2020.2

Mobile payments are also making an increasing impact. This shift to mobile is pushed along with the ever-expanding list of payments-enabled devices.

Consumers can now pay with:

  • Their phone and apps
  • Smartwatches
  • Voice-activated assistants
  • Connected cars  

The list goes on.

In fact, in the U.S., 28% of millennials prefer shopping on their smartphones (a mobile device) rather than on their computers.3

Not only is mobile building amongst consumers, but retailers see the importance of incorporating a digital payments and mobile strategy throughout their business to potentially capture a greater share of wallets.

This shift towards m-commerce is predicted to reach $284 billion, or 45% of the total U.S. ecommerce market, by 2020.4

And the use of mobile payments is expected to grow at an 80% compound annual growth rate through 2020 — reaching $503 billion.5

Along with this evolution into digital commerce come new payment technologies that aim to meet the needs and expectations for a more seamless, secure and immediate payments experience.

Currently, examples of prominent payment technologies include:

  • Digital wallets – apps that store credit card information on a mobile device—be it phone, smart watch or other payments-enabled devices. Common examples are Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay; but individual companies have also begun developing their own branded digital wallet.
  • Hybrid online-mobile systems – the use of a personal computer and mobile device, which enables consumers to do things like authenticate an online purchase through their mobile device.
  • EMV technology – a chip embedded within credit and debit cards that is generally harder to clone than the traditional magnetic strip of a card. EMV chips create data unique to each transaction, which make card validation possible for each transaction.
  • Contactless payments – technology that allows consumers to hold their payment method of choice (e.g., mobile device) near the merchant point-of-sale terminal to complete a transaction, as opposed to inserting or swiping a card.

However, the rewards of new payment technologies, like faster transactions through digital wallets, and the shift towards new preferred methods of paying also come with new challenges.

Common challenges include consumer adoption.

Retailers generally want their consumers to adopt new technology before considering investing expenses and efforts to support it.

However, until retailers support a technology, it is difficult to demonstrate an interest.

Another challenge: retailers and issuers need to communicate with employees and consumers about how to complete transactions on new technologies and systems.

A notable risk of these challenges: card-not-present fraud.

Let’s start from the beginning here.

What is CNP Fraud?

Card-not-present (CNP) transactions are when the consumer does not or cannot present their physical card to the merchant at the point-of-sale.

An ecommerce site is a common example in which this is the case.

Therefore, CNP fraud is when a consumer’s credit card is used to make a fraudulent transaction in a CNP setting.

The State of CNP Fraud

CNP fraud is likely to become more prevalent as emerging payments technologies gain wider acceptance and as consumer preference for digital methods continues to grow.

And digital enablers would agree.

In the same survey of North American digital enablers commissioned by Discover Global Network, 62% of digital enabler respondents cited an increase in fraud year over year. This fraud occurred among their merchant customers, with one in five noting the increase as significant.1

These results are not surprising, as similar trends continue to be reported.

In 2016, one research and advisory firm predicted CNP fraud will exceed $7.2 billion in the U.S. by 2020, which, according to the report, is a 225% increase from 2015 levels.6

With so much value lost to fraudulent activities, where are these attempts coming from?

Some common examples include:

  • Hacking and data breaches – When a data breach occurs, user credentials and payment information can be attained. This information can end up on the dark web and, subsequently, bought by fraudsters.
  • Bots – Fraudsters use bots as a way to more easily and efficiently test stolen data across digital commerce sites.
  • Phishing attacks – Phishing is a common fraud method in which fake communications are sent by a seemingly legitimate “company” in an effort to get consumers to enter in sensitive information.

Other examples include malware, new account fraud, digital wallet fraud, account takeover and many more.

Regardless of the method, though, one thing is certain: Fraud will likely continue to grow.

CNP Fraud Likely to Grow

CNP fraud is commonly associated with the implementation of EMV technology as merchants across the U.S. upgrade their point-of-sale terminals.

And though EMV technology will and has likely given rise to an increase in CNP fraud, other factors may be contributing to CNP fraud growth too.

One such potential factor is the continued growth of digital commerce, because as purchase volumes in digital channels continue to grow in value, so does the potential reward for fraudsters.

And digital commerce is growing.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce Census Bureau, U.S. retail ecommerce sales have increased by 15.5% from Q3 2016 to Q3 2017.4

This upward trend has been present since at least 2008, when the Census Bureau reported that ecommerce sales accounted for about 3.5% of total sales, compared to now, where ecommerce accounts for about 8.4% of total sales.7

Authentication Strategies for Managing CNP Fraud

To better manage CNP risk in the new payment frontier, among other methods, merchants could consider embracing a holistic solution that includes:

  1. Layered security
  2. Collaborative security
  3. Consumer-centric security

1. Layered Security.

Layered security is when the payments network, the issuer and the merchant all perform separate aspects of risk analysis and notify one another of potential events.

Since each respective player has different levels of information throughout the full transaction process, this method has inherent potential to be more effective than just one party performing a risk analysis by itself.

Large online retailers have incorporated a variety of authentication services as part of their layered security.

Some real-time services and tactics include:

  • Device IDs
  • Fingerprint identification
  • Sophisticated rules engines
  • The 3-Domain Secure protocol

During pre-transaction activity, retailers have used predictive analytics that can help determine whether the consumer is an actual consumer versus a bot or fraudster.

Knowing the nature of the transaction helps the retailer permit only transactions that seem legitimate.

Layered security, broadly, can be implemented to help detect fraud throughout the entire payments chain—that is, before, during and after transaction authorization.

2. Collaborative Security

Collaboration across the entire payments ecosystem is critical.

Retailers who partner with networks, issuers and even other retailers to extend the benefits of security best practices and insights could potentially have more effective anti-fraud security measures than those who do not engage in a collaborative approach.

And this is important to having a strong layered security.

3. Consumer-Centric Security.

Of course, the key to any strategy is keeping the consumer at the center of it all.

If a security strategy disrupts the consumer experience by being slow or complex, consumers could be frustrated and go elsewhere.

But fortunately, anti-fraud tools continue to evolve into being more transparent and more frictionless for consumers.

Take mobile devices, for instance, and the implementation of biometrics to authorize payments.

Regardless of the security strategy, retailers should take a pragmatic approach by weighing risks versus sales in context.

From there, retailers need to determine if the hard losses avoided through fraud prevention will balance out the unrealized margin due to potential incomplete purchases.

What Next?

As it stands, retailers must understand the current payments environment, implement current and evolving best practices to help reduce risk, increase consumer satisfaction and plan for the future direction of transactions.

It is not necessarily an easy task, and it can be a continual process in this shifting payments landscape.

An effective approach is to work with partners who are already experienced with the latest payment technologies, including fraud service providers, issuers and leading payments networks.

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.


  • 1 “Combatting Fraud in the New Digital Commerce Ecosystem,” 451 Research, September 2017.
  • 2 Worldwide Retail Commerce Sales Will Reach $1.915 Trillion This Year,” eMarketer, August 2016.
  • 3 “The 2016 Smartphone User Behavior Report Millennials’ Mobile Shopping Habits,” Coupify, 2016.
  • 4 “The Mobile Checkout Report,” Business Insider, February 2016.
  • 5 “The Mobile Payments Report,” Business Insider, June 2016.
  • 6 “Card-Not-Present Fraud Losses to Exceed $7 Billion by 2020,” Aite Group, May 2016.
  • 7 “Quarterly Retail E-commerce Sales 3rd Quarter 2017,” U.S. Department of Commerce, November 2017.

The information provided herein is sponsored by Discover Global Network. It is intended for informational purposes, and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.

]]> 2
How to Use Digital Wallets and Mobile Site Optimization Tactics to Stamp Out Cart Abandonment Fri, 21 Jul 2017 15:41:45 +0000 If your site isn’t responsive and optimized for mobile, chances are around 75% of people will bounce without making a…]]>

If your site isn’t responsive and optimized for mobile, chances are around 75% of people will bounce without making a purchase.

Want people to create an account before buying? Say goodbye to 35% of mobile customers — and that’s not even the biggest reason they leave.

The world of mobile ecommerce can be a confusing minefield for merchants, but it doesn’t have to be.

Like sleeping on an airplane, shopping on an iPhone or other mobile device still doesn’t feel quite right most of the time. That’s because most ecommerce merchants still have a few (sometimes more than a few) issues that need ironing out.

These issues, it turns out, aren’t a minor inconvenience, either — they’re costing business owners somewhere in the region of half their potential mobile sales, and often more.

That’s ludicrous, especially when you consider that the tools and mobile ecommerce best practices exist to make shopping on mobile — whatever the scope of the purchase — quick and painless.

In this article, we’ll be taking some of the lessons we’ve learned over the years to address and discuss three main points:

  1. What’s eating your customers when it comes to your mobile checkout experience
  2. How and why you should be encouraging the use of digital wallets to optimize for mobile conversion
  3. Why cart abandonment is an issue no merchant should have to face

Why are your mobile conversion rates so low?

When was the last time you visited your own website on a phone and tried to buy something? If you can find even the tiniest hiccup, chances are your customers found it, too, and they might not be so forgiving.

Eventually, we’re talking about cart abandonment, which is where a customer fills their online shopping cart with items they’re planning to buy, only to leave the site without completing the purchase. We’ll get to why that is later, but the reason we say ‘eventually’, is that there could be other reasons why your mobile site isn’t quite sitting right with potential customers, even before they’ve had a chance to shop.

Let’s take a look at a few of those reasons — and the mobile optimization tactics you can use to combat them.

Your website is unresponsive (or just looks plain bad)

As far back as 2004, studies like this one, led by psychologist Elizabeth Sillence, were telling us that how your website looks has a huge impact on how trustworthy potential customers deem your business to be.

The study — which focused on health websites — found that an outrageous 94% of respondents who were wary of a website, were wary because of the design.

A poorly-designed, unresponsive website makes you look like you don’t know what you’re doing — or worse, like you’re running a scam!

Fortunately for ecommerce businesses, picking a BigCommerce template to work with makes this one an easy fix.

And people do want to shop online from their phones, they really do.

The desire exists, and it’s through no fault of their own that consumers are running up against the same problems time and again.

There are more than a few sites, however, which prove that a responsive website is one of the surest ways of generating more revenue.

Etsy — Annual revenue: $195 million (2014)

mobile conversion

Users love the Etsy platform so much, that over 30% of their sales come from mobile customers.

CamelBak — Purchased for $412.5 million (2015)

An ultra-simple template helps CamelBak’s site look great on any device. (Plus, check out CamelBak’s welcome emails and learn how you can implement the same template to grow sales from your first day of email marketing.)

Martha Stewart Cafe — Annual revenue: $160 million (2014)

The addition of ratings under each product enhances the user experience, increasing trustworthiness.

Pop-ups and autoplay videos

When done correctly, pop-ups — or overlays, as they’re also called — can be an effective tool for adding value to the user experience and for gathering leads.

On mobile, however, overlays need to be used with some caution. Trying to click out of an overlay you’re not interested in on a phone is almost always an exercise in frustration which runs the risk of your prospect bouncing.

Try setting your overlays to appear on desktop devices only, so that your mobile customers aren’t hampered by trying to hunt for that cross (assuming they’re not interested right then, of course).

As for autoplay videos, rarely are they, or have they ever been, a good idea on websites. What works on Facebook isn’t necessarily going to fly on your site, and if you’ve got that video set to play sound too, then you can kiss those conversions goodbye.

Poor quality images and content

Part of the fun of shopping online is that we get to fantasize about the things we’re buying until they arrive, and part of that experience involves high-quality images and descriptive text which makes us feel like we’ve made a solid choice.

Not giving your visitors that feeling means they’re more likely to try and find your product (or more likely its equivalent) somewhere else.

What makes a great product description? Take a look at anything Annesley Boards does.

mobile optimization

Your site takes too long to load

We’ve all abandoned a site simply because it took too long to load, but how long do you think most people will give a site before deciding that it’s not worth their time?

10 seconds?

15 seconds?

Try 3 seconds.

According to research by KissMetrics, 40% of mobile visitors will abandon a site that takes longer than three seconds to load. Sheesh!

There’s no call-to-action (CTA)

Even though you want your customers to be in control of the experience they have on your site — how they navigate, what they choose to look at, etc. — don’t forget that it’s still your site, and you’re responsible for orchestrating what goes on there.

Without a clear CTA, visitors will either flounder around not knowing where to click or how to shop, or they’ll bounce. It’s that simple.

Every single page on your website needs to have some sort of CTA, whether that’s a checkout button, an email sign-up box or even just a ‘Like’ button.

The only CTA worth a thing is the one which tells you exactly what you’re going to get.

For a more in-depth look at what makes a great CTA, check out this post by Michael Aagaard at Unbounce.

Encouraging the Use of Digital Wallets

Digital wallets, mobile wallets, whatever you decide to call them, enabling and encouraging the use of them on your ecommerce website just makes sense.

But before we dive into this best practice for mobile ecommerce, what is a digital wallet?

Essentially, a digital wallet holds your preferred card details behind several lines of encryption, allowing you to quickly and safely pay for things on mobile without having to enter your details over and over.

Think of it like Amazon’s one-click purchase feature, made available on your other favorite sites, or like the contactless card payments you’re used to in-store.

Digital wallets are all about removing friction from the mobile buying process. Remove the barriers put up by having to enter long strings of numbers, and by tedious button clicking, and watch customers stroll right through the checkout.

Start Seeing 5% Conversion Rates on Mobile Now

BigCommerce users can integrate Amazon Pay, Apple Pay and PayPal into their sites without the need for any coding. What it comes down to is that customers want a faster way to send money, and you want a faster way to receive money. Digital wallets are that way.

What does enabling the use of digital wallets mean to revenue?

How about a 3X in mobile cart conversion for those sites which encourage payments through digital wallets?

That’s more than a pretty decent ROI for something which should be standard practice anyway, don’t you think?

And we’re not the only ones who think so, either. These testimonials come from people talking about the difference Apple Pay makes to ecommerce businesses (you can check out the full article here).

That last one, in which Jan makes a point about how secure digital wallets are, is an important thing to consider.

A report by the Baymard Institute states that almost 20% of customers abandon their carts because of concerns over the safety of their information on mobile.

It’s understandable; over the years, we’ve been conditioned to believe that entering your card details on a phone is significantly more risky than on a desktop device. Allowing users to pay using Apple Pay, Amazon Pay or Google Wallet removes that fear, which translates into more revenue for your business.

It’s these friction points that digital wallets are intended to overcome. If a customer has to remove a credit card from their wallet to type in the number every time they want to shop, there’s a higher possibility that during that time, they’ll decide to abandon their cart.

With just a couple of taps, a digital wallet can help close the sale and provide a better experience for your customer.

Let’s take a quick look at what a digital wallet versus mobile checkout experience looks like.

Here is NatoMount’s mobile experience. It takes you 3 steps to get to the digital wallet, which requires a click of a button to finalize the payment (1 additional step if you need to sign in to your Amazon account). With this set up, NatoMounts has increased mobile conversion to 5% of all mobile traffic, getting many customers to buy in less than 60 seconds.

NatoMounts still includes old-school mobile checkout (which is much improved than in the past! This one is a one-page checkout…but still requires the typing in of sensitive information on small devices). Lots of sensitive info on small devices often = cart abandonment –– which we’ll address more in the next section.

Put an End to Cart Abandonment

All of this — the responsive website, quality images and content, a clear CTA and the use of digital wallets — comes together to combat that most dreaded of ecommerce problems: cart abandonment.

Cart abandonment is by far the biggest challenge facing online store owners, outside of actually getting people onto the site in the first place, on both mobile and desktop.

Everything we’ve just talked about contributes to cart abandonment (or the prevention thereof) in some way, but there are a few other things which — according to that Baymard Institute report we’ve already mentioned — could be driving potential customers away after they’ve dropped products into their baskets.

Here are some stats (read the full article here):

  • 61%: Extra costs (shipping, taxes, fees) were too high
  • 35%: Didn’t want to create an account
  • 27%: The checkout process was too long or complicated
  • 24%: Couldn’t see or calculate total order cost up-front
  • 22%: Reported the website had errors or crashed.
  • 18% Didn’t trust the site with their credit card information
  • 16%: Delivery timeline was much too slow
  • 10%: Didn’t believe the returns policy to be fair or satisfactory
  • 8%: Didn’t see their preferred method of payment
  • 5%: Their credit card was declined

From that list of 10, we’ve bolded half, all of which are related to payment, all of which could be solved by enabling the use of digital wallet payments.

We’ve said it before: people want to shop on their phones. That’s evident by the amount of attention abandoned cart articles are getting from marketers, SEO professionals and designers.

Customers and ecommerce store owners can have a beautiful, frictionless relationship, if only we (the business owners) got our acts together and started making the sites people want to use.

Everything we need is within our reach, from the right responsive templates, to information on how to write a winning CTA, to the capability of allowing customers to shop using their digital wallets.

There is no reason for cart abandonment to exist as an issue in this age of responsive ecommerce stores and digital wallets.

Putting Everything Together to Reduce Cart Abandonment

Let’s round off with a quick recap of everything we’ve learned about how to use mobile wallets and site optimization to stamp out cart abandonment and improve mobile conversion rates:

  • Make your website responsive — 94% of visitors leave a site whose design doesn’t inspire confidence, and a third will bounce if the website takes longer than three seconds to load.
  • Get rid of pop-ups on mobile — Same goes for autoplay videos (especially ones with sound). Overlays on mobile usually do more harm than good.
  • Ensure high-quality images and content — Recreate the experience of browsing in-store and window shopping by making the most of your imagery and copywriting.
  • Have a clear CTA — When guests arrive at your house, you invite them to make themselves at home, but you still show them where the bathroom and extra glasses are.
  • Digital wallets reduce friction — Half of the reasons people abandon their carts are related to payment. Digital wallets reduce friction and increase conversion x3.
  • Design with the customer in mind — If that means regularly visiting your own site to test it out, then that’s what you should do.

Did you find this article helpful? What issues have you run into as an ecommerce business owner? Let us know in the comments.

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

]]> 2
Ecommerce Checkout Page Optimization: 6 Actionable Steps to Win You More Sales, More Emails and More Trust Tue, 18 Apr 2017 20:34:10 +0000 Checkout page optimization is a frequently overlooked area for retailers looking for routes to increase online revenue. Instead, many online…]]>

Checkout page optimization is a frequently overlooked area for retailers looking for routes to increase online revenue.

Instead, many online business owners and managers focus on optimizing for the front end of the website –– creating beautiful designs, site experiences and merchandising product to push customers down a purchase funnel.

That makes sense. After all, this is your customer’s first impression of your business, and your first opportunity to convince them to stay, browse and buy.

But when it comes to buying, an online store’s checkout far surpasses any other element of the website in terms of importance — including CTA buttons, product page specifications, and other more commonly thought-of factors.

This is the time when you — unknown retailer — present risk to the consumer. There is a reason that 7 out of 10 shopping carts are abandoned. 20+ years after the advent of ecommerce, consumers are still wary of providing sensitive information such as credit card details unless a retailer can prove that it is trustworthy, secure and worthy of the sale.

There are multiple ways to increase consumer trust with your product at the checkout page. Further, there are multiple ways to reduce abandoned carts on the product page, in the shopping cart and at checkout.

I’ll cover all of these in this post, helping you to address the below reasons of why people abandon cart other than because they aren’t ready to buy.

Here is that full list:

  1. 61%: Extra costs (shipping, taxes, fees) were too high
  2. 35%: Didn’t want to create an account
  3. 27%: The checkout process was too long or complicated
  4. 24%: Couldn’t see or calculate total order cost up-front
  5. 22%: Reported the website had errors or crashed.
  6. 18% Didn’t trust the online store with their credit card information
  7. 16%: Delivery timeline was much too slow
  8. 10%: Didn’t believe the returns policy to be fair or satisfactory
  9. 8%: Didn’t see their preferred method of payment
  10. .5%: Their credit card was declined

Now, it’s worth saying that I don’t believe there’s such a thing as an optimum checkout process. The results will always differ based on the demographic, product complexity, price point and various other variables and the best results are likely to come from continuous testing, monitoring and improvement.

However, I’ve worked on a number of checkout projects with merchants over the last few years and this post based on many of those experiences.

Here are the actionable tips I generally give to ecommerce businesses looking to improve their checkout experience and gain more from merchants who have started the process.

1. Capture the user’s email address early

This tactic helps to address issue #1 and #2 in our abandoned cart list above.

Whether you like it or not, you’re never going to convert 100% of the users who reach the checkout page (or progress from the cart) – not even close. So, one thing I’ve always tried to do is grab the email address as early as possible, often as an independent first step.

This first step requires the user to enter their email address and choose whether they want to check out as a guest or create an account for later use. It also ideally performs a lookup to tell the user if the email address already has an account associated with it.

Hyphen Mattress has a really strong checkout experience and is a great example of how an initial email / user validation stage can be done as a first step (i.e. grabbing the email address). With either checkout process — checking out as guest, or creating an account — the first step is to input your email.

ecommerce checkout

The main objective behind grabbing the email address is for shopping cart abandonment campaigns. Without an email, you cannot launch your abandoned cart email series, which often brings back 15% of customers who add an item to cart, get to checkout and then decide not to purchase.

I’m also a big fan of systems like DotMailer and Ometria, which require a user to enter their email address in order to tie their behavior to a user, which allows for more personalized email marketing.

Using connections built by companies like Windsor Circle for BigCommerce –– or whichever ecommerce platform you use –– will allow you to sync data in real-time between your online store and a more personalized email provider like DotMailer.

Here is a backend view to show you exactly what you can do to implement this process. Keep in mind, this only works if you grab email addresses early and often.

checkout optimization

Easily create marketable customer segments based on specific behavior.

best checkout ux

Track how those segments perform.

If don’t need abandoned cart segmentation that’s so advanced, capturing the email address early in the process is still incredibly important to trigger regular abandoned cart flows. You can set those up out-of-the-box with BigCommerce or through other email providers like MailChimp, Dotmailer and Klaviyo.

The Math behind Abandoned Cart and 25% More Revenue

Abandoned carts happen. Here’s how to get those customers back and reduce abandonment rate.

2. Replace or minimize the header and footer, and remove any other distractions

This tactic helps to address issue #3 in our abandoned cart list above.

I’m a big advocate of removing the core header and footer navigation of the store, in order to prevent any distractions for the user. The focus of the checkout page should be — well, the checkout page.

Generally, I’d recommend swapping the header for important links (such as delivery information, which should open within a lightbox / modal) and trust signals (such as secure payment gateway, merchant reviews etc, etc).

Berkey Water is a really good example of this. I’d also often display a link back to the main cart / main store and a phone number or live chat field for questions.

checkout page design inspiration

Couture Candy is another good example of checkout simplicity. In addition to removing all distractions, the brand also pulls the cart summary information down as you progress through the fields, which I like.

ecommerce checkout flow

Out-of-the-Box Optimized Checkout

BigCommerce’s optimized checkout is free to use for all BigCommerce customers and is an out-of-the-box feature. Simply choose “optimized checkout” for your checkout option on the backend, and your checkout will look like Couture Candy’s.

3. Keep your cart page / process quick and simple

This tactic helps to address issue #3, #4, #7 and #8 in our abandoned cart list above.

With the cart and basket pages, the key is to keep things as simple as possible. Summarize what the user has added to cart and provide a very obvious next step (as well as options around making changes to the order). Only include custom fields that are absolutely necessary, since these naturally provide more shopper friction.

Remove unnecessary clutter and make the call to actions on the page very obvious and clear. If the next step is to choose shipping method, it should be self-explanatory to the customer. They shouldn’t have to strain to determine where to enter their shipping address or other information. Some type of progress indicator can be useful here as well.

Sierra Designs has a very strong cart page, which I’d imagine is based on a lot of research and data that positively impacted conversion. I think this cart page is a great example of providing a summary of the order and a very obvious next step for the user to progress through to the next stage of the checkout.

checkout page example

See that button in there that allows users at this stage to calculate total order cost. Include that. Here’s what that looks like.

best ecommerce checkout page example 2017

Another key part of this is the process of adding an item to cart, which should again be a very clean experience that doesn’t impact the user’s journey by taking them straight to the cart page when they’re wanting to purchase another item.

Two really good examples of this are Flash Tattoos and Erdem.

Flash Tattoos displays a modal window when an item is added to cart. This window lets the brand cross-sell to increase AOV and conversion rate, but doesn’t force a user into the cart just yet.

Erdem doesn’t provide a pop-up, but instead notifies the user of an item added in the right hand corner column of the site.

How to Write a Returns Policy That Sells

Be customer-centric. Also, use this template.

4. Data validation

This tactic helps to address issue #3, #5, #9 and #10 in our abandoned cart list above.

From experience, address validation solutions are a great way to speed up the checkout process and also reduce input errors.

This has been a fairly common addition to checkouts in recent years and PCA Predict in particular has done a great job in creating an easy to integrate, robust solution. Many web browsers like Chrome and Safari also store this information for users on their own end, which looks like this:

All of those yellow slots were filled in by Chrome.

Also, it’s helpful for international merchants to use a service or platform that allows you to recognize IP address and automatically change currency to fit the bill.

Here is an online record store based in The Netherlands. As you can see, the currency alters based on IP address (this user was visiting from the U.S.).

In addition, the payment options altered based on IP address using Adyen. In The Netherlands, Ideal is the most common payment option. In the U.S., regular credit card providers and PayPal are most popular. Vinyl Express set up rules on the backend of their store through Adyen to enable this and decrease customer confusion or distractions.

5. Display trust signals throughout the checkout process

This tactic helps to address issue #6 in our abandoned cart list above.

Trust Seals

Users really start to think about security when they reach the most sensitive parts of a webpage. For online shoppers, it’s when they reach the credit card form field on a webpage that they are on guard in terms of the of what the security of a page is actually like.

Showing trust signals throughout the buyer journey is something that comes across as very obvious, but isn’t always implemented on websites.

I recommend displaying the following:

  • Merchant reviews / rating (e.g. rated 4.9 / 5 based on 100,000 orders)
  • SSL certificate and mention of secure shopping experience. You could also potentially look at third party security validation, such as Norton, McAfee, GeoTrust etc
  • Very clear customer service / help, returns and T&Cs links
  • Logos of available payment options (and ideally payment certification – e.g. verified by Visa)
  • Any other business accreditations

Which trust seals should you use?

The Baymard Institute has done two studies on which trust seals invoke the highest amount of security for users. Their first test was in 2013 and the second in 2016. They compared all sorts of seals –– including ones from the Better Business Bureau and Google’s own Trusted Store seal, as well as those from SSL vendors like Symantec, Comodo, Thawte, etc.

What they saw was that consumer facing security brands score a lot higher in terms of perceived trust –– and not just 2% higher, but 2x.

What is a consumer-facing security brand? It is often those brands which provide antivirus software like Norton/Symantec and McAfee, as well as Google and the BBB, that rank really highly in a user’s perceived level of trust. Pure-play SSL providers like GeoTrust, Comodo and Thwate generally don’t do as well –– likely because consumers haven’t heard of them.

checkout page

The Spectrum Audio screenshots below represents a good example of how trust signals can be used throughout the buyer’s journey.

conversion rate

Product page


Cart page

form field

Checkout page

Spectrum Audio also retains their footer (replacing the header with contact details), which has various certifications and accreditations.

Streamlined Domain Experience

Another important thing retailers can do to establish trust and increase conversion rate at the checkout page is to keep customers on their domain through the entirety of the shopping experience.

You’ll see that some websites across the web will jump you to a third-party checkout provider, rather than keeping the customer on their own domain. This is often because the business hasn’t purchased an SSL and is using a shared SSL through a third-party. While this is secure technically, from a perception angle, it can disrupt the user flow and cause distrust.

Here is how the checkout flow works for brands using their own SSL:

Free SSL at Checkout Coming Soon to All

All BigCommerce stores are outfitted at launch with a shared SSL certificate by default, which uses the domain. As a result, your secure pages, like the cart and checkout page, will have a URL containing

To display your store’s custom domain continuously throughout the checkout process (which is often preferred by shoppers concerned about security) you can purchase a dedicated SSL certificate. In the coming months, BigCommerce customers will have access to a free SSL certificate, removing the need to purchase an SSL for checkout domain continuity.

6. Allow for different payment options

This tactic helps to address issue #9 and #10 in our abandoned cart list above.

Another key thing to think about are the payment options you’re providing to customers, which has become a much bigger area in the last couple of years. Customers have varying affinities and loyalties to different providers, so the more payment fields, the better.

Lots of the larger retailers are now offering things like pay after delivery, credit (either with 0% API or at a cost), split payments, etc, which are gradually becoming more important to users.


Finance in particular is an interesting one. I’ve recently looked at Klarna with a number of clients, which is an excellent solution. The below example shows the UI of Klarna checkout on the ZenProAudio.

Product page

Checkout page

There are a number of reasons why I recommend Klarna to merchants. The main ones are:

  • Speed – Klarna checkout is rapid and, if you’ve used Klarna before, it remembers your details. It’s a relatively similar experience to PayPal.
  • Credit offering – Klarna have a very strong credit and ‘pay after delivery’ offering, which can have a really big impact on a merchant’s conversion rate.
  • Experience – The full Klarna checkout provides a very nice UX and is basically a very clean, optimized checkout page out of the box.

Klarna + BigCommerce

Are you a BigCommerce customer? Start using Klarna right now.

Outside of Klarna, there are lots of other payment methods that could make a difference to your business. Be it something like AliPay, which is very important if you’re selling in Asia, or a finance option if you’re selling high value items.


For international sellers looking to showcase payment options for particular regions, use a solution like Adyen that lets you set rules for IP addresses so customers don’t have to scan hundreds of options and can instead choose from their region’s top few.

All countries have their nuances, which is why it was so important we used Adyen with BigCommerce. Adyen supports a large volume of sales, and allows customers to choose their preferred payment method without cluttering up the checkout flow with a bunch of different payment options.

Rogier van Genugten, CEO at Vinyl Express

shipping options

Adyen + BigCommerce

Accept preferred payments worldwide. Begin using Adyen right now.

Digital Wallets: Apple Pay + Amazon Pay

Also, look into digital wallets like Apple Pay and Amazon Pay. For many brands using Amazon Pay at checkout, they have seen conversions skyrocket, with more than 20% of customers choosing Amazon Pay over all other options.

Digital wallets are particularly impactful for mobile commerce metrics.

One BigCommerce merchant, NatoMounts, had a customer land on the site and checkout in less than 30 seconds thanks to Amazon Pay.

By building these integrations with companies like PayPal and Amazon, BigCommerce provides non-household brands, like me, instant credibility. This equals a clear path to ~5% conversion rates on mobile with over 80% of sales on mobile.

Brandon Chatham, Founder & CEO of NatoMounts

See Why So Many Brands Love Amazon Pay

What 10+ brands have to say about Amazon Pay, including sales lift in as little as two weeks.

Final Word

All in all, your ecommerce checkout page is the most important part of your online store. You cannot win sales and grow your business if you cannot get consumers to convert.

This is where trust is the most important. This is also where every small error or distraction can have a serious impact on your bottom line. Get as much feedback from customers on the user experience as you can, which helps you to identify every possible area to reduce friction and optimize your checkout page.

Streamline your checkout page. Offer all available, convenient solutions for your customers and make checkout the least difficult part of your customer’s ecommerce journey — from visit to conversion.

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

]]> 2
How To Accept Credit Card Payments Online in 2018: What Are Your Best Options? Fri, 21 Oct 2016 21:45:10 +0000 Figuring out the best ways to accept credit cards online and choosing the right payment processor can be overwhelming at…]]>


Figuring out the best ways to accept credit cards online and choosing the right payment processor can be overwhelming at the beginning. It is the lifeblood of your ecommerce operation.

If you can not properly take payments online, you have no business.

Before we dive into your payment options and how to get started, did you know:

5%average revenue loss

The average business loses a 5% of revenue to fraud every year. Resolving fraud costs more than $114,000.

Beyond fees, fraud and conversion, your brand’s ability to expand internationally can be squandered by your credit card processing choice. Do international buyers trust your chosen solution? Does that solution work cross-borders?

Throw in each provider’s fees, contracts and fine print, and you have a wildly complex decision in front of you. You need to consider a myriad of factors, and how they affect your business. There is no right or wrong answer — only what works best for your unique set of circumstances.

Take the time to do some comparison shopping before choosing a solution to accept debit and credit card payments. This guide will walk you through the process, giving you all the information you need to find the right match for your business, including:

  • How exactly your brand gets paid and how to get started
  • How MasterCard, American Express and Discover handle fees –– and how much you can expect to pay
  • The two types of fraud activity, and how a payment processor can help prevent the issue
  • How to handle disputes, and why lowering your risk of fraud reduces your chances of chargebacks
  • How consumer financing can increase conversion –– and which payment gateways offer it
  • Tips to expanding and selling internationally and selecting a payment provider that is globally recognized

Before we begin, know that there are three types of payment processors: merchant account + payment gateway, all-in-one solutions and simplified credit card processors. Here’s a quick overview of each.

Merchant Account + Payment Gateway

The traditional method for accepting payments online has been a combination of a merchant account and a payment gateway. Providers like SecureNet (USA), Authorize.Net (USA) and eWay (Australia and UK) fall into this category.

A merchant account is a special kind of business bank account that lets you accept credit card payments.

An online payment gateway connects your store and your merchant service account, and facilitates the processing of the payment transaction between the various parties involved, including your bank and the card issuer’s bank. Think of it as the digital version of a POS card swipe machine used in brick-and-mortar stores.

There are fees associated with both the merchant account and payment gateway, but there are a lot of options out there, and some have more competitive transaction fees or don’t charge setup fees.

Payment gateways can also offer greater control over security rules and customization; they may be a better fit for large businesses needing a more tailored solution.

One thing to note about using a merchant account/payment gateway combo is that you’ll need to apply for both, usually filling out forms and providing some financial information. Processing your applications can take a few days, so you won’t be able to jump right into accepting payments. After both have been approved, you’ll need to connect your account to the gateway and then your gateway to your store. Usually this involves configuring your store with API keys, shared secrets and tokens.

The benefits to using a payment gateway are that you usually have more handholding and personalized customer service along the way because the providers are large companies with big support organizations. Often you’ll be able to get a person on the phone to answer your questions.

Payment gateways can also offer greater control over security rules and customization; they may be a better fit for large businesses needing a more tailored solution.

All-in-One Solutions

These services, including PayPal and 2Checkout, combine an account and gateway into one solution, which can make setup quicker and easier.

They allow you to take all major credit cards and usually have favorable transaction rates. Plus most don’t charge monthly or setup fees for basic accounts, although you do have to pay a monthly fee for certain added features on some services.

Services like PayPal make setup quicker and easier. They also allow you to take all major credit cards and usually have favorable transaction rates.

In the past, one potential downside was that they didn’t always offer a seamless checkout experience. Depending on how your solution was set up, your customers may have been redirected off your site to pay for an order. This is no longer true. With PayPal powered by Braintree and One-Touch technology, you, the business owner, get to decide what your customer’s checkout experience is like.

And this is important, because PayPal is incredibly popular. It has more than 100 million users and powers 60% of online transactions. We recommend combining PayPal with another service — that way shoppers who prefer it can choose it, and those who don’t can have another option.

Credit Card Payment Processing, Simplified

Services like Stripe have removed much of the complexity out of taking payments online.

From a merchant’s perspective, these are very similar to the all-in-one solutions, but they usually integrate seamlessly with your store’s checkout, meaning the shopper never leaves your site. And they can be much quicker to set up — you can start taking various payment methods in a matter of minutes.

With these simplified payment processors, there’s no need for a merchant service account or payment gateway, and that translates to fewer fees.

With these simplified payment processors, there’s no need for a merchant account or payment gateway, and that translates to fewer fees. Rates are competitive with the all-in-one solutions, and most of these new processors also don’t charge setup or monthly fees. The experience is straightforward: the customer credit card is entered, and the payment processed — simple as that.

One thing to consider before choosing a simplified processor is that you usually don’t get quite the same level of traditional support. They tend to be very easy to use, so you may not need it. But if you do run into a problem with your credit card processing company, most support is done as self service via articles or through email — many of these providers don’t even staff a call center.

10 Questions All Businesses Should Ask a Payment Provider

For those looking for a top-level view of the issue, and a speedier read, here are the most important questions to ask a potential payments processing provider before you choose to use their services.

1. Are there different rates or fees associated with different types of cards?

Some services charge different fees to process different types of card transactions –– e.g. personal, business, debit and rewards cards –– as well as for different transaction amounts. Make sure you know exactly what you’ll be paying to process each type of transaction.

2. Do you charge “billbacks,” or are all charges related to a transaction billed in the same month?

It’s not unusual for a payment processor to entice you by quoting low rates. But sometimes that low rate only applies to certain types of cards (see question one). You may only find out after the fact that many of your transactions during the month didn’t qualify for that low rate.

For example, in January, you think you’re getting a 1.7% rate on your credit card transactions, but you processed several rewards cards. Even though you processed the transactions in January, come February, your processor charges you back, or bills you back, a higher rate. Now you have two different statements with two different rates for the same transaction, which makes it much harder to figure out the actual rate you’re paying.

3. What rates or fees do you charge when I swipe credit cards, enter them manually (key-enter) or accept them online?

To compensate for the risk of fraud, processors charge different rates depending on how you process a payment. Because there is less fraud associated with  cards that are physically swiped in a terminal (after all, you check IDs, right?), there is usually a lower rate. If someone calls you to buy something and gives you their number over the phone, the chance of foul play goes up a bit, as does the processing fee.

Online purchases have the highest incidence of fraud, so payment processors cover their risk by charging a higher rate. Make sure you know what those rates are and then figure out how much of each type of processing you’ll do to get a rough blended rate.

4. Do you charge a separate fee for your gateway?

It’s pretty common for processors to charge a separate fee for their payment gateway, usually on a per-transaction basis. So in addition to the standard transaction fee –– say 2.9% + $0.30 –– you’ll pay a gateway fee for each transaction.

5. When I refund a transaction, do I get back any of the initial fees?

Most credit card processors keep all of the fees for return transactions, and will most likely even charge an additional fee to process the refund. That means you can lose money every time a customer returns something. Be sure you are clear on how this process works, as it should inform your return policy. Many merchants sidestep this cost by issuing store credit for a returned item, rather than a refund.

6. What are the contract terms and are there early termination fees?

Most credit card processors impose a contract term for a specific amount of time, often one or two years. Many times, early termination or cancellation fees are part of the agreement. That’ll make it difficult for you to switch processors if you’re unhappy with how your account is handled.

7. What fees do you charge each month?

This question is deceptively simple since some processors might provide you with a seemingly small upfront monthly fee. But be sure to dig deeper — some additional fees might be hidden in the fine print. These can include fees for batch processing or fund transfers from a merchant account to your bank account, as well as statement fees. Processors might “waive” some of these fees to get your business, but could add them back in after a promotional period.

8. Is there a monthly minimum processing requirement or fee?

Some processors charge a monthly minimum fee, which you’ll pay if your monthly transaction volume falls below a certain amount. This can be a significant financial pain for early-stage businesses with few monthly credit card transactions.

9. Is there a limit on how much I can process?

Many processors limit the amount you can process based on your initial approval with them. Obviously, this can be frustrating if your business grows quickly or has a busy season — not to mention the negative impact that turning down orders will have on your business.

10. What type of support is offered?

When your payments hit a snag, will the processor be there to support you until you’re back up and running? Further, an automated phone system isn’t the same as speaking to a live person, so make sure to ask if they have live customer support. Low rate processing fees don’t mean much if you can’t reach someone to help when you need it most.

BigCommerce Payment Processing Partners

BigCommerce offers multiple payment gateways so you can choose which is right for your business. Learn more about the most commonly used:

From who is involved in every transaction to how payments are processed to fees and policies, discover everything you need to know to get started taking payments online.

]]> 83 Payment Gateways 101: What to Know Before Choosing a Payment Provider Fri, 21 Oct 2016 12:14:27 +0000 Choosing the right payment processor for your business is one of the most important decisions you make when setting up…]]>

Choosing the right payment processor for your business is one of the most important decisions you make when setting up your ecommerce website. And once you’re up and running, ensuring you have the right payment gateway to suit your business only grows in importance.

To make an informed decision, you’ll need to get caught up on the three Ps of payment processing: players, procedures and pricing.

Who’s Involved in an Online Payment Transaction?

There are three main players when it comes to processing credit and debit card transactions, whether you sell online or in person. On one end is you, the business owner. On the other end is your customer. In between are various technology solutions that connect the two of you.

  • You, the merchant: To accept credit card payments, you need to partner with a merchant bank (sometimes called an acquirer) who accepts payments on your behalf and deposits them into a merchant account (not the same as a payment gateway) that they provide .
  • Your customer: For your customer to buy and pay for their order, he or she needs a credit or debit card. The bank that approves your customer for the card (and lends him or her the cash to pay you) is called the issuing bank.
  • The technology: In the middle are two technologies that enable you and your customer to transact.
    • The first is a payment gateway, software that links your site’s shopping cart to the card processing network.
    • The second is the payment processor (or merchant service), which does all the heavy lifting: moving the transaction through the processing network, sending you a billing statement, working with your bank, etc. Often, your merchant bank is also your payment processor, which helps simplify things.

How Payment Transactions Are Processed

As a business owner, it’s helpful to understand exactly how money moves from your customer to you.

There are two stages to payment processing: the authorization (approving the sale) and the settlement (getting the money into your account).

Here’s how this transaction occurs:

  1. Your customer buys an item on your site with a credit or debit card.
  2. That information goes through the payment gateway, which encrypts the data to keep it private before sending it to the payment processor.
  3. The payment processor sends a request to the customer’s issuing bank asking for the money to pay for your stuff.
  4. The issuer responds with a yes (approval) or a no (denial).
  5. If approved, the payment processor tells you the transaction is accepted, and also tells your merchant bank to credit your account.

This back-and-forth process all takes place within 1–2 seconds.

The second part of the process (where you get paid!) is the settlement:

  1. The card issuer sends the funds to your merchant bank, which deposits the money into your account.
  2. The funds are available. Sometimes, your bank lets you access your money before it’s even sent to them. They also might keep a portion in your account that you can’t touch, just in case there are things returned from customers later (that’s called a reserve, in payments speak).

This half of the process can take a few days.

Payment Processing Fees & Policies

Now that you understand exactly how you get your money from customers via payment processing platforms, let’s address the cost issue.

It’s no surprise that everyone who touches the transaction wants to get paid, including the issuing bank, the credit card associations (Visa, MasterCard, etc.), the merchant bank and the payment provider.

At its most basic, every time you process a transaction, you pay several fees:

  • Interchange: The issuer gets paid a pre-negotiated percentage of each sale. This fee varies depending on many factors, such as industry, sale amount and type of card used. At last check, there were almost 300 different interchange fees.*
  • Assessment: The credit card association (Visa, MasterCard, etc.) also charges a pre-negotiated percentage fee, called an assessment.
  • Markup: Your merchant bank takes a percentage cut by charging you a markup fee, the amount of which also varies by industry, the amount of the sale and your monthly processing volume.
  • Processing: The payment processor (who might also be your merchant bank) makes money by charging a fixed-rate fee every time you process a transaction — no matter whether it’s a sale, a decline or return. Plus, it can charge fees for setup, monthly usage and even account cancellation.

The above fees are often bundled together, so you can have a tough time figuring out who’s getting what amount of your money.

Beyond the individual fees themselves, there are three different ways processors can structure them as part of an overall pricing plan:

  1. Flat-rate pricing: You pay a fixed percent for all transaction volume, no matter what the actual costs are. All of the above fees are baked into this single rate. For example, you are charged a bundled rate of 2.9% of the transaction amount + $0.30 per transaction. On a $100 sale, the fee you pay works out to be $3.20.
  2. Interchange plus pricing: Your merchant service charges you a fixed fee on top of the interchange — for example, 2% + $0.10 on top of a 1.8% interchange fee. On a $100 sale, that works out to be a $3.90 fee. Remember, too, that there are 300 or so different interchange fees, so the 1.8% can vary wildly.
  3. Tiered pricing: The processor takes the 300 or so different interchange rates and lumps them into three buckets, or pricing tiers: qualified, mid-qualified and nonqualified. This makes it simpler for you (and them) to understand. However, since the processor defines the buckets however it wants, it can be expensive. As an example, the fees you pay on a $100 sale could range from $2.50 to $3.50, depending on how it has been classified.

*For more details on credit card interchange fees, read up on how Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover handle them.

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How to Protect Your Ecommerce Store from Payment Fraud Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:06:07 +0000 According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, almost 50% of small businesses fall victim to fraud at some point…]]>

ecommerce fraud protection

According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, almost 50% of small businesses fall victim to fraud at some point in their business lifecycle, costing them an average of $114,000 per occurrence.

Aside from phishing and hacking, if you accept a fraudulent payment, you could be held financially responsible for the loss. Having to deal with a fraudulent transaction — the chargeback process, and the potential hit to your company’s reputation — is unpleasant, to say the least.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help minimize your risk and protect yourself and your customers from digital attacks.

Below are some best practices for online businesses who want to be proactive about ecommerce fraud prevention — aka keeping your ecommerce store safe from hackers.

Two Types of Online Store Fraud

Before we talk about what you can do to minimize your risk and protect your ecommerce store from fraud, it’s helpful to understand common tactics that scammers use.

There are many types of online fraud, but they can be broadly categorized in the following two buckets:

  • Account takeover: Most ecommerce stores provide customers with accounts that store personal information, financial data and purchase history. Perpetrators often hack into these accounts through phishing schemes. In one of the most common tactics, fraudsters send emails to trick customers into revealing usernames and passwords. They then log into your customers’ accounts, change the passwords and make unauthorized purchases.
  • Identity theft: Although most businesses take many precautions to secure customer data, fraudsters still manage to hack into databases and steal usernames, passwords, credit card numbers and other personal information.

Hackers often sell credit card numbers to other scammers, who then open accounts with ecommerce merchants and use the stolen numbers to pay for purchases.

DDOS and Automated Fraud Detection

BigCommerce is a secure hosted ecommerce platform with hacker deterrent security provisioning, three redundant network architectures and hardware firewalls to protect online stores from cybercrime. For additional security, Sift Science –– the security company behind Airbnb, Uber and Wayfair –– is available for customers to install.

This type of ecommerce fraud is difficult to detect because many people don’t check their credit card statements thoroughly — and because victims typically have no idea that someone opened an online account in their names.

PCI Compliance and Your Ecommerce Store

To help businesses protect themselves and their customers from online fraud, the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) — a forum of global brands including Visa, MasterCard and American Express — has developed a set of best practices to safeguard consumer data.

Complying with these standards, i.e. PCI compliance, is not optional for online retailers and is strictly enforced.

While many of the following recommendations fall within the PCI standards, visit the PCI Security Standards website for full requirements.

Also, know that your payment processor can help you with — or completely handle — PCI compliance. Many payment processors, including PayPal and BigCommerce, build PCI compliance into the solutions they offer businesses of all sizes.

Recommended Posts

The Complete Guide to PCI Compliance

Managing Your Risk

Although the potential for fraud is high for online transactions, you don’t have to concede and accept it as a business cost.

By putting the right tools and processes in place, you can reduce your chances of an attack (especially when accepting bitcoin payments), keep both your business and your customers safe, and reduce your chances of losing revenue and drowning in chargeback fees.

Below are a few recommendations from the PayPal Security Center.

Monitor Transactions and Reconcile Bank Accounts Daily

Nobody knows your business as well as you do. You know your biggest spenders and their buying patterns. Monitor your accounts and transactions for red flags such as inconsistent billing and shipping information, as well as the physical location of your customers. Use tools that track customer IP addresses and alert you to any addresses from countries known as a base for fraudsters.

Also, check to see if your customers are using free or anonymous email addresses (such as Gmail or Yahoo), as there’s a much higher incidence of fraud coming from free email service providers than from paid. For more information, check out the FBI’s Common Fraud Schemes.

Consider Setting Limits

Based on your order and revenue trends, set limits for the number of purchases and total dollar value you’ll accept from one account in a single day. This can help keep your exposure to a minimum should fraud occur.

Use the Address Verification System (AVS)

Address Verification Systems compare the numeric parts of the billing address stored on a credit card to the address on file at the credit card company. AVS is a fraud tool included in most payment processing solutions but check with your payment processor to be sure it’s supported.

Require the Card Verification Value (CVV)

You’re most likely familiar with this three- or four-digit security code printed on the backside of credit cards. What you might not know is that PCI rules prevent you from storing the CVV along with the credit card number and card owner’s name. That’s why the CVV is so effective. It is virtually impossible for ecommerce fraudsters to get it unless they’ve stolen the physical credit card. Most processors include a tool to require CVV as part of their checkout templates. Use it.

Get Tougher with Password Requirements

Align with PayPal — The Safer Way to Sell

PayPal thinks shopping should be fun — and fraud-free. Learn more about how PayPal helps keep consumers and businesses safe.

Hackers employ sophisticated programs that can run through all the permutations of a password. It won’t take them long to crack a simple, four-character password (such as “abcd”). Best practices these days call for at least an eight-character, alphanumeric password that requires at least one capitalization and one special character (for example, “P0r$che9!!”). Your customers might grumble, but it’s better safe than hacked.

Let your customers know exactly why you require better passwords, and it’s likely you’ll gain some loyalty points for being upfront and customer-focused. A little extra messaging can go a long way toward building customer lifetime value.

Keep Platforms and Software Up to Date

Make sure you’re running the latest version of your operating system, as providers continually update their software with security patches to prevent fraud and protect you from newly discovered vulnerabilities, as well as the latest viruses and malware.

Likewise, install and regularly update business-grade anti-malware and anti-spyware software to prevent attacks that exploit outdated software vulnerabilities. Free, limited-feature and consumer-strength antivirus software are not sufficient.

Note: If your site is hosted on a managed solution, such as BigCommerce, automatic security patches help ensure that any vulnerabilities are quickly resolved.

Now that you’re educated on credit card fraud and ecommerce fraud prevention, it’s time to dig into chargebacks.

Photo: Flickr, Yuri Samoilov

]]> 1 International Ecommerce: 3 Steps to Global Expansion Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:00:49 +0000 Cross-border ecommerce is rapidly growing and is expected to be a key growth engine for online retailers in the coming…]]>

international ecommerce selling

Cross-border ecommerce is rapidly growing and is expected to be a key growth engine for online retailers in the coming years. If you have any doubts that international ecommerce and selling globally is a significant opportunity for your business, just look at the numbers.

A recent McKinsey study estimated that 1.8 billion people will enter the consuming class by 2025, annually spending $30 trillion. With broader internet availability, buyers will have better access to businesses all over the world — businesses just like yours.

1.8 billion people will enter the consuming class by 2025, annually spending $30 trillion.

First Things First: Put a Plan in Place

Before you open your doors to the world, you need a plan.

If you’re new to the international ecommmerce game, you may want to start small by selling a few items in a few markets. Once you’ve tested some key products and markets and feel ready to expand, you can invest more heavily.

Whatever your starting point, here are three critical areas of planning, along with resources that can help you prepare.

1. Find Your Target Markets

Like any new venture, it pays to do your homework. Your first step is to learn about who your international customers are, what they buy and how they shop.

Gather Market Intelligence

Start by looking at your internal data to see from which countries people are already buying your products. Try further expanding your reach into these markets, even if only to test selling specific products.

You can also leverage research tools available from government agencies like the U.S. Small Business Administration and Both offer free planning tools and downloadable templates to help you find the best markets for your products, develop pricing strategies and more.

Research Demand and Local Buying Trends

To help develop your target markets, research the top countries that have strong demand for your products or niche specialty. Is there demand or a gap in the market? While you’re at it, try to learn as much as you can about consumers’ spending patterns and from which countries they typically buy. For instance, online shoppers from smaller countries are probably more likely to make international purchases, and they’ll likely spend in larger international markets like the U.S., Canada and Australia.

A helpful resource is PayPal’s PassPort site, which has a wealth of information about global buying trends for specific countries.

For instance, you can see top shopping categories, how often shoppers purchase from countries like the U.S., buying motivations and potential barriers by country. It also summarizes the local customs, trends, taboos and even holidays of each country so your brand offers a truly localized shopping experience for customers.

2. Consider Different International Payment Methods

With your initial market research out of the way, start thinking about how you’ll accept payments.

This is an important step because checkout is the point at which international shoppers tend to abandon their purchases — either because their preferred payment method isn’t available or because they don’t feel confident their payment will be handled securely.

Research Local Buyers’ Preferred Payment Methods

These vary significantly depending on the country, and it’s important to find out what’s best for the markets in which you’re selling. For example, 60% of payments are by direct debit in the Netherlands, while Germans make 46% of payments by online bank transfer.

60% of payments are by direct debit in the Netherlands, while Germans make 46% of payments by online bank transfer.

In general, people prefer paying in a familiar currency, ideally their local currency. Some global payment providers will let you list products in a number of different currencies. If that’s a tool your provider offers, use it. If you’re not offering payment in local currency, make sure to give a currency conversion so customers can see what they’re paying.

Choose a Payment Provider with a Reputation for Security

Look for a payment provider with a strong global reputation. PayPal, for instance, consistently ranks among the top payment methods for international payments because of its security, purchase protection and ease of use across multiple devices.

PayPal gives businesses access to local funding methods without the hassle of opening multiple merchant accounts overseas. You can take payments from over 200 markets in 25 currencies. And it’s already built into the BigCommerce platform, so setup is easy.

3. Plan Your Market Entry

You have a couple of options for entering a new market — from starting small on an existing online marketplace to optimizing your current website or setting up a local web presence in particular countries.

Start Small on an Existing Online Marketplace

Established sites like eBay can often give you better reach for lower cost. They allow you to test demand for your products before committing a large sum to redeveloping your existing site. Also, consider other online marketplaces that may be popular in your target market.

Optimize Your Current Website

A slightly more advanced option is to optimize your existing website for international buyers. You can start by simply highlighting your ability to accept international orders with information on countries served and the shipping costs.

Once you have more experience, you can look into listing your products in local currencies for shoppers with non-U.S. IP addresses, and maybe eventually install a multi-language toggle for your website.

Create a Custom Website for Certain Markets

The most advanced option is to build a website designed to appeal to specific overseas customers.

This can include investing in a local domain name.

The products and strategies that work in the U.S. may not necessarily work in other countries, so a targeted website gives you full flexibility to try out different items and presentation. If you take this route, just remember to test and optimize the experience so you can make sure that elements like text translation, currency conversion and delivery cost calculation work correctly.

Your Future Customers are Waiting

Like traveling abroad, selling abroad is an adventure that has the potential to be transformative to your career and your business. It will expose your company to new countries, cultures and, most importantly, customers. So don’t be afraid to take your first step in selling across international borders.

]]> 2 How to Prevent, Dispute and Reconcile Chargebacks for Online Businesses Fri, 21 Oct 2016 08:05:50 +0000 The majority of sale transactions happen smoothly, working much like this: the sale is authorized by the customer’s card issuer,…]]>

prevent chargebacks

The majority of sale transactions happen smoothly, working much like this: the sale is authorized by the customer’s card issuer, you ship the merchandise to them and get paid.

Once in awhile, though, the customer may file a dispute, asking their credit card company to reverse the transaction.

Why does this occur and what can you do to either prevent the issue or turn a frustrated customer into a repeat buyer?

Below are the details behind what is most often a misunderstanding between a buyer and a brand, and how to turn a mistake into a learning opportunity.

Why Do Payment Disputes Occur?

A buyer may file a dispute for one of three reasons:

  1. Item not received: The buyer claims they ordered and paid for an item but didn’t receive it.
  2. Item significantly not as described: In this type of claim, the buyer says the item they received is significantly different than they expected, based on the seller’s description. For example, maybe the buyer ordered a red sweater, but received a blue one instead.
  3. Unauthorized transactions: A buyer claims that a purchase was made without his or her knowledge or consent. Or the buyer was charged twice for the same item.

When these things happen, buyers may take action by opening a dispute and asking their credit card issuer to reverse the charge.

This process is referred to by credit card companies as a chargeback. The credit card company will contact your merchant bank, who’ll ask you to clarify the dispute.

Tips to Prevent Disputes and Chargebacks

There are several things you can do to help avoid disputes and chargebacks from happening in the first place.

Below are the industry best practices to avoid and handle disputes.

  • Provide contact information: Buyers may not resort to a dispute or chargeback if they can talk to you directly about an issue. Provide an email address or phone number, or even call buyers in advance if you’re selling higher priced items.
  • Be responsive: No one likes to wait, so do your best to respond quickly and professionally to all reasonable buyer inquiries.
  • Suggest dispute resolution: If a customer tells you that they intend to file a chargeback with their credit card company, try to resolve the issue first. Some processors like PayPal offer a resolution center where buyers can open a dispute, giving you a forum to work with the buyer so the issue doesn’t escalate.
  • Provide a clear return policy: Make sure your return and refund policies are easy to find and understand. If customers claim they couldn’t locate the return policy, it can be to your disadvantage, not theirs.

Beyond these industry best practices, there are additional methods for offering customers a positive brand experience when something goes wrong with an order.

Try the easy steps below to provide excellent customer service in the face of disputes or chargebacks.

Preventing “Item Not Received” Chargeback Claims

Here’s how to avoid or minimize losses when your customer doesn’t receive an item.

  • Give buyers realistic delivery dates: Realistic dates can help prevent customers from prematurely filing disputes.
  • Ship with online tracking: Use a shipping service that provides online tracking to help confirm that an item was delivered. Standard shipping receipts only show that an item was shipped. If the total sale is over $200, require a signature to confirm that your customer received an order. The nominal expense is well worth it.
  • Order shipping insurance: Too many things can go wrong in transit. That’s why it’s important to purchase shipping insurance for items that are fragile or expensive. You’ll be covered if an item is lost or damaged, plus it includes tracking and delivery information so a customer can see that the order is en route. Insurance will also alert you when a package is delivered. In case of a shipping problem, just file an insurance claim with the shipping company.
  • Be aware of insurance exceptions: Liability for loss or damage may be limited depending on the type of package, the declared value and/or the shipping company. Talk to your shipper to ensure proper coverage.
  • Delay shipping high-risk orders: Delay the shipment of new orders that are expensive and in demand for 24 to 48 hours, especially when shipping internationally. Use caution when shipping overnight. Scammers will often ask for overnight shipping so they can resell expensive merchandise as quickly as possible.
  • Let customers know when something is out of stock: If an item is out of stock, remove the listing or update it to reflect the out-of-stock status. Provide an estimated in-stock date or clearly indicate that customers who choose an out-of-stock product are placing an advance order. Likewise, if you learn of an issue that might affect shipping times (such as bad weather), let customers know as quickly as possible. That way, they can find answers to questions without even initiating a dispute or calling you.

Prevent “Significantly Not As Described” Claims

Here are a few things you can do to help make sure that items meet buyers’ expectations.

  • Provide pictures and detailed descriptions: Take photos of products from various angles. Add accurate, detailed descriptions so customers know exactly what they’re buying.
  • Give adequate disclosures: If you’re selling used items, clearly disclose any functional defects or cosmetic damage.
  • Answer any questions promptly and clearly: If a buyer does contact you with an issue, being helpful and keeping a positive tone may prevent a small problem from growing into a larger one.

Prevent Unauthorized Transaction Claims

Buyers may open a dispute or request a chargeback when they believe that their credit or debit card was used without their permission. Sometimes this may be a simple mistake or misunderstanding, e.g. the buyer forgot they made the purchase or a family member authorized to use the account made the purchase.

On rare occasions, this may be an indication of fraud. If so, be sure to follow fraud detection best practices to help keep both your customer and your store’s data safe.

In most cases, the easiest way to settle a dispute is to work with your customer to figure out what happened. Begin the conversation with an open mind, listen to what they have to say and stay focused on a solution. It’s a chance for you to provide great customer service, prevent a possible escalation and turn them into a repeat customer.

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