When you think about improving the customer experience, whether in store or online, the usual factors probably come to mind: personalization, customer service, and product quality.
Payments likely don’t factor in.
But with customers expecting greater choice, speed, and convenience from the checkout process, payments should be front and centre in your mind because they do tie into the customer experience.
Customers not only expect product quality but also variety. They want choices. They want to be able to find the exact right product for them, which depends on their unique needs, wants, and preferences. They don’t want to settle for a product that isn’t exactly what they were looking for, whether that be a different style, size, or colour.
The same is true when it comes to payments.
There is no one size fits all. If your customer wants to pay with credit, they’re not going to be happy to hear that you only take cash. If they want to pay with WeChat Pay or Apple Pay, they’re not going to be happy to hear that your terminal doesn’t have near-field communication (NFC) technology to be able to accept these types of mobile payment options.
People are pretty loyal to their preferred payment methods.
So, what kind of payment choices should you offer? The more the merrier.
- WeChat Pay
- Google Pay
- Apple Pay
- Samsung Pay
- Interac e-Transfer
- Instant customer financing
No one has to tell you that customers will hate your checkout process if they have to stand in line for what feels like forever. Some might even put away the items they were going to buy and walk right out your store instead of waiting (I've done it before). Of course, this doesn’t offer a stellar customer experience.
Your customers won’t be happy if:
- They have to wait in long lines because you have too few cashiers on staff to manage the crowd
- Your terminals are down again (or just way too slow)
- You only accept cash, which takes forever to count
- You make customers fill in a million form fields to buy online
Your customers are busy people. Let them buy quickly by ensuring the checkout process is as smooth and frictionless as possible.
Payment convenience can go a long way to improving the customer experience and boosting customer loyalty.
Just think about how convenient it is to pay for items on Amazon – all it takes is one click.
When you take an Uber, you don’t even have to think about paying – the process happens automatically in the background. Your card is charged without you having to do anything or even having to think about making the payment.
People love this type of convenience.
More and more, these types of invisible payments and one-click payments will start to become the norm because they offer such a great customer experience. In fact, we might argue that they offer close to what we might call the “perfect” payment experience because the customer basically doesn’t have to do anything. They get to browse and buy, without the tedious task of paying. That’s pretty desirable.
People WILL remember your checkout process
You may not ever really consider your checkout process. You might think it’s a necessary means to an end for you and your customers. You might not think your customers care about this part of the buyer’s journey. But that’s a mistake.
People will remember the payment experience. The question becomes: Will they remember your store for a great checkout experience or a bad one? The answer could be the difference between a loyal customer and one that seeks out your competitor the next time they have a buying need. Keep that in mind...