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The Wrong Way To Offer Multiple Ecommerce Payment Options

11 Aug 2016

In last week's article we mentioned how it's not uncommon for between 5-10% of ecommerce store payments to be declined and how to get these sales back on track you can opt to prompt a customer to use a different payment gateway when you provide the 'card declined' message. An alternative to this is to offer alternative payment options during the checkout process.

Having multiple payment options is a great idea because:

  • Customers are able to choose the payment option they feel most comfortable with
  • A business can help lower transaction fees by accepting direct bank transfers which don't incur additonal fees, but on the flipside it's harder to guarantee a customer will actually pay
  • It offers an alternative payment option in case one of the other options is offline or the customer has triggered a fraud warning on their credit card
  • It opens up a new revenue stream; for instance accepting payment by gift vouchers means that a business can also make profit by selling them

The problem with this is many ecommerce stores think they are doing their customers a favour by pre-selecting the most common option (or the one which is most favourable to the ecommerce store owner in terms of transaction fees), but often leads to confusion for the customer who is unable to easily see that what they are being offered is a choice of payment options, and instead see a really long checkout that needs filling in which could cause them to abandon their purchase instead!


As you can see from the example above, it looks like the only accepted payment method is via credit card, so a customer who may prefer to pay via PayPal could potentially leave because the checkout process looks quite long, or worse still, they could fill out all of their credit card details, scroll down and then realise they can select PayPal, in which case they're likely to be irritated that they've wasted so much time filling out their credit card details! Remember, every time you cause frustration you are tempting your customer to abandon their purchase.

There are a couple of options that you can implement instead which help to address this issue, including using a tabbed approach which helps to make it more obvious that there are different payment methods which can be chosen. We prefer a much simpler approach:


There's nothing wrong with using radio buttons for chosing a suitable payment method - the trick is to leave all the radio buttons unselected so that the options available under each selection only show once a customer has picked the option which is the most suitable for them.

Do you have any questions about how your ecommerce store can be improved so that you increase your profit? If so, feel free to email us - we're always happy to help!


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