As Black Friday looms, e-commerce businesses of all sizes are deep in preparation mode to ensure they’re able to meet consumer demand and deliver an optimal customer experience. Apart from a clean logistics and fulfilment process, an integral part of this experience lies in how customers check out and make payments.
Joshua Shimkin, Head of SME Growth and Marketing for Stitch partner Peach Payments, told us, “A reliable and seamless payment gateway experience is absolutely paramount to consumers – and therefore to merchants. We know that consumers abandon their carts if payments don’t go through – particularly if they are in a rush, like many are on Black Friday.”
With rising inflation, an increasingly discerning consumer base and decreased disposable income mean competition in winning the share of cart has risen significantly. To ensure your business is ready to take on the year’s biggest global shopping event, we’ve outlined some key considerations and optimisations you can implement to delight your customers.
Trends: Black Friday 2022
South African retailers are expected to generate around R17.3bn in additional sales over the Black Friday promotional period, representing around 6.7% growth from 2021.
Keeping with the trend seen in recent years, many retailers – like Woolworths, Shoprite and Game – are opting for a season-long deals approach kicking off in November all the way through to December.
E-commerce players should look at tailoring their specials offering, keeping consumers top of mind during curation. To maximise the marathon-style spree, offering discounts on necessities will likely bode retailers well – especially with the ongoing load-shedding crisis.
Research Director at BMR, Professor Carel van Aardt, notes: “In an environment of poor consumer confidence and weak discretionary income, we can also expect to see consumers trade down from expensive brands and products to white label brands and more affordable substitutes.”
Ensuring a robust payments system
Knowing what your customers are after is one thing. Ensuring they’re able to quickly, safely and seamlessly pay for those items is another. Higher-than-average payment volumes add extra strain to most payment systems, exemplifying the importance of leveraging reliable payments partners. Shimkin explains:
“For everyone involved, the sheer volume of transactions is a challenge. For retailers, logistics is usually the biggest issue, while for payment gateways it’s making sure systems can manage the increased volume of transactions going through the gateway.”
He adds, “Our systems are intentionally designed to handle these volumes, and we keep a very close eye on the load on our systems on Black Friday itself too.”
It’s important to consult with your payment provider ahead of the peak season and assess metrics like authorisation and fraud rates to spot any niggling issues and avoid having them hamstring the payment experience for your customers.
Reducing friction at checkout
While consumers will be excited about the products they’re buying, they’ll be less excited about making a payment for them. It’s important to critically assess your payments journey and remove any friction points that pose barriers to your customers. Shimkin explains:
“They [consumers] are after a “simple process, with as few clicks as possible – without any unnecessary actions required of them.”
With Stitch LinkPay, customers are able to link their preferred financial account and make secure, fast payments via Instant EFT. Each time they return, they’re able to pay in only one click in a matter of seconds.
Here are a few tips to remove barriers to checkout and increase conversion:
- Unnecessary screens or redirects pose barriers between checkout initiation and payment, ultimately creating room for dropoff. Reduce the number of screens and steps in the payment process to ensure your customers are able to complete their purchases as easily as possible.
- A lack of preferred payment methods is also a key factor behind cart abandonment. Customers that don’t see their payment method of choice will often choose – or need – to shop elsewhere. According to a report from Deloitte on Digital Commerce Acceleration, the payment method of choice in South Africa is bank transfer at 33.2%, followed by payment cards.
- It’s vital for consumers to feel their transactions are safe and secure. The majority of consumers rated a “fear of fraud” as one of the top reasons an online shopping experience can be unpleasant. Shimkin echoes this, sharing that consumers “expect security to be so completely baked into the experience that it doesn’t affect their payments process, but just happens in the background, very reliably.”
Stitch LinkPay comes with built-in security against fraud. The ability to retrieve a customer’s name and account data when paying to verify their identity drastically reduces the risk of fraud and failed payments on the merchant side. For consumers, the stringent personal and financial data security practices involved in tokenising an account mean they don’t have to worry about the safety of their information or the potential for their card details to be stolen.
It’s all about the consumer
Understanding your customers is key to your ability to offer them what they want. Dive deep into your customer personas and use all available data to tailor your offering and deliver a delightful end-to-end experience.
Build loyalty by adding post-purchase value. Ensure your refund and returns process is seamless, your delivery is reliable and affordable (or even free), and continue to nurture strong relationships with your customers in the form of relevant communications and discounts further down the line.
- Maximise sales over the peak season by tailoring specials for a longer period of time
- Assess the reliability and latency of your payment system to ensure it can handle higher-than-average transaction volumes
- Further optimise your payments system by assessing key metrics like authorisation and fraud rates
- Assess your payments journey and remove any unnecessary points of friction
- Reduce the number of screens and steps leading up to checkout
- Implement a one-click payment solution
- Offer the most popular payment methods
- Ensure the safety and security of your online payments
Want to increase conversions and give your customers a better, more intuitive and safer way to pay? Get in touch with our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or access test credentials via our self-serve platform.
👀 Find out more about our partnership with Peach Payments.