One day, somebody asks Napoleon Bonaparte, “What will it take to stage and win a war?” So, he gives his supposedly famous answer: “Money money money.”
It’s not known whether this question was really asked to him or not, but he didn’t give such a response; it’s an apocryphal, false quote.
Though money is important. Especially if you have an e-commerce company and are confused about how you’d receive payments from your customers.
You may ask what the ‘payment methods’ subject is doing in a marketing book.
- Receiving payments are more relevant to marketing than you think.
- I have been working in the payment systems since 2005, and wouldn’t it be a bit strange if I hadn’t mentioned it in my first book?
While my second remark may sound funny, the serious truth lies in my first point. The payment page and the tools have a very close connection to the experience you provide your customers with.
Let Them Abandon! We Still Have Other Customers!
Not caring about payment page abandonment is courageous ignorance.
According to a Baymard Institute[i]survey, 69.23% of people who come to the payment stage leave the page without paying.
What does this mean?
Only thirty out of a hundred people who visit you, add products to their carts and reach the payment stage complete their purchase. And if you take fraud and refunds into account, number of people who successfully buy something off your shop is quite low.
But what if you lower the cart abandonment rate down to 50%? You can increase your customers by 25% without needing to attract more visitors.
Why do people leave? Let’s take a look at the research:
- High prices. For instance, when they see the sum of the items they individually picked add up to something big, they’ll close the page.
- Unexpected costs. For example, paying $10 shipping for a $10 item. Or VAT not being disclosed on the item page and being added later.
- Finding the same item for a lower price somewhere else. For instance, for $10 with free shipping instead of $30 plus shipping on your site.
- Being unable to pay. Not finding a suitable payment option for themselves.
- Trust issues. Like worrying about hackers getting hold of their credit card information.
- Of course, there are situations such as feeling too lazy to pick up the mobile phone from the kitchen for a 2FA or 3D Secure code, pages loading very slowly or web errors such as 404 make people abandon their carts.
- But here we will examine especially the last four items.
Payment systems ecosystem, or simply “virtual POS”
Everyone who starts an e-commerce business asks themselves the following question at one point: “How do I get a Virtual POS?” Some rephrase it like “How can I get payments via credit cards?” and some others say, “Where can I get a virtual post [sic].” But these questions serve the same purpose: Being able to receive payments on the internet!
For online shopping in Turkey, credit cards are used predominantly. Approximately 80% of online purchases completed with credit cards. This means even if you target credit card users exclusively, you can reach a huge portion of the market. You can get online payments via credit cards by applying to a bank or a payment system company for a Virtual POS.
But then again, there are some matters you need to be aware of:
- If your target group is young people, credit card usage rate among young people is quite low.
- If you recently established your business, getting a Virtual POS from a bank is pretty hard.
- There are alternative payment methods in Turkish market such as debit cards, BKM Express, ComPay, mobile payments and pay-on-delivery.
- Installments in Turkey is an essential part of the shopping. Especially if you are selling electronics,
- Textile products etc. make sure that you can have payments in installments. But please note that the installments are one of the toughest aspects of the payment page design.
- If you intend to sell all over the world, consider integrating alternative local payment tools to your site for your target country.
- If you have various customers from various countries and backgrounds, the Virtual POS you use should support those countries’ payment schemes. For example, China with its population over a billion may water your mouth but it has its own payment systems as well as its own VISA and MasterCard equivalent CUP12 If your Virtual POS doesn’t support CUP procedures, you may have to wave goodbye to China.
- Prepacked e-commerce packages may not support every payment method. There’s a possibility that an e-commerce package you bought in one country, may not support integrating a Virtual POS from another one. For example, Shopify doesn’t support Virtual POS’ from Turkish banks.
- Some Virtual POS software, e-commerce packages or alternative payment methods operate over their own payment page designs. They won’t allow you to customize your own payment page.
- Preferring 3D Secure method against fraud, which has been increasing recently, sometimes can dramatically reduce your number of customers.
- In short, if you start looking for a Virtual POS after you complete designing your site, you may leave yourself in a lurch or launch your site later than you anticipated. So, you need to research whichever payment method you’ll choose to receive online payments, whichever e-commerce software you’ll use before completing your site.
Payment page design
Before starting to design this page, you need to understand what people expect from this page.
A payment page should have a clean design, lead the customers, include as many payment methods as possible, be transparent, intuitive, easily understandable and shouldn’t have any surprises.
However, websites which ask for the payment information in four to five pages (delivery address, billing address, payment information etc.…) tire me. I’m sure they tire you and your customers as well. That’s why, in the simplest possible design, what the customer is going to pay for, how much, where will it be shipped should be conveyed without causing hesitations.
You should also consider that someone who wants to shop on your site may be buying for the first time on the internet. Try to see your payment page from their eyes. If you don’t have any distinctive features to encourage someone who’s going to shop for the first time on the internet to buy from you, my condolences to you… There’s a million people of untapped potential there and you’re standing them up at the door. And believe me, they find other doors to knock on.
I mean designing a payment page is not really rocket science; even on the internet you can access dozens of good examples or examine the most common mistakes and avoid them. But I think people with strange design whims such as “Let’s make this logo a tiny bit bigger, shall we” or “Add some pink here” or ad agencies’ desire to reinvent the wheel complicate the problems. [ii]
Keeps tabs on technology
Payment systems are constantly evolving and launching new products. Trying to follow the scene all the time would be wearisome, but you may suggest new features to the banks or payment systems you work with when you have the chance or get in touch for a solution that you think would make your life easier and see if they have it.
Many payment systems allow businesses to store the credit card information of customers. You can provide a great deal of convenience to people by saving their card details for the next time even if they shopped from your store once. Especially in shopping on mobile platforms, most people give up because they can’t easily fill in their card information. You can increase your conversion rates dramatically by saving your customers’ card information.
Also, with the easily integrable ‘Buy it Now’ button, you can offer direct sales, bypassing the cart.
What are our mistakes?
The following examples are from the most popular sites in Turkey at the moment. Not to arise any trouble for myself or them, I won’t disclose any brand names. Assume that I completed all kinds of membership processes, I closed the pop-up windows’ and I’m using a desktop computer. Because if you don’t we’ll be at sea discussing this for hours.
- Distracting the customer
I have braved the slings and arrows and created my cart, I am going to press the ‘buy’ button, what on Earth is that? Above is a disparate red banner. I click it and another product page opens. Then I have second thoughts on the product I wanted to buy, and I don’t go back to my cart again.
You may want to sell one or two more things to the customers but there are lots of pages you can try this on. You customer clicking the ‘buy’ button is more beneficial to you rather than showing them an irrelevant drone. 
But since some sites use the shopping cart page for advertising, ‘unfortunately’ they believe it is a good idea to show ads there.
- Warning notifications not looking like warning notifications
Some businesses may have cart limitations or different conditions for online shopping; warning notification boxes covering a huge area doesn’t make them easily perceivable.
If your notifications are the same color as the colors used on your page, you can be sure that your customers won’t see them.
And one more thing: Rather than pushing negative sounding notifications like “We don’t accept orders below $60” try to push positive sounding notifications such as “Spend $20 more to enjoy the comforts of online shopping.”
- Inoperative payment pages
Here’s a clean as a whistle page greeting me after I clicked ‘pay now’ button.
- Being open to surprises
If you don’t have a credit card or you don’t want to provide your card information for some reason, you can’t shop on this site.
And the troubles don’t end:
- I probably could shop on this store with MasterCard or VISA. I feel so because you wouldn’t have any Virtual POS problems with either VISA or MasterCard in Turkey. However, if my card is American Express, which has a lower adoption rate by the Turkish businesses, I have to try and see if it works.
- To see the installment options, I either have to fill in my card information or click ‘view the options’ button. Don’t worry, I clicked and served the torturous sentence for both of us.
- As you can see from the installment table “Bonus, World, Maximum, CardFinans, Axess, Advantage and Paraf cards can do 3-6-9-12 month installments with interest applied. So, interest rates and installment options are same for all the cards. Shouldn’t it possible to incorporate this design in a simpler way then? People have more than one card, they would want to know what their options are as the crow flies.
- I don’t know what’s going to happen if I change my mind about the payment. There isn’t any ‘return back to cart’ link. Of course, I could go back via the browser button or via the site’s logo on the upper left but when I leave, do the products in my cart persist? It’s ambiguous.
- There’s an option to save my card details for my next purchase but I don’t think someone who doesn’t know what saving a card is can understand this.
- Will I go through 3D Secure or will I not? That’s another surprise in the brewing.
- And what will happen after I click the ‘pay now’ button? Will I finally pay, or will I be redirected to another approval page?
- Which courier company will deliver my item? Are there any special terms with them? These are not communicated either.
Probably some of the answers to these questions are hidden in the ‘frequently asked questions’ page but remember, your customers want to buy things, not go on a scavenger hunt.
Hence you should try to offer them a smooth, seamless shopping experience.
Virtual POS is the software which makes shopping, sales and payment possible on the internet with a card number, an expiry date and a security code.
China Union Pay
By the way, even though I haven’t done any research on drones and the item in my cart was irrelevant to drones, I don’t understand why a drone was advertised to me.