Picture the scene. It’s Friday night, you’ve made a big bowl of popcorn, and you’ve sat yourself down in front of the TV to watch a movie. You open Netflix, with thousands upon thousands of titles to choose from. Yet what happens?
You can’t decide. There’s too much choice; too many distractions, too little certainty. And, more often than not, you spend valuable time you could’ve spent enjoying the movie simply scrolling aimlessly, unproductively through a catalog of content you have no interest in.
A similar phenomenon takes place when your customer, reaching the checkout stage of a purchase on your online store, comes to pay. In your desire to give them as many payment methods to pick from, you may have inadvertently ended up overwhelming them with choice. And despite your good intentions, this could lead to that customer abandoning their purchase through confusion or using a payment method that is suboptimal for you as the merchant.
So how many payment methods should you offer?
Below, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of offering multiple payment options. We’ll show you how to pick the right payment methods for your audience. Bust the myth that more payment methods are always better. And help you get to grips with how to select the right payment methods for your customer base.
Multiple payment options simply refers to the practice of offering your customers several different ways to pay for a purchase on your online store.
For instance, instead of only allowing them to pay with a credit or debit card, you might accept digital wallets (such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay), cryptocurrency, or offer a Buy Now, Pay Later service like Afterpay or Klarna.
For more information about these alternative payment methods – including what they are, and how your business can take advantage of them – explore our dedicated guide to the topic.
Learn more: A guide to payment methods
Before we get into how many payment methods are too many, let’s take a look at the wealth of benefits providing more payment choices can offer your business.
Customers love being able to pay the way they want – and via the method they’re most familiar and comfortable with.
Through this lens, offering multiple payment methods can reduce friction at the checkout, and increase the likelihood that the customer will be able to pay through their preferred payment method – boosting not only their experience, but their faith in your brand at large.
This, as we’ll see, can lead to more engaged, loyal customers who are more willing to recommend your business to their friends and family.
Enabling your customers to pay via the method they’re most at ease with makes it more likely that they’ll convert when at the checkout.
In fact, offering multiple payment methods – and choosing ones targeted to the the right audience – has been shown to increase conversion rates (and in some cases, as data has shown, by as much as 30%). On the flipside, our own research has demonstrated that 60% of ecommerce shoppers will abandon their carts if they don’t see their preferred payment method there – so it’s not something any online business can afford to ignore. On that note…
Multiple payment methods can prevent cart abandonment – decreasing the chance of your customer jumping ship before following through with a purchase.
Lower cart abandonment rates work wonders for your conversion rates (and your business’s overall sales and revenue). They also mean you have to spend less on email marketing campaigns to retarget and remarket to these customers.
Want more tips on combating your cart abandonment rates? Dive into our dedicated article for a more detailed take.
Customer experience, as we saw earlier, is linked to customer loyalty. Simply stated, if a customer benefits from a satisfying, seamless payment process with your site, they’ll remember it – and, faced with competing businesses, will be more likely to buy from you again.
Happy customers are loyal customers – and loyal customers refer you to their friends.
In this sense, providing multiple payment methods can be the start of a chain reaction that leads not only to repeat business, but to an altogether new stream of fresh customers.
Want to grow your business’s audience? Our guide can help you reach new customers – in just five simple steps.
Particularly if you do business in a range of international markets, providing a wealth of different payment methods is vital.
That’s because different regions and countries around the world have their own preferred payment methods. Alipay and WeChat Pay are the dominant payment methods in China, for instance, while debit cards are still the most popular way to pay in the US.
When you accommodate for these geographic distinctions and preferences, you can expand your reach globally, tap into new markets – and use them to grow your business, brand, and bottom line.
As we’ve seen from the above benefits, offering your customers multiple ways to pay is vital. But this correlation between more payment methods and happier customers isn’t exponential – it’s a bell curve.
That means you can have too much of a good thing – and that the logic ‘the more payment methods, the better’ is a flawed one.
Let’s take a look at why.
The presence of too many payment methods can create an environment of chaos and confusion at the checkout.
As in the Netflix example above, too large a selection can lead to the customer becoming overwhelmed, distracted, and – ultimately – disengaged. When this happens, the customer ends up clicking away from your online store. And often, they don’t come back.
As a merchant, managing multiple payment methods can be complex – and costly. Typically, offering several different ways to pay requires integrating with various payment processors, gateways, and systems.
Juggling these providers (which often all have their own technology, as well as their fair share of setup, maintenance, and transaction fees) is stressful – and can lead to an inflated expense sheet.
Some payment gateways and methods come with high levels of inherent customer trust. PayPal, for instance, is a name essentially synonymous with payments – while Apple Pay and Google Pay have, by virtue of the names they share with two of the world’s biggest brands, plenty of credit in the proverbial bank.
By contrast, though, many customers still have reservations about some emerging payment methods – cryptocurrency, for instance – and seeing these at the checkout may lead them to question the legitimacy of your business by association.
Plus, too many payment methods could give your checkout page a spammy or overly cluttered experience – another factor which could weaken a customer’s trust in your website and brand.
Learn more: How to accept payments online
As we’ve seen, the right mix of payment methods is akin to Goldilocks’s preference for porridge: not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
But it isn’t only the quantity of the payment methods you offer that’s important, but the quality – which means it’s vital to choose the ways to pay that best suit your business and audience.
Before you can switch on the right payment methods, you’ll first need to understand what’s out there.
Here at Checkout.com, we can help you do just that. Our payment directory provides a comprehensive list of all the different payment methods you can accept with us – you can even filter by region, payment type, and consumer country to zero in on the ways to pay most pertinent to your business and customer base’s unique preferences.
Developing a deeper understanding of your existing customer base and target audience can give you important insights into how they like to pay.
So collect data on your customers’ age, location, income level, and shopping habits. Some payment methods are linked to a generational profile (Gen Z’s love of Buy Now, Pay Later services, for example; or millennials’ preference for digital wallets), while others, as we’ve seen, are subject to regional or geographic factors.
Your payments strategy shouldn’t be a static, ‘set and forget’ approach – but a living, breathing process you optimize, refine, and tweak on an ongoing basis.
So be sure to keep an eye on the performance of each payment method as you go. Which are most popular? Which are leading to the highest conversion rates? To do this, you can analyze transaction data, and even solicit feedback directly from your customers to find out what is – and isn’t – working for them.
You should also stay on top of wider industry trends, technological advancements, and changing customer preferences to ensure your payments strategy is evolving with the times.
The checkout process requires the exchange of sensitive data – so security is a must.
That means you, as a merchant, need to demonstrate your commitment to safeguarding your customers’ data – so it’s vital to choose payment methods that offer the highest levels of security and brand trust.
A successful checkout process is one that offers customers the right payment methods, at the right time, to the right customers.
Of course, what this looks like depends on your business’s unique needs and circumstances – and there’s no catch all solution that works for everyone. A tailored, targeted approach is a must – so get in touch with the team here at Checkout.com, and let us work with you to find it.
We’ll help you identify and switch on the payment methods best suited to your brand and customer base: reducing cart abandonment, boosting conversion rates, and shoring up your business’s long-term health with a more loyal, engaged, and satisfied customer base.
Contact us today to start the conversation.