The Inside Take on Streamlining Checkout for a Frictionless Experience
The challenge for online merchants everywhere is giving consumers many ways to pay without making the checkout page look like a NASCAR race car – and why Checkout.com’s Akin Kayim says optimizing checkouts is a big 2023 merchant priority.
Insiders explain how retailers and FinTechs are looking to smooth the checkout experience both online and in-store.
With 7 in 10 shopping carts abandoned due to issues in the online checkout process and long wait times clogging the in-store point of sale, there is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to retailers’ checkout experiences.
The checkout is a big point of friction, according to Karma co-founder and CEO Jonathan Friedman, whose company’s smart shopping assistant is modernizing online shopping in powerful ways by saving users money while simplifying checkout with one tap.
As a flood of new payment options create potential for additional friction, Karma is expanding beyond helping shoppers buy what they are looking for at the lowest price by scanning the web for coupons and issuing price-drop notifications. Last October, the company introduced Pay With Karma, which includes multiple flexible payment options such as cards or interest-free installment plans. Once shoppers update their payment details on Karma, they do not need to share their information with multiple merchants.
“We’re kind of like a concierge or a service that saves you time by automatically doing the checkout for you,” said Friedman. “That’s what our proprietary technology knows how to do fully automatically. We save you time; we also provide you with the best price. And we also provide you with a much more frictionless experience.”
As retailers set their sights on streamlining the checkout experience, they must do more than merely choose new digital features and roll them out. Because consumers are motivated by convenience, it was easy to see why grocery chain Wegmans introduced its SCAN app, a self-service checkout feature with scan-and-go technology.
While users told Wegmans they loved the app and the convenience it offered, the retailer suspended the app last fall to take time to improve the process and reduce theft. In a statement, Wegmans said, “Unfortunately, the losses we are experiencing prevent us from continuing to make it available in its current state.”
Design and implementation are key when streamlining the checkout experience. Without a plan that takes into account overcrowding the checkout with payment options and pinpointing the features that appeal most to different customer segments, retailers risk losing more sales to abandoned carts.
“It can vary from the placement of form fields to colors on the [call-to-action] buttons,” said Akin Kayim, product manager for Checkout.com, a FinTech offering best-in-class payment processing and options. “Having a well-considered design makes this process frictionless and promotes stickiness to encourage the shopper to not only complete but also come back to the website and have that loyalty.”
Especially in sectors that are less digitally inclined, a well-designed checkout can be a major differentiator enabling faster gains in market share. Only 14% of consumers purchase their eyewear online, and Zenni Optical has taken steps to accelerate the digital shift by building trust.
The company has focused on pricing, transparency and assuring consumers that variables such as material, weight, fit and aesthetics can be appropriately addressed digitally. Last fall, Zenni rolled out its mobile app as it achieved a major milestone, surpassing 50 million pairs of glasses sold.
“I think Amazon did it right. It’s a customer obsession. If you look at why eCommerce is successful, it’s just the convenience factor,” said David Ting, chief technology officer for Zenni. “Improving the customer experience by removing barriers to intangibles like trust while creating seamlessness at every step is key.”