In e-commerce, merchants strive to achieve a 100% checkout conversion rate but find it elusive because shoppers encounter many obstacles during the payment process.

These obstacles play the role of a digital “defense,” stopping shoppers from completing the sale. To drive high conversion rates online merchants need to remove these obstacles. Just as a team’s shooting percentage impacts its chances of winning, the conversion rate impacts a merchant’s bottom line, positively or negatively. 

The obstacles merchants face in reaching high conversion rates fall into three broad categories: shopper distrust, inconvenience, and process problems. Shopper distrust occurs because today’s savvy shoppers are wary of fraud, and if they see any reason to distrust the merchant they may abandon the sale. Redirects to offsite payment forms, failure to display trusted logos, and poorly designed payment pages can cause such distrust.

Inconveniences frustrate shoppers and cause shopping cart abandonment. Forced registration, lack of proper payment options, and unresponsive web design are examples of inconveniences that send shoppers elsewhere to make their purchase.

Finally, process problems, such as inefficient payment setup and overzealous fraud protection, stem from well-intentioned systems that are set up poorly. The result is fewer sales due to low conversion rates.   

As the adage frequently used by basketball coaches says, “the best defense is a good offense.” Payment providers can help their merchants go on the offensive by enabling a range of tools to improve conversion rates. Tools include embeddable and secure payment forms, currency and language localization, relevant payment methods, robust yet flexible fraud prevention, and insightful analytics, to name just a few.

Markus Rinderer is senior vice president and product line manager for ACI Worldwide.