title:Accepting Payment Online ? 7 Steps to Improve your Customer?s Buying Experience author:John Tedeschi source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/business_and_finance/article_4445.shtml date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:07 category:business_and_finance article:

Of course, the number one way you can improve your client’s online purchasing experience is to accept credit cards on your site, because most of your clients will prefer to use their debit or credit card, rather than send checks through the mail. Credit and debit card purchases are immediate and secure; paper checks are the least secure method of making a purchase from an online seller.
Accepting payments online will also make it far less likely that customers will forget about your site or its address, decide to buy from a competitor who accepts online payments, or put off making a buying decision.
Once you’re accepting credit cards online, there are several other ways that you can improve the buying experience, particularly for those who are new to the Internet and may be apprehensive about completing a transaction online.
#1 – Explain what will happen during checkout and keep the customer informed during the buying process.
Giving a brief description of the process, reassures the customer that they’re on the right track to a successful purchase and let them know when the transaction is complete. For many people, buying online is something they do with great hesitancy; anything you can do to lessen their concerns will be appreciated by your customers.
#2 – Let your customers know that their information is protected and their transaction is taking place on a secure server.
Ensure that your payment page can be clearly identified as a secure site. The components of a secure site include a web address that starts with https; that indicates that the payment page is located on a secure server, and the display of a padlock symbol or logo that can be ?clicked on? to confirm that there is a valid secure certificate associated with the secure server.
It can also help if your secure page starts with the word “secure” as the first part of the web address.
#3 – Send automated Thank You Notes and Personal Receipts to your customers
The transaction isn’t necessarily over when your customer has paid their money and collected their goods. One of the ways you can follow up with your client is to send them an automated note thanking them for their business, as well as a means to contact you after the sale. This also allows you to mention other services and products that you sell, that your customer may be interested in at a later date. Many merchants don’t do this – going the extra mile sets you apart from the crowd.
Subsequent to the thank you note, give your clients another indication that you’ve received their order, by sending a personalized receipt once the order is complete. That way, they have an immediate record of what they’ve bought and can print it for their records.
#4 – Brand your Payment Pages
Having a branded payment page not only makes you look more professional, it will increase your ?conversion rate? and reduce your ?abandonment rate?. Customers will be more trusting and therefore more likely to complete a purchase online if your payment page has the look and feel of your web site. This is especially true of individuals buying online for the first time and those who are buying from you for the first time. Trust, comfort and confidence play a major role in the buying decision of all online customers.
A branded payment page will also allow you to determine what information your customer must provide to complete a purchase rather than having to provide account numbers and other extraneous information that generic payment services require. The simpler and more intuitive your checkout process is, the less likely it is that a potential customer will ?abandon? a purchase mid sale because they were confused or didn?t understand what was required to complete a purchase.
#5 – Place your Logo on your Payment Pages
A generic payment page can imply a generic company. You want your company to stand out in your customer’s mind so that they will remember you and buy from you again. There are millions of generic payment pages online; no-one remembers them. Take every opportunity to brand yourself and your business. Generic is grey in a colored world; branded done right, gets noticed and remembered.
#6 ? Put your business name on your customer?s credit card receipt
An important part of accepting online payments is ensuring that your customers can tell to whom they made a payment when they receive their credit card or bank statement. Ensure that your payment services provider can put your business name on your client?s credit card or bank statement. This will save you from dealing with chargebacks and provide you with another way to reinforce your brand and keep it in the mind?s of your customers.
#7 – Make Checkout Simple
The easier it is to take an order from you, the less likely it is that the customer will abandon the sale at the ordering page. Simple is best; simple and branded is better.
Keeping those guidelines in mind will enhance the purchasing experience at your site. All that remains is finding your next customer.
Copyright 2006 John Tedeschi
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