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Choosing The Right Payment Gateway

A customer’s experience with an eCommerce checkout can seriously colour their opinion of the people they are buying from. This is why having the right payment gateway in place is imperative to avoiding abandoned carts. The added retention in revenue is probably a lot more than you would think.

PayPal

PayPal

Even if you have never used PayPal for your business, you are extremely likely to have used it as a customer, making you amongst their staggering 200 million users worldwide. It might not be the cheapest and it might not even be the best for everyone, but it is vigourously reliable and is more widely accepted than any other payment gateway in the world. What that means for you and your business is consumer confidence, and that is something you cannot put a price on.

It is rare to find an online merchant that hasn’t adopted PayPal as at least one of their payment gateways, because to do so is to turn your back on a large chunk of your potential customer base. Many consumers these days will actively avoid a seller who does not accept PayPal, and will even choose to pay more for an item to get that functionality. Customer loyalty is becoming increasingly rare as consumers seek out the best possible deals in a sea of potential sellers. This means that first time buyers make up a huge percentage of any online businesses market. Customers either struggle or have little interest in keeping track of the merchants they use on ecommerce sites, so they will sometimes find it difficult to know which sellers they can trust. For a customer PayPal is a safety net between them and the seller, it inspires confidence and trust which cannot be underestimated.

That being said, PayPal are but a drop in the ocean of available payment gateways, all of which come with their own pro’s an con’s. Below are some of PayPal’s top contenders, all of which are integrated with Cloud Commerce Pro. Many of them make great additions to your business and current payment solution that will help you drive sales with an ever broadening marketplace.

Call – 0800 358 929

Website – https://www.paypal.com/gb/home

Stripe

Stripe

You could be forgiven for not having come across Stripe, a payment gateway that is more entrenched in the US market despite it’s Irish roots. The company has evolved in leaps and bounds since its inception in 2010 thanks to some serious financial backing from venture capitalists. Even their name is an evolution that derived from the confusion surrounding their unusual early name “/dev/payments”.

They are by no means a small firm, boasting over 100,000 business customers including many big names such as Facebook, Lush, Shopify, Kickstarter and Adidas, while ranking #4 on Forbes Cloud 100 list.

The big selling point of Stripe is that initial transactions incur a two day waiting period. During this time Stripe check to make sure the business can be trusted before transferring any funds over. This equates to a high level of consumer trust, much in the same way PayPal are considered. Adopting a well trusted payment gateway goes a long way to reinforcing the credibility of your business.

Stripe works with over 100 currencies and all major credit cards, making it a great addition if you sell internationally. It hasn’t been as heavily marketed in Europe compared with the US, which is a shame as that means the general public are not as exposed to it.

A common gripe with Stripe is that it does require some basic coding knowledge to integrate with your website, but as a Cloud Commerce Pro customer this is all taken care of for you.

Stripe’s pricing model is just like PayPal’s, charging a percentage per transaction, plus a small fee. For non-European transactions the two are pretty close on price, but for European transactions, which likely make up the bulk of any UK e-commerce retailer, the price is significantly lower. If Stripe continue to push their brand image within the UK, this pricing difference could be a real deal breaker for retailers looking for a more cost friendly solution.

Website – https://stripe.com/gb

Sage Pay

Sage Pay

If you’re an e-commerce seller, chances are you have at least heard of Sage, if you’re not a user already. Sage’s accounting software is easily the most widely used for small to medium sized businesses, and it is easy to imagine why when you consider the software has been around since 1984. By software standards, that is quite the pedigree and it has given the company far more time to grow and evolve than most.

In 2001 Sage created their own online payment service called Sage Pay, only a few years after PayPal’s inception. Such roots further cement Sage Pay as a product worthy of trust and respect. Speaking of roots, it is worth remembering that Sage is a UK company based Newcastle, and despite international success it has remained true to it’s UK heritage. Their customer service is highly regarded, which could be down to them having an intrinsic understanding of the business needs of UK customers.

Boasting the highest level of card data security currently possible (PCI DSS Level 1 compliant), cyber security and fraud protection are certainly a priority at Sage Pay. 3D secure authentication is included via Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode as well as various advanced fraud screening procedures such as real-time AVS/CV2 checks for things like addresses and card security codes.

Sage Pay’s pricing structure is a little easier to calculate than some of its competitors, as they charge a flat rate for a certain number of transactions per month or a bespoke tariff for larger businesses. Even if you go over your allotted monthly transactions, Sage Pay’s additional transaction fee is still considerably less than some, making this a great value for money payment gateway solution for any business.

Call – 0845 485 3116

Website – https://www.sagepay.co.uk

Worldpay

Worldpay

Worldpay are another payment gateway solution with a long heritage, even if they are less well known to the average customer. They first started providing internet payment service in 1994, a good 7 years earlier than industry giants PayPal. You may have once used the payment gateway provider Card Save which was popular with small businesses, but was acquired and rebranded to Worldpay back in 2010.

It would be fair to say that Worldpay have a turbulent history, having been bought and sold more than a few times and merged with other companies’ payment solutions. Originally named CentreFile, a wholly owned subsidiary of NatWest before 1985. They created an electronic payment system in 1989 called Streamline, which was absorbed by NatWest when CentreFile were sold. In 2002 NatWest was acquired by The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) who renamed it RBS Worldpay. Over the next few years it was merged with another 7 payment solutions.

RBS were forced to sell Worldpay by the European Commission as a condition of their bailout in 2009 and it was acquired by two American investment firms. After that Worldpay acquired payment service companies Cardsave and Century Payments.

It is difficult to image how all the takeovers and mergers have effected Worldpay as a product. Sometimes mergers can strengthen a product, bringing new features and expertise. However it is just as common for such mergers to cause problems as incompatible systems are messily combined in ways that usually work in the short-term, but sometimes have long-term ramifications.

With a very simple two plan pricing system that is comparable in price to SagePay, Worldpay can be an attractive option for high volume sellers as they offer a flat monthly rate with no transaction fees up to a certain fair usage threshold based on your turnover level.

As with any payment gateway, it is wise to research customer reviews to see how the service is being received at the time.

Call – 0808 253 2103

Website – http://www.worldpay.com/uk

Secure Trading

Secure Trading

One of the lesser known payment service companies on Cloud Commerce Pro’s roster is Secure Trading, another company with a long history, going back to 1997 when it was created in North Wales. Acquired by the UC Group in 1999 who grew the business into what it is today.

Despite their lack of publicity, Secure Trading are not to be taken lightly, sporting board members like former MP David Blunkett. They boast an up-time record of 99.97%, making them a good choice for companies that require a bulletproof payment solution 24 hours a day. They have become the gateway of choice in the online gambling industry, even going as far as working with US and European governments to help develop regulation and legislation in that area. They are also widely used in the retail sector with clients such as Sainsbury’s, Wetherspoon, Best Western and WH Smith.

As with all the gateways supported by Cloud Commerce Pro, security is paramount at Secure Trading. They are level 1 PCI DSS compliant, offering full encryption on all credit and debit transactions between you and your bank. Their use of multiple payment servers avoids waits for customers, which in turn breeds trust in your brand.

They cannot be compared on price with the other gateways, as they offer a bespoke service, but that is no bad thing. It means you get a personalised service and a solution that best fits the size and scope of your business.

Call – 0808 274 6110

Website – http://www.securetrading.com

Summary

You should do plenty of research before settling on your payment gateways. There are a plethora of great companies offering fantastic payment services, so it is not about picking the best of the bunch. Businesses are a many varied thing, and what is important is finding the right fit for you.

Transaction Cap Monthly Cost Transaction Fee Bespoke Option?
PayPal Unlimited £0 3.4% / 2.9% / 2.4% / 1.9% + 20p based on monthly sales
Stripe Unlimited £0 1.4% + 20p for European cards 2.9% + 20p for non-European cards
Sage Pay 350 / 500 £19.90 / £45 £0
Worldpay 350 / Unlimited £19.95 / £49.99 £0
Secure Trading Unknown Unknown Unknown

*prices based on information available on 21/03/2017 and are subject to change.

How to Turn a Negative Review into a Positive for Your Business?

A negative review doesn’t have to have a negative impact on your business. Find out how you can turn a negative review into a positive with this quick guide.

No business likes receiving a negative review. Those five golden stars are an online currency that we all work hard to maintain. However, no matter how great your business is or how hard you work to please the customer, sometimes, a negative review will blot your perfect landscape.

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Other times, the customer can simply be in a bad mood, and a small inconvenience that would have reduced feedback by one star can encourage the grumpy customer to leave a scathing review instead.

Sometimes, the feedback is genuine, there’s a fault with a product or the service that you can change. In this instance it’s important to view the negative review as feedback. This customer is giving you essential information that you can use to improve your business. This is gold dust. It’s a lucrative opportunity that shouldn’t be missed, and you can turn this negative experience into a positive by simply changing your attitude to the feedback.

Adapt Your Attitude

Once you understand how valuable negative feedback is to your business, you can appreciate the customer who left the negative review. Of course, the initial kneejerk reaction is disdain or annoyance towards the reviewer, but in many cases, the customer is actually helping you. If you change your attitude to one of gratitude, this will shine through in all correspondence with the customer, thus cementing the positives into an otherwise negative experience.

Pick it Apart

The next step is to pick apart the feedback. Does the customer have a point? Could you change something, if so what? If you extract the valuable information you can act on it for the good of your business.

Respond in Kind

Your negative reviewer expects an answer. The first nuance to consider is that your reviewer will be angry. They may not be open to reason. They want to blame and they want a solution, they don’t want to waste any more time, in short, they seek compensation, usually above the cost of the original product. Indeed, they should be rewarded for feeding you data you can use, they should be treated with respect and listened to.

Remember Who You’re Dealing With

This reviewer has taken time out to leave a review, albeit negative. This make that person a strong adversary if only you could change their opinion. The best marketing teams have found ways to turn negative reviewers into the best ambassadors for their brands and you can do the same. This is how.

How to Respond to a Negative Review?

In the first instance, you should respond via email if you have those details. Until you know you’ve calmed the situation, it’s a little foolish to respond on a public forum as outside influences can further enrage your customer, leading to a rather damning interaction across social media. Of course, you must acknowledge the customer if they have made contact through social media, but make it clear that you will communicate via email or over the phone.

  1. Listen (Pay Attention): A lot of negative reviews are diffused instantly as soon as the customer believes the brand is listening to their concerns. This can be all it takes to turn a negative review into a positive. Listen to the feedback and empathise. Let the customer know that you understand the inconvenience they’ve experienced and let them know that you too, are human, not just a faceless brand.
  2. Apologise: You should always apologise to your customer, even if you think their negative review is unfounded. You can apologise for taking up their time, you can apologise for the feelings the product invoked in them or you can apologise for not meeting their expectations. At this point, your customer should be calmer, more rational and ready to discuss the review reasonably.
  3. Appreciate: Don’t forget to say thank you to the customer for bringing the problem to your attention. Let them know they’re now an integral part of your business (thus building loyalty) as they are helping to shape your brand going forward.
  4. Award: Most complainers usually expect some type of reward, be it monetary compensation, vouchers or a refund. There are actually professional complainers online who will leave negative reviews in a bid to receive these rewards. It would be detrimental to your reputation to withhold compensation, regardless of the motivation. If the complaint is justified, the reviewer will probably be happy with a full refund, a discount voucher or free postage and packaging. There’s no need to bankrupt your business.
  5. Act: Once you’ve reached an agreement via private email with the customer, you can respond to the review online. Let the general public know the steps you’ve taken to help the customer come to an outcome that’s reasonable. Reassure the public that you’ve acted on the concerns of the customer in order to minimize a repeat of the same mistake. Finish with an invite to all users to ask questions if they still need clarification about your response or the situation that caused the negative review in the first place.


If a negative review is handled with care, it can actually boost a business. As customers we always check the negative reviews of a product first as we believe these to be more genuine. If your response shows that you’ve taken feedback on board and you’re keen for the problem to disappear, it will actually prompt a buyer to purchase the product, as they will feel confident that they won’t have the same experience as the reviewer.

How to Reduce Basket Abandonment?

Basket abandonment is a real problem in eCommerce, here’s how you can entice more customers to complete the checkout process.

Basket abandonment accounts for over 77% of all shopping online and many retail giants are scratching their heads as they try to implement strategies to combat this digital problem.

In the bricks and mortar stores, basket abandonment figures are much lower but they do exist. People don’t leave their purchases in the middle of aisles but they will put individual items back on the shelf. Offline, this can usually be solved by hiring a sales person on the floor and reducing queue times, online, the solution isn’t so simple.

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Why Do Online Shoppers Abandon Baskets and How Can You Combat This?

In order to tackle the basket abandonment problem, we must first identify why so many shoppers leave a website with a full basket. There are many reasons a shopper may decide against a purchase and when solving the problem for your own eCommerce store you should choose which problems you aim to solve for the consumer, of course you can tackle them all, although some may be out of your control.

Here are the main reasons a shopper will leave without checking out:

  1. Distraction

This can be out of your control. The shopper is happily wandering down your virtual aisles and has every intention of checking out until an outside influence poses a distraction. The distraction could be:

An offline distraction (the phone ringing, a knock at the door, a bid for attention from a child)

An online distraction (a new email notification, an instant message, a pop up from another brand)

The Solution

Although you can’t do much to stop them being distracted in this way you can go some way to solving the problem. If you’ve managed to collect their email address while they shopped, you can send them a reminder email to bring them back to the abandoned basket.

You can also invest in PPC and remarketing and hope the ads follow them as they follow the online distraction, reminding the shopper to return to their basket.

  1. Too Much Information

Another reason shoppers abandon is due to an overload of information. They believe there’s too much to process in order to make an informed decision about a purchase.

The Solution

You can solve this problem by ensuring your copy is clear and succinct. Cut the waffle and show rather than tell through innovative design and words that resonate.

  1. Unanswered Questions

In contradiction to the Too Much Information problem, there’s also the Too Little Information setback that can leave a shopper with unanswered questions. If they feel they’ve not received the answers to the questions they need, they will postpone the checkout until they’ve researched the answer themselves or until they’ve magically come across the answer while completing other tasks (which means they’ll never checkout).

The Solution

Make sure you do have all the information a buyer needs before checkout. This includes the price of delivery. Some brands still hide their delivery prices until the end which makes little sense as it usually frustrates the customer and makes them feel manipulated. If your product has a lot of specifications, consider tabbing your product descriptions so the boring information is readily available without interrupting your sales copy. You can also introduce a Live Chat to ensure questions are answered in an instant but if funding isn’t available, offer a telephone number or email and reassure the customer that you’ll respond to queries as quick as possible.

  1. The Clunky Checkout

A lot of new businesses become excited by the idea of the sharing of information at checkout. There’s a customer willing to share their data and willing to purchase and new brands see this as an opportunity to make the customer jump through many hoops until they complete the transaction. This can be a mistake. Of course, it would be fantastic if the customer bought more or signed up to the newsletter but there are other ways to do this. Every time you add another step to the checkout process you increase the chances of the basket becoming abandoned.

The Solution

Make the checkout process as seamless and quick as possible. Allow customers to checkout as a guest and remove any un-necessary pop ups or pages. No shopper enjoys the checkout process and will appreciate any company who makes it quicker and painless. If you want to sign a shopper up to a newsletter, ask when they verify an account, or use a pop up on a blog. If you’d like to upsell, use techniques when they’re still shopping not when they’re about to checkout.

  1. Misdirection

It is amazing how we use the internet. We’ve become so used to convenience that we’re actually very lazy. If you were to introduce a heat map to your site, you’d be surprised at the areas customers miss that are right in front of their face. To you it’s obvious, to a customer it’s shrouded in mystery. From a psychology perspective a customer reads a website like this:

  • Top Right Corner
  • Middle
  • Top Left
  • Right Side Bar
  • Right Bottom Corner

That’s it. If you have a link on the bottom left or even on the left, they’re likely to miss it. People will abandon their shopping if they can’t see the next steps immediately.

The Solution

Use beta testers to make sure the checkout process is a clear as possible. Install a heat map to see where your customers linger the most and make sure you have clear directions, along with clear buttons for how to navigate to the next page. This sounds so simple, but many new companies find that by making the process clearer, basket abandonment figures are reduced.

 

Basket abandonment will always be a problem as long as we shop in a faceless manner behind a screen. Eliminating 100% of basket abandonment is impossible but we can certainly reduce the numbers with a little psychology and some intuitive marketing.

How to Eliminate Buyer’s Guilt

Discover how to eliminate buyer’s guilt when selling a product online and why it’s so important that you tackle this consumer psychology problem head on.

We all know how important consumer psychology is to the success of a business. When a store can tap into a consumer’s mind-set, seemingly on a one to one basis, sales will be effortless. A lot of brands invest heavily in learning about the consumer’s psychology for engagement, sales and brand awareness but few consider the thoughts of the customer once a product is purchased. The right after sales care is essential for generating customer loyalty and repeat custom. A repeat customer will bring a lot more profit to a business than a new one, as the cost per acquisition is much less. If you can eliminate buyer’s guilt, not just at the point of purchase, following the sale, you can almost guarantee a customer for life.

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What is Buyer’s Guilt?

As a consumer you will have felt buyer’s guilt whether you’ve been aware of it or not. Very few people have escaped life without feeling this confusing emotion when purchasing a luxury product. Buyer’s guilt is the pang of selfishness you feel when you splash out on a new pair of shoes, (whether you deserve the treat or not), it’s the shopping hangover after you’ve become carried away in the moment and spent too much, it’s the regret of buying a product for twice the price because you didn’t have time to shop around and it’s the sinking feeling that once again, you’ve been a little too frivolous with your pay packet and will need to tighten your belt for the rest of the month.

It’s the emotion a customer feels when they purchase a luxury item that’s not entirely needed, a product that they could live without, a splurge, a treat, a luxury. This could be any product from a new dress to a luxury face cream, an organic salsa to a new kitchen gadget. If it’s purchased with disposable income then it has the potential to invoke buyer’s guilt.

Why You Should Eliminate Buyer’s Guilt

You may believe that buyer’s guilt isn’t important. It doesn’t have a substantial affect on sales or buyer engagement. In fact, if you understand the importance of consumer psychology and your customer’s emotional responses as they shop, you’ll also appreciate how buyer’s guilt can have an impact on the lifetime value of a customer.

A customer who experiences buyer’s guilt will purchase the product but they are unlikely to return unless they find they have money to burn? Why? Our brains pair actions with emotions, and retain certain titbits of information in order to process memories effectively. A person with buyer’s guilt doesn’t remember the exact reason they felt deflated, sad or simply bad when shopping on your website but they do remember the emotions and they are also aware that they don’t want to repeat that cycle. They soon associate your store with negative connotations, which leads them to seeking out a competitor in a bid to avoid depression. It’s natural self-preservation.

How to Eliminate Buyer’s Guilt

Now you know what buyer’s guilt is and why it’s so important, you need to know how to eliminate it. In an article for Forbes*, I gave some tips but I will go into a little more detail here.

Step 1: Make the Product Essential

A luxury product could invoke feelings of Buyer’s guilt but not if the product becomes useful. For example, a luxury skin cream is not an essential product until you describe it as a moisturiser that’s essential for maintaining the elasticity of your skin as you age, a cream that delivers the nutrients your skin needs to stay healthy.

Step 2:  Compliment but Don’t Patronise

Another tactic is to compliment the buyer, they’ve found a great deal, they have impeccable taste, and this should be celebrated. This can create feelings of accomplishment that will drown out any negative feelings of buyer’s guilt.

Step 3: Avoid Certain Words

Few people have the budget to splash out or splurge. As soon as these words are mentioned, they instinctively start a battle in their minds where they ask if they can really afford it; just as a dieter would when reaching for the second slice of cake. (In this instance avoid words such as indulgent if you’d like them to purchase another slice!) You can ensure they know the product is of the highest quality without using words such as splurge, splash out, or even, (it has been known) expensive.

Step 4: Highlight Benefits over Features

The features of a product are those that make the product work, the buttons, the slick packaging, the operating system. The benefits are how it will impact on a person’s life and to eliminate buyer’s guilt you do need to emphasis these. For example, the new iPhone 7 has plenty of features but it’s still an expensive purchase which could be seen as frivolous if the iPhone 6s works fine. Focus on the benefits: It will save you time, and eventually money. It will make life easier. It will remove frustration. It will allow for better communication. In short, your life will be better through this purchase.

Step 5: Add a Time Limit

If you make a product exclusive, and add a time limit, all of a sudden shoppers don’t feel too guilty about the purchase. This is because they’ve snapped up a once in a lifetime offer and they’ve embraced an opportunity.

Step 6: Show How the Product Saves Money

Every product can save a buyer money in the long run and by highlighting this (in a subtle way) you can remove buyer’s guilt.

For instance.: A diamond bracelet becomes, “Your go to accessory for every evening out as the diamond bracelet alters appearance depending on the outfit and pairs perfectly with any outfit removing the need for purchasing multiple accessories for each and every occasion.”

 

In summary throughout the entire shopping experience online you need your customers to enjoy a positive experience that leaves them feeling happy and satisfied. It’s this emotion that will bring a customer back again and again.

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