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Payments in eCommerce

  • A research of the Politecnico of Milan highlights the critical issues that hinder the payments on eCommerce websites

The Osservatorio eCommerce B2C Netcomm – School of Management of Politecnico of Milan presented the results of the Research 2012. There was a lot of participants at the event as well as the sponsors of it who discussed about the challenges and the development opportunities of eCommerce in Italy during the whole morning of Thursday, October 25.

The business sector shows a growth of 19% compared to the previous period and it generates an annual turnover of 9,62 billion of euro which is divided between the area of the products and the area of the services and they generate sales respectively of 3,5 billion of euro and 6 billion of euro. Among the leading business we find tourism (+4% compared to the annual average of the period which goes from 2008 and 2012), clothing and fashion (+3%), computer and electronics (+27%) and insurance (+14%).

Besides the presentation of the numbers and the data an ample time was given to the partner companies who commented on the results and faced on various topics such as mobile commerce, the use of social networks, the multichannel approaches used in Italy and online payment methods. On this last issue it was presented a study which was carried out by Politecnico of Milan which tried to describe user’s behavior during the checkout process, analyzing 40 Italian eCommerce websites.

The data were collected simulating the consumer’s purchasing process on an eCommerce website. The results describe, in a complete and concise way, all the steps required to complete the payment on a web page, the average number of the fields of a form and all the possible reasons that lead the user to leave the site before completing the payment. These results give also some ideas and best practices that every company which operate in the field of eCommerce should follow.

The steps required to complete the online payment process are on average 4, as confirmed by the majority of the companies (41%), even if the 29% of them have structured the path in 3 steps and the 15% in 5 steps. Ecommerce websites selling services have only 2 steps to complete the process of checkout and the best example of this situation is provided by all the portals selling tourist services because they have a long purchaising process which has to be balanced by a short payment process. International guidelines suggest to not exeeding three or four steps and 79% of the sample observes fully these instructions.

The fields that an user has to fill to complete the checkout process are on average 20. 28% of the companies asks the user to give his fiscal code and this happens frequently for products like computers and electronics. The request of a lot of information could might hinder the payment and be seen as an intrusion to user’s privacy. On the other hand, putting the form which ask the user to choose the ways of payment and shipping at the beginning of the purchasing process can help to speed up the checkout process which is, as we have already seen, the most critical. 26% of the sites under investigation adopted this strategy.

To improve user’s experience and generate sales and profits it’s better to follow some best practices. A login form should have a simple graphic but at the same time it has to be attractive. The text has to be clear and understandable in order to guide the user towards the payment. The form should be user friendly and the fields of compilation should not be too many in order to avoid confusion and tension in the user.

The company has to be as much as possible clear in order to establish a relationship of trust with the user who, according to statistics, is still too afraid to make purchases on the Web.

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