Payment Gateways For eCommerce 101: Why They Matter and What to Look For

Posted by Pixafy Team

Payment gateways are among the most overlooked elements of the ecommerce experience. Businesses put extensive resources into designing an attractive site that is easy to navigate. They painstakingly work to create common experiences across channels. They pore over site session reports to identify what happens between when a user adds an item to a cart and when that individual leaves before purchasing anything. All of this effort is built around a single principle – getting the user to checkout. While all of this analysis and work is necessary, it can come to naught with a poor payment gateway.

Establishing a payment gateway for ecommerce is a critical final step in creating a positive user experience, and a report from ARC explained that the gateway must reinforce trust, security and privacy while also offering a solid experience in terms of how quickly the transaction is processed. If a user is given any reason to think credit card data won’t be safe or that personal data may end up compromised, the transaction will probably fall through. Furthermore, complex, tedious payment processing tasks can leave users frustrated and push them to give up on making a purchase.

“The payment gateway needs to reflect the rest of your website.”

Getting payment processing in order

According to the ARC article, it is vital for organizations to create a simple experience at the point of payment. It is also vital to consider the payment as part of the customer journey. This means it should be properly branded and fit within the rest of the website. Redirecting clients to a third-party gateway often detracts from your brand and hurts customer trust. Instead, integrate gateways such as Paypal and Amazon into the site to keep users confident that you are in control of their data.

This need for branding and control also came up in an Entrepreneur magazine report on payment gateways. The news source explained that integration and compatibility are critical requirements when considering gateway options, and organizations need to consider how their invoicing software, financial data management systems and web platforms will interact with the gateway. Organizations must also consider encryption, performance, usability and reporting capabilities as they consider what gateways will work best for them.

Establishing an effective payment processing system

In many ways, the payment gateway needs to reflect the rest of your website. Load times and data integration between frontend and backend systems is critical in the customer experience, and this extends out to the payment gateway. Similarly, creating brand recognition, building user trust and focusing on the shopper’s need, not just corporate goals, also comes into play in the payment gateway. Essentially, everything that goes into the design and development of the site needs to also be considered in the payment processing decisions.

Organizations that want to establish effective payment gateway setups need to avoid treating payment processing as an afterthought. Instead, this final step in a purchase must be considered as a critical part of the customer experience. Neglecting the payment gateway can turn customers away at one of the worst moments possible, as the final purchase amounts to the point when consumers show they trust you enough to put their money into your products. If they back out at this final phase of the sale, it is effectively saying they like your products, but they don’t trust you to handle their payment well.

There are plenty of payment gateway systems on the market, and they offer a variety of options that work for different industry and business requirements. While choosing the right blend of gateways is important, finding success really begins with understanding where payment processing fits within customer journeys and planning accordingly.

Ask Pixafy for help to choose the right payment gateway for your ecommerce website. With the credit card processing experts at our sister company, Swype Integrated Technologies, we are in great positon to assist.