The road from a prospect's selection of your product to handing over the money is littered with potholes. And most of those potholes are of our own creation.
Now, if you are selling a product that only needs to be repurchased every 3-5 years, you may be able to live with the inefficiency. However, in our renewal-heavy, Software as a Service (SaaS) world, this inefficiency will absolutely kill your business.
If there is one truth to give us context for creating purchase efficiency, it is:
Buyers want to purchase where and how they want to purchase.
Your job is to make it easy for your buyer to purchase in his/her preferred channel, with his/her preferred payment method.
How we put the purchase at risk:
- Preferred channel isn't enabled
- Preferred payment type isn't accepted
- Required payment paperwork is not created
- Licensing model does not support the buyer's needs
- Price competition across channels
- Last minute surprises
- Trust issues
- Product is out-of-stock in channel
The buyer has worked through their buying process without engaging a person. Company XYZ does not offer on-line purchase. The company forces the buyer to complete the purchase through a sales representative.
The buyer's purchasing department requires that all business purchases are to be made via a purchase order. Company XYZ doesn't accept purchase orders.
In order to obtain corporate reimbursement for a purchase made on a personal credit card, certain proof of payment must be submitted. Company XYZ has no way to create paperwork that meets the buyer's requirements.
Company XYZ only offers individual, non transferrable licenses for its product. The buyer needs a more flexible sharing or use-based option.
Significant price differences for the same product across channels can stall or redirect the buyer's purchase.
Return policies, end user licensing terms and restrictions, next steps, additional costs... any product detail which comes as a surprise to the buyer can deter the purchase. More importantly it can introduce trust issues that completely derail the purchase.
Company XYZ's on-line store isn't clear about communications, privacy, security, and credit card handling policies. What buyer will risk identity theft to purchase there?
The buyer has an urgent need to purchase your product. However, the product is out-of-stock in their preferred channel. Will the buyer wait, go elsewhere or change their selection?
Timing is Everything
Your goal should be to move the buyer from product selection to purchase as quickly as possible.
The greater the time lag between the decision and the payment, the greater the risk that the buyer will abandon the purchase with you.
Sharing Purchase Channels
Shared purchase channels create their own payment completion challenges. A dedicated purchase channel would be one that sells only your product(s). Dedicated channels don't introduce competition that could derail the buyer's payment. However, dedicated channels may not be the buyer's preferred channel.
Buyers often will enter a shared channel, firm in their product choice. Yet, a number of factors could change which product they ultimately purchase. Competitive promotions and discounts can alter a value-based decision. Unavailability and last minute surprises can trigger a new selection.
Design Your Payment Channels
You have invested significant assets to motivate your buyer to purchase your product. Make sure that you design the final payment step to simplify and expedite the buyer's payment.