Six best practices for increasing conversion and revenue for startups


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  1. Introduction
  2. 1. Validate credit cards in real time
  3. 2. Support global payment methods
  4. 3. Require less information up front
  5. 4. Enable autocomplete
  6. 5. Localize payment detail fields
  7. 6. Optimize your checkout flow for mobile

How can startups improve conversion rates, increase payment conversions, and boost revenue quickly as they scale? The answer lies in one key component of online payments: increasing checkout completion. There are six high-impact actions you can take to minimize friction at checkout and increase successfully completed transactions.

1. Validate credit cards in real time

Card declines can be frustrating for customers and contribute to poor user experience, which is why it’s important to validate card details in real time. If your customers provide incorrect details—card verification code (CVC), postal code, or billing street address—they should know immediately, rather than after clicking the pay button. These details may seem small, but they can quickly add up—especially for ecommerce businesses with high transaction volumes.

Everyone says they have the best conversion rates, but it’s something else when you can actually prove it. Within a week of starting our A/B test we saw that Stripe Checkout consistently had conversion rates that were 8% higher—so we switched!”

Anthony Doctolero, Founder and CEO, GroupGreeting

How to accelerate your impact: Fewer than 40% of online checkouts conduct card validation in real time, and only 3 in 10 websites block the entry of expired cards. Stripe Checkout automatically validates cards, providing real-time feedback as your customer types to ensure errors that might otherwise block a successful transaction are caught early. Learn more about real-time validation.

2. Support global payment methods

Increasing startup revenue begins with understanding that customers may come from anywhere in the world—and they may have specific preferences for their payment method. To capitalize on a borderless customer base, it’s critical to offer the payment methods that are most commonly used in the countries in which you operate. There are five common types of payment methods: credit cards; digital wallets (such as Alipay, WeChat Pay, or Apple Pay); bank debits and transfers; cash; and buy now, pay later. While credit cards are popular in some parts of the world, these payment methods dominate elsewhere. For example, consumers in the Netherlands make 59% of their online purchases with the local bank transfer payment method iDEAL.

Because Stripe is already global, we essentially just flip a switch when expanding to a new country. We don’t have to make any changes to our payment processing, so we can build our community and markets at the same time.”

Pepita Marín Rey-Stolle, Cofounder and CEO, We Are Knitters

How to accelerate your impact: Stripe Checkout supports more than 135 currencies and dozens of payment methods, so your customers around the world can see the checkout form that’s right for them. You can decide which local payment methods to surface, or rely on Stripe to dynamically display the right payment methods based on IP, browser locale, cookies, and other signals. Learn more about local payment methods.

3. Require less information up front

Ecommerce businesses can promote buyer trust and security during the account creation process prior to checkout. For example, allow customers to check out as a guest, reducing the amount of personal information you collect. This is a great way for a startup to increase conversion rate. If you do require customers to log in to complete a purchase, support popular OAuth login options, such as Facebook or Google, which can sync relevant customer information without requiring re-entry of login details. This reduces the amount of information your website needs to store directly and expedites the checkout process.

Using Stripe Checkout just made it a lot simpler to think about payments—it’s like an entire component that we can mentally hand off to Stripe.”

Victoria Kirst, VP of Engineering, Glitch

How to accelerate your impact: The Stripe Checkout form comes with built-in fraud prevention and compliance, using machine learning to help you distinguish fraudulent actors from customers. You can apply extra authentication to high-risk payments. Learn more about Stripe Radar.

4. Enable autocomplete

The highest-performing checkouts are made up of dozens of small optimizations executed seamlessly. Autofill allows customers to breeze through checkouts with their payment details already secured and saved in the browser. They can also save their payment information for future use so they can check out with just one click. According to research from Baymard, one in five businesses does not have autofill set up correctly, and one in five shoppers abandons their cart because of a “too long, too complicated checkout process.” Autofill is a key way to simplify the checkout process and increase revenue and conversion rate for startups.

Speed of ordering is paramount. Offering mobile wallets in the payment experience has played a big role in product adoption and success.”

Luke Beavon, Finance Director, Goodtill

How to accelerate your impact: The more streamlined you make the checkout flow, the fewer opportunities you give your potential customers to get frustrated and leave. With Stripe, autofill works consistently across platforms and browsers, so that your customers can check out faster. Use the same billing and shipping address by default unless customers want to manually add a different shipping address. And optimize address collection by supporting both native autofill (which uses information saved in a customer’s browser) as well as address autocomplete (which enables typeahead completion). Learn more about autofill.

5. Localize payment detail fields

Make sure you’re using terms that your users are familiar with and expect in each market where you sell. Big things like dynamically showing local currency and translating the checkout language will improve conversion rate, but little things like marking the field as “zip code” in the US and “postcode” in the UK matter, too. Getting the details right gives your customers the reassurance that you’re a trusted local brand.

Before Stripe Checkout, it felt like we were expending wasteful energy reinventing the wheel. Not only is our conversion rate now higher than it was during our peak sign-up periods, but it also allowed us to significantly simplify our codebase!”

Heather Phillips, Customer Success Lead, Tiller Money

How to accelerate your impact: Stripe Checkout dynamically supports 135+ currencies and 30+ languages so customers can use a checkout form that’s personalized and relevant. Learn more about Stripe Checkout.

6. Optimize your checkout flow for mobile

According to research conducted by Stripe and Edgar, Dunn & Company, of the top 1,000 commerce sites globally, more than 90% had five or more errors in their checkout flows—for example, not supporting autofill or not providing a numerical keypad to enter credit card numbers on a mobile device. Prioritize user experience by making simple interaction enhancements. Display a numerical keypad at the right time, instead of forcing customers to use the default alphanumeric keyboard. Ensure your form automatically resizes to smaller screens. And add spacing to card numbers, displaying them in blocks of four to six digits for easier data entry. Many businesses miss the little details that improve the payment experience for customers, which can lead to both typos and frustrated users. Getting details like this right can have a huge impact on increasing your startup’s conversion rates.

We utilized Stripe Checkout for a contactless digital payments experience at 900+ hospitals across the US and Canada, saving us months of engineering time.”

Kattie Lam, Product Manager, VCA Animal Hospitals

How to accelerate your impact: According to Stripe data, almost three-quarters of mobile shopping carts are abandoned before completing a purchase, largely due to clunky checkout experiences. With Stripe, payments are streamlined and simple, leading to increased conversion and revenue. Businesses that have deployed Stripe have seen 6.7% higher revenue.

By addressing each of the six steps to optimizing payment conversions outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to providing the best user experience for your customers and—as a result—increasing your startup’s revenue and conversion rate.

In seven years we went from saying, ‘These APIs look great—let’s see how this goes,’ to building a deep, strategic relationship with Stripe. Stripe spends the time to identify what the long-term opportunities are and what the long-term approach should be.”

Will Shu, CEO and Cofounder, Deliveroo

These six actions will help optimize your startup’s conversion rates right away, but they only scratch the surface in terms of minimizing friction at checkout and increasing successfully completed transactions. To accelerate your impact, sign up for an account or contact our sales team for more information.

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