The ‘guest checkout’ or ‘one-time payment’ route is something everyone has experience with. Almost all e-commerce sites offer customers the ability to make a purchase without registering or creating an account. This feature is designed to remove obstacles for the customer — because most people don’t want to register to make a simple purchase.
Would it surprise you to know, then, that not all online payment platforms offer a guest checkout option?
Why is guest checkout important?
While this might not seem like a big deal on the surface, it can actually have significant negative impacts on your business. Not offering payers the option to make a one-time payment can create huge customer experience issues. This is because customers care about convenience when it comes to online payments. In fact, in a recent survey, 38% of respondents said that ‘convenience’ was the number one reason they chose to make a recent payment online. And forcing your customers to register an account to pay a bill is the opposite of a convenient experience.
Nearly 40% of consumers pay their bills through the guest checkout route. So while offering this option is important, the next step is to actually optimize this payment route to maximize customer engagement. Optimizing the one-time checkout route to engage customers is the most effective way to drive results – like decreased costs and increased operational efficiencies – for your organization. In fact, our optimized one-time payment route is one of the key reasons why Invoice Cloud’s platform consistently achieves two to three times the industry average e-adoption rates.
Optimizing the one-time payment route
Now that you know your organization needs a one-time payment route for online bill payment, how can you make sure you’re making the most of this payment route? Here are two key characteristics of an optimized guest checkout:
Available and Easily Accessible: Guest checkout should be a prominent option that payers can select to make a payment. Whenever possible, link your customers directly to a checkout screen that displays important information, like their account information and balance. From there, they should be able to process a payment without unnecessary obstacles like login or registration screens. For a payer, one of the easiest paths to the guest checkout route is from a link in their e-bill.
Prompts Payers Every Step of the Way: When it comes to online payments, the goal for most organizations is achieving 100% online payment and paperless billing adoption. But it’s hard to achieve these numbers if your guest checkout route isn’t optimized for customer engagement. Payers should be prompted throughout the guest checkout process, and even after they’ve paid their bill, to enroll in services like paperless billing and AutoPay – to drive the best results for your organization.
How to get started
Clearly, improving the user experience and customer engagement is key to creating the kind of positive outcomes your organization needs. But how can you get started making these changes?
The best way to get started is by evaluating your current online payment experience. Where do customers encounter roadblocks, and how can you best reduce or remove these obstacles? From there, find opportunities to engage your customers throughout the payment route — particularly the guest checkout route — to enroll in time and cost-saving services like paperless billing or automatic payments. At the end of the day, every interaction should be designed with the user experience in mind.