E-Commerce: Every third shop has five or more weak points in the payment process

The payment platform Stripe has examined the checkout processes of the most important German online retailers. The result is surprising: more than two thirds have at least three errors in the payment process for credit cards.

Stripe carried out an analysis of the checkout processes of the most important e-commerce websites in Germany (based on the Alexa rankings ). In total, the payment service provider identified twelve unnecessary errors that make the credit card payment process more complex and thus lead to friction losses and a poorer conversion rate on the part of the merchant.

The investigation showed that a good two thirds of the 100 or more German e-commerce websites with the highest reach make three or more of these mistakes. After all, the value has improved compared to 2018. Back then it was over 90 percent – little consolation. Payment methods such as Apple Pay or Google Pay are still as good as not offered online in this country, although many customers use these payment methods offline.

An average of 3.81 errors in payment

Only five of the 100 or more websites examined had a truly error-free checkout process. 67.3 percent (2018: 92.7 percent) had three or more errors, 37.3 percent (2018: 57.3 percent) even five or more and still 14.5 percent (2018: 10.4 percent) seven or more errors in the twelve criteria tested. The online shops with the greatest reach in Germany had an average of 3.81 errors.

The detailed analysis shows that on 56 percent of the websites it was not possible to manually enter the expiry date of a credit card. Usually there was only a drop-down menu here, which slows down and complicates input. After all, the value has improved significantly compared to 2018 (74 percent). In 52 percent (2018: 67 percent) there was no real-time detection of invalid credit card numbers. An automatic display of the credit card type after entering the number did not take place with 44 percent (2018: 61 percent)

There were significant improvements compared to 2018 in terms of the use of the payment data stored in the browser (autofill function). 81 percent of the websites tested offer a very good user experience. However, there were also deteriorations – 27 percent (2018: 18 percent) of the checkout processes gave no indication of where the credit card’s verification number can be found. Whether this really poses major hurdles for many customers remains to be seen – but it is not necessary.

Apple Pay and Google Pay are hardly available

The analysis also examined for the first time the extent to which new types of payment methods are already being offered online in Germany. Only a good two percent of the largest websites in Germany offer Apple Pay, and Google Pay only a little over one percent. Both offer the decisive advantage of being SCA-compliant on their own, which should be an important point for all e-commerce companies in 2020, because at the end of the year the grace period of the new EU payment regulation, the strong customer authentication (SCA, Strong Customer Authentication) is coming to an end for banks and retailers.

In the analysis, it was gratifying that the checkout process is automatically adapted for mobile devices on almost all pages, or at least also works on the smartphone. However, only in 49 percent (2018: 40 percent) of the websites tested, the mobile keyboard automatically switched to numeric input if the input field is only intended for entering numbers (e.g. for the credit card number). These are actually usability issues that every developer could have on their screen by now.

So the bottom line is that the Stripe study shows numerous simple topics that online retailers could improve and that can pay off with reasonably little effort. Because those who make it as easy as possible for the customer to shop with him will be rewarded with a correspondingly high conversion in the digital checkout area. However, it is also clear that the study also serves to remind retailers of the SCA obligation, which actually already exists (keyword grace period). Anyone who is revising their shop in this context should tackle the other topics at the same time.