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Can Facebook Streamline the Checkout Process?

3 Min Read
Ron Bongo

Now boasting more than one billion users worldwide, it’s no wonder that retailers have been trying to figure out how to leverage Facebook as an ecommerce tool for some time. But for the most part, those efforts have been unsuccessful. Top selling retailers like Nordstrom, Gap and J.C. Penney have all tried and had to shut down their own Facebook stores over the past few years. But Facebook, likely realizing the rewards they could reap if they crack the social commerce code, isn’t giving up. The company recently announced that it will be testing a new mobile payment system that could be intended to compete with PayPal.  For now, Facebook is just testing out this system with one online retailer. While it may seem a little out of the company’s wheelhouse, it’s actually already had success becoming a universal log-in for all kinds of sites with its Facebook Connect feature. Payments are a next logical step for this system.

Truth is, there’s every reason to believe Facebook can pull this off.  As it is, Facebook accounts for as much as 46% of overall logins (way more than any other social channel),  and has practically become the de facto single log-in. While the move may not lead to a social commerce revolution, it should at least cause retailers to do some thinking about why Facebook is venturing into the payment space in the first place: one-click log-in is convenient and consumers want that one-click purchasing power when they’re shopping online. Having to type in card numbers, security codes, billing information, etc. when trying to complete a purchase might be enough to push that shopper into “abandoned cart” territory.

So what are some easy steps retailers can take to streamline the online checkout process? Glad you asked!

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Facebook-checkout
Photo via wmur

Give Shoppers Options.
Don’t make registering for the site a requirement to purchase. Filling out a long form with personal details is the ultimate turnoff when simply trying to place an order. While it’s nice to have that data, it’s even nicer to have the sale. Additionally, don’t make a credit card the only choice for payment.  Many consumers aren’t comfortable with giving out their bank information to each site they visit and would rather leverage a third-party payment provider (a la PayPal).

…But Not Too Many Options.
List only a few shipping options with clear-cut prices and delivery dates. Getting overwhelmed with further choices after they’ve just spent ages pouring over their purchase decision is enough for most consumers to just bag it- and not in a good way. Additionally, when it comes time to confirm their order, many shoppers will get confused or distracted if you give them choices outside of “Place Order” or fill the page with banners. Don’t lose customers at the finish line.

Stay Up to Speed.
One of the main reasons people visit ecommerce sites rather than a brick-and-mortar shop is for the lack of other shoppers who hold up the pace.  So when it comes to online shopping, the ability to click and immediately see the check-out page, without waiting for pages to load, is crucial. Too much lag time and they may decide the purchase isn’t worth it.

Even though Facebook has often been dinged for its privacy policies, it still boasts one of the largest user bases on the internet.  Most of these users are willing to share deeply personal information with the social network. So, is it really that much a leap to think that they would share financial information as long as it helps to make online shopping quick, easy and convenient?  Facebook is betting that the answer is yes.


Background via Corbis Images

Ron Bongo

Ron Bongo is CEO at Corra. Ron manages Corra's corporate strategy, directs its management team, and builds key business and strategic relationships for the company. In 2012, he drove the company into open source software, helping clients implement web content management and ecommerce systems.

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Corra is the global digital agency that lifestyle brands trust to accelerate their growth. Working at the intersection of commerce technology and customer experience strategy, we deliver complex digital solutions to leading B2C and B2B retailers.

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