Ai Editorial: Saving on shoppers’ every second during the check-out phase

First Published on 3rd July, 2018

Ai Editorial: Travel companies are digging deep, focusing on UX design and security to streamline the payment experience. For instance, payments security through tokenization isn’t new, but specialists are counting on cloud support to overcome the issue of latency, writes Ai’s Ritesh Gupta

 

A major concern for a digital shopper tends to be the closure of a transaction. This particular stage generally results in few anxious seconds for many. The whole promise of a simple and frictionless payment procedure can go for a toss even if a shopper, especially using a mobile device, is made to wait. This delay can hamper the experience and eventually there could be shopping abandonment.  

This is exemplified by the fact a one-second delay in mobile load times can impact mobile conversions by up to 20%, as found out by Google. The delay means it can cost travel merchants dearly since travel shopping tends to span across many sessions and is a prolonged one.  

Optimizing payments page for mobile 

Travel companies have been focusing on several areas to ensure one gets closer to transacting on mobile. Every aspect of payment-related user experience (UX) design is being handled adeptly.

Be it for designing the payment page or working out a specific interface for each device, the level of detailing has increased tremendously over the years. According to Adyen, it is imperative for travel merchants to work out a uniform experience across any device. Whether the user is paying in the native app, or via a mobile browser, the checkout phase needs to pave way for conversions on any screen size. Travel companies need to ensure they have latest information about their customers to facilitate their recurring transactions. Also, in case a user suffers owing to the Internet infrastructure being slow, then how about cutting down on the number of images downloaded. All these adjustments can go a long way in soothing the concerns of the shoppers. Plus, companies like Adyen are trying to be proactive by working out options to deliver user-related reporting (i.e. providing shopper-level information including shopper ID, card token, etc.). With these details, merchants may be able to precisely predict what a user’s next buy will be, and when and how the purchase will be made.

 

As for making the payment, a consumer today has the right to not even come across payment options (after they share their information once and transaction goes through with the primary card on file).

Also, optimizing for local payment methods is another important consideration. For airlines focusing on the Asia Pacific region, one needs to diligently prepare for diversity in payments. Working on such initiatives features many aspects that go beyond finalizing payment methods, and these include setting up processes and controls (currency management, currency heading, fraud prevention, and reconciliation and reporting), and compliance (PCIDSS, sensitive data protection, costs and reliability).

Security through tokenization 

Other than UX design, the shopper needs to be assured about security.

As Adyen highlights, everything that a merchant facilitates behind the screen” (e.g. tokenization of stored payment data, 1-click flows for subsequent purchases, or even use of account updater) should be clear and transparent to the users.

Payment specialists acknowledge that security is of utmost importance; however, the technologies deployed to shield a customer’s data can results in delays at the checkout stage and affect the payment experience -- especially for transactions coming in from remote locations. A progress in this arena is being made in the form of regional cloud support, an initiative that can bridge the gap between an airline and a passenger irrespective of the location. So how such initiative would help? The fact that every second counts, payment specialists are curbing any delay in mobile load times.

For instance, Braintree chose to refine its payment platform with regional cloud support, starting with the US and in Australia in May this year.

Braintree, in a blog post, shared that this will enhance its tokenization offering, which converts sensitive cardholder information into a unique token or digital identifier. It replaces sensitive payment data that cannot be mathematically reversed, enabling merchants to run payment operations without handling raw payment data. Since a player like Braintree gathers card data directly from the shopper on the merchant’s digital asset the consumer’s privacy stays protected. Still there was a need to overcome the issue of increased latency arising in remote locations. In today’s fast paced shopping environment, microsecond latency counts. The time taken to transforming PAN (Primary Account Number) to token and back to PAN needs to be done in a swift manner, and this shouldn’t have any sort of negative impact on payment processing. With cloud support, the plan is to accelerate the checkout phase and augment the payment experience.

Importantly, the team at Braintree indicated that initial tests show that shoppers in Australia experienced an average upsurge in speed during checkout of about 2.5 seconds. The team explained that it studied the same in an infrastructure production environment – “10 times during 1 minute, the average time for requests made to the Braintree data center and the average time for requests made to its local cloud service”. Plus, this initiative combined with a new Content Delivery Network (CDN) service, which minimizes possible communication failure rates.

 

Hear from airlines and other industry executives about payment experience optimization at the upcoming 7th Annual Airline & Travel Payments Summit (ATPS), co-hosted with UATP, (4- 6 September 2018 in Phuket, Thailand).

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