Building a checkout flow is harder than it seems. While there are few ways to do it right, there are an awful lot of ways things can — and do — go wrong, even for players that are otherwise good at eCommerce.
Issued by payments services firm Stripe, a quick survey of the top 100 online commerce sites globally indicates 72 have at least three errors in their checkout flows. Those errors are creating friction points that could easily be removed with some minor tweaks to expedite the process. The same survey indicates nearly half of the sites are lacking auto-fill capacity to store payments data in a user’s browser for easier input. Additionally, 20 percent of sites make taking credit card payments much harder than it needs to be merely by failing to offer a numerical keypad for entering credit card numbers.
As of Tuesday (Oct. 3), though, Stripe is officially moving to make it easier for businesses to stop such self-inflicting wounds to their checkout process with the launch of Stripe Elements, a new method by which small businesses (SMBs) can build smoother, more streamlined checkout processes for their customers.
Instead of offering a single, one-size-fits-all product for all businesses, Stripe is using Elements to take user interface (UI) components and turn them into individual building blocks. These building blocks can then be used in the construction of a customer purchase flow that is both faster and cleaner than what companies are offering today.
Elements’ blocks can be configured in a number of ways, but the functions and “hard work” elements that are contained in each component block is handled by Stripe. This allows Stripe’s Elements customers to automatically optimize for mobile devices, localized cards and alternative payment methods. Taken together, the overarching goal is to give Stripe’s business clients a better way to achieve more conversions with less coding work.
“Stripe powers hundreds of thousands of businesses around the world, from Fortune 500 companies to the most innovative startups,” said Lachy Groom, head of payments products at Stripe. “With Elements, we’ve drawn from that experience to build the best possible payment flow for the modern internet company, where Stripe handles all the nitty-gritty work behind the scenes, such as optimizing for different mobile devices, payment methods or geographies. With two-thirds less code than would be typically required, businesses can implement and fully customize Stripe Elements in a matter of minutes, immediately offering their customers a great checkout experience.”
Among the specific components on offer through Elements are fully customized payments flows, minimized integration work to allow businesses to be up and running in minutes (instead of days or weeks), real-time validation to ensure errors are caught early and autofill so customers are freed from having to constantly enter card data.
Moreover, core payment fields are served by Stripe, meaning sensitive payment information never touches a business’ servers. That information is instead transmitted directly to Stripe to be securely stored and tokenized, and SMBs that sign on with Elements have a quick, easy path to PCI compliance (SAQ-A) — even under the latest PCI guidelines.
“A streamlined checkout flow that optimizes based on context is essential for businesses to increase conversions and ultimately build lasting relationships with their customers,” said Jordan McKee, principal analyst at research and advisory company 451 Research. “Unfortunately, designing a customized purchase experience that minimizes friction has traditionally been a resource-intensive process fraught with complexity. With Elements, Stripe looks to break this paradigm by democratizing access to a fast, customizable and fully PCI compliant checkout flow with minimal implementation effort.”
Stripe Elements is now available to all Stripe users globally.