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The Wild Digital SEA 2021 conference has kicked off online once again, and we had the privilege to learn about how e-commerce sellers can improve their sales conversion rates. This panel is extremely relevant as it comes at a time when many businesses, small and big, are operating online.

In a rough 30-minute seminar by Sarita Singh, the Regional Growth Lead of Stripe, she shared her insights on some common but often overlooked mistakes made by sellers online. 

These pitfalls are usually a direct cause of customers abandoning their carts at checkout, hindering businesses from claiming their stake.

8 out of 10 sales are failing at the checkout page

The boom of e-commerce amidst the pandemic presents a huge opportunity for businesses within the online space. But it also poses pressure on them to capitalise on this potential and offer the best customer experiences. This is especially so as the online world is only getting more competitive and crowded.

“Businesses like yours spend so much time and money building brand awareness, driving website traffic, and optimising product pages, all with the goal of getting people to make a purchase on your site,” Sarita said. As a result, advertising spending in APAC is expected to grow to US$229 billion. 

However, 8 out of 10 sales are failing at the checkout page. So for many companies, most of that investment goes up in smoke at the last minute due to poorly built checkouts.

To identify these oversights, research by Stripe and Edgar, Dunn & Company was conducted to analyse the checkout flows of the top 500 e-commerce sites, screened against 26 different criteria.

They also surveyed 500 consumers in the region to uncover insights on the current shopping behaviours and trends, payment preferences, and other factors that might affect the checkout experiences. 

Their analysis showed that 95% of checkout pages had at least 5 basic errors causing unnecessary friction and lost sales, and all of these mistakes are avoidable too.

In her seminar, she explained that optimising a site’s checkout flow can be looked at in 3 key areas: checkout form design, mobile optimisation, and localisation.

The 3 fundamentals to high performing checkouts

1. Make the UX on a checkout form as seamless as possible

A website’s checkout form design can either bring customers to the point of sales, or push them away. Nearly a quarter of customers from Stripe’s research have abandoned their carts from long-winded checkout forms.

Therefore, it’s critical that the UX of the checkout process is as frictionless as possible. Buyers want a quick click-to-pay to be the final step in their purchase journey and don’t want to go through a checkout form repeatedly to fix the basic errors.

Hence, displaying an error message in real-time that a customer’s card was invalid or expired when the card number was entered could increase retry rates by as much as 3.5%. Even small changes like the error message itself saying “Your card has insufficient funds” or “Your card has insufficient funds, try a different card”, makes a difference. 

Virtual cues like a red highlight can help buyers know that their card information was invalid

To add, supporting auto-complete for details like a customer’s address can increase conversion rates by 0.8%. 

“And that translates into more dollars for you and better customer satisfaction,” added Sarita. 

She summarised this section with some best practices for e-commerce sellers to note when designing high performing checkouts:

  • Highlight the payment errors in real time using visual cues like a green checkmark or red exclamation point; 
  • Use descriptive and specific error messaging to clearly identify what the error is; 
  • Accept autofill information stored in browsers so customers don’t have to re-enter their details; 
  • Automatically display an icon for the card brand after the card number is entered.

“These individual differences can seem quite small, but can add up quite quickly especially for e-commerce businesses with high transaction volumes or average order sizes,” encouraged Sarita.

2. Have it fit on smaller screens

With more than 50% of e-commerce traffic coming from smartphones, the need for a seamless optimised mobile experience is of utmost importance.

“If your page is not adaptable to a smaller screen, there’s a higher chance that people visiting your site from their phones won’t make a purchase from you,” Sarita warned. 

One of the ways to accommodate mobile purchases in a seamless manner is by displaying a numerical keypad for buyers to add their card information from their phones. 

Numerical keypads can make it easier to type in card details

Also, supporting global and regional e-wallets like GrabPay and Alipay can improve the overall shopping experience on mobile. 

E-wallets give businesses the opportunity to offer a quick, one-click payment experience, which on average is 3 times faster than forcing buyers to manually enter their payment details, Sarita stated. 

Before moving on to her final point, she once again listed the points in optimising a shopper’s experience on mobile:

  • Test for a mobile version of your site on the most common devices in your target market;
  • Offer e-wallet payments and guest checkout experience;
  • Display a numerical keypad.

3. Localise the viewing experience

Given how diverse the APAC region is, offering a localised checkout experience is essential. 

“At the bare minimum, you should show a translated checkout page based on the buyer’s country, and you should also display the items in their local currency,” Sarita elaborated. As such, customers skip the hassle of converting the numbers into their currencies themselves, therefore making the purchasing experience easier.

Furthermore, having an in-depth understanding of customer preferences and local payment methods is especially important in a region. This is because 46% of online payments are made with e-wallets, compared to only 30% using cards. 

Sarita pointed out that 13% of consumers Stripe surveyed said that they’ve abandoned a purchase in the past year because their preferred payment method was not available. “So remember, preferred payment methods, especially non-card payment methods, vary based on the country you’re selling into,” she stressed.

For example, the popular non-card payment method in Singapore is GrabPay and PayNow. Whereas in a country like Australia, buy now, pay later (BNPL) options such as Afterpay and Zip Pay are in high demand. Failure to automatically surface these payment methods can be a missed opportunity for businesses. 

“In one study, we ran a pilot to run the most popular Dutch payment method, iDeal, for a number of Hong Kong businesses that were selling in the Netherlands. After enabling iDeal, these businesses saw a 79% increase in payment volumes, including minimal cannibalisation to their existing cards volume,” said Sarita.

Date from one of Stripe’s experiments showing the effectiveness of offering localised e-wallets

Once again, she concluded this section with main takeaway points on localising an e-commerce platform according to a customer’s region:

  • Identify the countries in which you want to sell in and make sure you localise the checkout page by translating the page and displaying its local currency;
  • Dynamically surface the right payment methods depending on where your customers are located or which device they’re using; 
  • Change payment fields to capture the right information for each country.


It’s no secret that online commerce around the world has been booming, and it’s no different in APAC. Sarita stated that by 2023, online sales in APAC are expected to be greater than those of the rest of the world combined. 

61% of APAC consumers have increased their online shopping in the past year, with over ⅓ at least doubling it. 

Thus, for online businesses to get a slice of this pie, it would be worth it to invest in these small yet impactful fixes to further enhance their customer conversion rates.

  • You can learn more about Wild Digital here.
  • You can read more on what we’ve written about Wild Digital SEA here.

Featured Image Credit: Sarita Singh, the Regional Growth Lead of Stripe

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)