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Optimizing Your Platform

Optimizing Your Platform


Optimizing Your Platform

For our second installment of the Payfort blog we’ll discuss the importance of optimizing the path your customers take as they move towards making a payment. This will be the start of a series on how to optimize your ecommerce platform.

When an entrepreneur opens up an ecommerce business their vision is so pure and simple. They have a compelling idea that they know the market needs, and they have the expertise to fulfill it.

That sense of simplicity has been proven to last between 5 to 10 seconds…

Then the sheer complexity of creating an ecommerce sets in. The questions of IT, marketing, hosting, social media, inventory, API integration and innumerable other unforeseen complexities flood in.

An ecommerce website is an incredibly complex piece of machinery and creating a functioning one is a huge undertaking. And in the Middle East where funding is hard to come by and competition for market share is fierce , you need much more than a functioning platform. You need a hyper-efficient one.

In this blog series we’ll help you create a superb ecommerce platform. This first installment will focus on decreasing your purchase abandonment rate.

The Path to Payment

The function of your website is to take visitors and turn them into buyers. This occurs through a variety of steps that can be boiled down to:
1. Describing your services
2. Asking users to select a product
3. Facilitating a transaction

This process is simple, however, most websites see the vast majority of traffic ‘drop-off’ before they make a payment. Some of these visitors will return, but most will not.
Take this example from an ecommerce based in the UAE (we’ve hidden the numbers for the sake of confidentiality).

Conversion Funnel
In this instance 24,649 people visited the website but only 16 actually bought something. That’s an enormous drop-off that means they need to acquire thousands of visitors just to make one sale.

Why did so many people drop-off between stage one and three? Understanding the answer to that question is crucial to any business looking to transact online.

What Makes People Abandon Purchases?

There are many factors that cause potential customer to abandon their purchases.

These vary based upon your business, but price, the credibility of your brand and seasonality can all play a role. For instance, new brands are likely to see a higher rate of abandonment as customers don’t trust the company or fully understand the service they offer.

Let’s look at some of the factors you can control and tweak to increase the efficiency of your platform.

Registration (creating an account) is a major barrier that often causes users to abandon their purchase. Most companies do this out of necessity, however, you should experiment with where you place this step as early registration can deter customers.


cleartrip’s new user interface is clean and uses colour and white space to guide users along the path to conversion.

User Interface
Your website’s user interface is incredibly important and a confusing or lengthy experience will turn off potential customers. Make sure your website is information rich, easy to navigate and attractive.

Highlight Your Strengths
Always be sure to highlight any factors that make you unique. In the Middle East there are multiple companies in most ecommerce verticals that offer similar products: make sure users know what makes you unique, whether that’s customer service or great deals.

Establish Credibility
New businesses must demonstrate that they are not just another fly-by-night website, especially in the Middle East where some customers are wary of giving out their credit cards online.

Do this by featuring your staff and their experience on the website. This will put a face to the brand and build credibility. Visitors are much more likely to make a purchase from a brand they trust.

Smooth Payments

Souq Checkout

Souq increase their conversions with an efficient one-page checkout

Many users abandon their purchases at the final hurdle. To minimize this ensure your payment forms are simple and only one page long – you want to make it as easy as possible for customers to give you money.To minimize this ensure your payment forms are simple and only one page long – you want to make it as easy as possible for customers to give you money.

Tools Are Power

These are just a few of the things you can do to optimize your platform. This will be an ongoing process that is only possible if you have the right tools and data. The industry standard tools are Google Analytics and KISSmetrics (used in the example above), although there are a variety of other companies that provide very similar services.

Use these tools to gather data and make informed decisions as you adapt your website. Then you can optimize it to squeeze every dirham, riyal and Egyptian pound out of the visitors you get.

Do you currently use any tools to optimize your sales platform? What works for your business?

Stay tuned for the next installment of this series in November. We’ll cover analytics and how it can help you understand your cost per acquisition. If you want to learn more about Payfort head to the main site or get in touch with our team.

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Dalia El Gammal

Sr.Marketing Specialist PAYFORT

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