25 Feb 2021

Ever-improving payments

The old adage “If it ain't broke, don't fix it” is one of those phrases that needles me. Over-tinkering with something may have diminishing returns for the effort made. On the flip-side, accepting that something is just “okay” isn’t a situation anyone should strive for.

Taking payments on websites is something that we are constantly striving to improve. This is arguably the most important place on a website for both the user and the seller. You might have a great brand and a persuasive value proposition. You might have a visitor who had decided to make a purchase with you. However, if they cannot complete that purchase quickly and effectively, then all that effort has potentially been in vain.

The average online checkout abandonment rate is a staggering 60-80%, so almost four out of five people who have added items to their shopping basket never complete their purchase.

Granted, membership organisations aren’t your standard retailer. However, when someone has decided to become a member or renew for a further period - the principle is still the same. The payment process needs to be as clear and as straightforward as possible, so they don’t fall at the last hurdle.



Steve Dowle, Head of Product

Over the last 12 months we’ve been working on consolidating the payment process (along with many others), so that no matter if you’re purchasing an event ticket, a membership, a shop product, or an ad-hoc payment, the payment process is the same.

This familiarity of the payment journey is good for the end user, but poses various technical and user experience challenges when building it. If you’re purchasing multiple products then a standard shop payment flow might include the ability to change quantity, remove items and add a delivery address.


Buying a membership subscription may also include choosing your membership duration. 

Prospective members may need to pay for this individually or on behalf of the organisation to ensure they can capture VAT and other requirements.

Including multiple options in a streamlined consistent payments process is a challenge we enjoy tackling - which we do in partnership with our internal teams and clients.

Canvassing feedback from our clients and their end-users gives us vital insights. Real world event tracking, and looking at how other industries handle payments helps us understand how people flow through the payment process - giving a 360 view. We take this information and work with our UX team to see how we can improve the user journey - with all the various permutations we need to deal with. 

We also have to make sure we are keeping up-to-date with any legal and regulatory requirement changes - such as data privacy and finance. After working out how best to implement these requirements, we deploy the technical changes, and the process begins again.

We’re now underway with the third iteration of the payments process in a year. It feels like it's a vast improvement and are looking forward to it being released at the end of this quarter. 

As we continue to optimise our payments process we know that our “tinkering” is helping deliver a great experience for our clients and their members.

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