If you think allowing customers to change payment methods after purchasing isn’t worth it, think again.
What’s the one feeling you never want a customer to have after they finish your checkout process? Dread.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what hits in the pit of their stomach when they realize they’ve used the wrong card or account and could be facing a penalty or fee. They want to avoid that immediately. To do so, they need to change the payment method after purchase. What your store needs to ask is if you want to let them and be part of the resolution to this concern. Or will you not have the option and force the customer to consider canceling the order.
It’s not the most common situation, but it is one where there’s a clear win-win when done right. Let’s look at how to think about the solution and why you might want to take the time to offer it.
Allow Payment Method Changes Sooner – Rather than Later
Payment mistakes happen for a lot of reasons. Sometimes a person has the wrong card selected on your smartphone wallet. Their browser auto-fills payment info while they’re distracted. Or they’ve just spent too much that day and want to avoid an overdraft issue. None of these are problems on the part of the store, but you can be the solution.
If you want to allow customers to change payment methods after purchase, start by discussing the capabilities with your payment processors and platforms. See what you can do, and work with them to define the process clearly. Then, state that as plainly as possible to your customers.
Be sure to tell customers of any limitations. One common note is that it’s often only achievable before goods enter the shipping process. Be sure to clearly articulate what you can and can’t do in the offer, at checkout, and in customer service chat or support. If you find a path to offer this, let’s look at a few reasons why it could be worth any trouble.
Reason 1: It’s Great Customer Service
When thinking about payment changes, most companies ask, “why does the customer need to make the change?” However, it might be better to ask if that even matters.
When someone is asking for help to change a payment and protect their wallets, it’s a customer service opportunity. You can help them fix their mistakes and earn some loyalty by making it as simple and stress-free as possible.
Treat people how you’d like to be treated if you made a mistake. It helps ensure they complete the purchase without a refund request, which boosts your retention rates. Existing customers are up to 70% likely to buy from you, compared to 20% for new visitors, and repeat customers spend 67% more than new customers. Why not offer a great service that boosts your revenue too?
Reason 2: Reduces Your Pain and Risk of Loss
Supporting payment methods changes isn’t just great customer service, it can also reduce lost sales too. That’s because not supporting payment methods changes may lead the customer to cancel the order. That’s especially true if they suddenly realize that purchasing on a specific card or account will cause a problem.
One survey found that 10% of people who’ve canceled an online order did so because they needed room on the card for something else or were trying to avoid an “insufficient funds” issue.
Those cancellations hurt your business in a variety of ways. Cancellations can cost you money on the lost sale. If you start internal actions, such as picking orders and printing shipping labels before cancellation, you’re stuck with those costs. If cancellations occur after an order has been shipped, then you’re going to need to start the costly returns process which generally costs your business — useful returns policies are a very different but important customer service tool.
And there are added areas where cancellations may harm you. Companies selling through Walmart’s online marketplace, for example, are evaluated using multiple factors. Consultants say you could be at risk as a seller if your cancellation rate is higher than 2% in a 14-day period. Your eCommerce platform or payment processing provider may also charge a small fee if the order is canceled after the payment process.
Reason 3: Avoids Complications of Reorders
If you don’t allow someone to change payment options after purchase, then your only chance of recouping a related cancellation is if they decide to order from you again. That’s a lot to ask of a customer who might be frustrated or concerned.
Supporting payment changes can help you sidestep that entire issue. Instead, a customer has to contact you and their payment option (bank, credit card company, PayPal) to stop payment, they just work through your customer service agents to make a small change. It’s more straightforward for the customer and for your operations.
Reorders also introduce significant work within your inventory and order management tools to ensure that everything is properly canceled and you’re not duplicating any fulfillment. This prevents your warehouse team from wasting time picking and packing an order that then gets canceled too. That way, SKUs aren’t pulled from inventory and then need to be added back to your count. If you’ve got manual inventory processes, then pulling and replacing goods often means you need to do a recount to check your stock.
If you work with a 3PL, or a third-party logistics company, all those changes with cancellations and reorders get more complex. Your service-level agreement will have cutoff times for fulfillment, and the cancellation will need to get in just in time here too if you want to avoid the picking process starting. Bring them into your payment conversations and they may be able to help you avoid complications even if someone shifts payment after an order has been fulfilled.
Allowing payment changes after purchase also helps your revenue stay predictable by reducing cancellations and reorders. At the same time, you’re minimizing complicated warehouse work and partner efforts. It adds layers of protection while keeping customers happy.
After Purchase Payment Changes Benefit You and Your Customers
The simpler a payment process on your website, the better for everyone involved. Allowing payment changes after purchase — and taking steps to make this easy to achieve — is one way to prevent sales losses and extra work for your teams. Offer it and you get to help make a customer’s stressful day a little better while making your revenue more secure. It’s a win-win that you can achieve with just a little support from your payment gateway and processor partners.
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