How To Boost Conversions 30% For Declined Cards In Your Ecommerce Store

Every online merchant is familiar with customers whose credit cards get declined when they try to finalize an order. There are a variety of reasons this can happen. And it happens often enough to be important.

It’s important because customers often do not know why the purchase did not go through. Many times they simply give up, or go somewhere else to buy the item.

You’re letting money slip through your virtual fingers!

Why declines happen

There are a number of reasons why a customer’s credit card may not go through:

  • AVS mismatch – Their address does not match the card billing address
  • CVV2 code is incorrect or missing
  • Fraud screen flags the purchase as potentially fraudulent
  • Card is over their limit
  • Card company flags your business as problematic
  • Your payment gateway is mis-configured or having a problem

Don’t abandon your customer at this point

Once a decline happens, a customer is usually “greeted” with an error message / page. Something like this possibly:

Standard declined message (click image to enlarge)

If the customer is sure they entered their zip, card number, and expiration date correctly, they’ll be put-off right away by this message. The “details” at the bottom are usually cryptic and do not help customers understand the problem. Remember, the customer always thinks they are right!

So the first step is to simply make this error message as informative as it can be, without overwhelming or annoying the customer. But remember, the customer never reads either (in addition to always being right).

You need an alert system when declines happen

When a customer’s payment is declined:

  • Are you altered?
  • Do you get an email?
  • Can you quickly check the details?
  • Does the customer get an email?
  • Can you view trends to spot fraud patterns or gateway issues?

It’s important that you can follow-up with customers whose cards are declined.

How important?

Many merchants report being able to convert 30% or more of declined transactions when they follow up via email or a phone call with these customers (source: webmasterworld). The more personalized the follow up, the higher that percentage climbs.

30% is quite the boost to the bottom line!

Our Declined Credit Card Module for ShopSite ®

If you’re using ShopSite, we provide an add-on module for handling declined credit cards. Features include:

  • Optional email sent to the merchant when a decline happens
  • Optional customizable email sent to the customer along with custom delay before being sent out
  • Admin panel to review all declined attempts, including full contact info, cart contents, ip address, number of attempts, and detailed gateway error.

The module makes it easy to get in contact with customers *before* the sale is lost.

Declined transactions happen all the time. Don’t let this opportunity to reach out to your customers slip by. It’s a great way to show them that you care about their experience, and are there for them when they’re having a problem.

This type of service can help turn a one time shopper into a loyal return customer for years to come.

Feel free to share any experiences you’ve had when dealing with declined transactions.

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