Improving DTC eCommerce Experiences from Product Discovery through Checkout

Global eCommerce & Retail Forum: Panel 4

Jun 30, 2021 3:00 PM4:00 PM EST

Request The Full Recording

Key Discussion Takeaways

Every eCommerce brand wants to create a seamless experience for their customers. From discovery, to browsing, to buying, championing a frictionless user experience will help customers fall in love with your product. Unfortunately, many eCommerce stores struggle to optimize one of the most important — and challenging — aspects of the digital retail process: the checkout.

Spending money is where customers hesitate the most — and if there is one part of the customer journey that needs to be simple, it’s the home stretch. Thankfully, there are tons of solutions designed to improve this final step for customers. Mobile payments and digital wallets are leading the way by removing the barrier of manually entering information to create a smooth experience. Among these, Amazon Pay is changing the game by letting you pay on third-party websites with your pre-existing Amazon information. It’s a burgeoning field that might solve the greatest pain point for eCommerce customers everywhere. So what do you need to know about Amazon Pay in order to optimize your consumers’ experiences on your website?

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant talks with Cherise Barsell of Amazon and Blair Rafuse of Centric Brands about how to improve the eCommerce checkout experience. They go over the value of multiple payment options, what drives varying eCommerce conversion rates, and everything you need to know about the safety and future of Amazon Pay. Listen in to hear more proven strategies and hard-won eCommerce advice in this exciting event!

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:


  • Blair Rafuse of Centric Brands reveals how product discovery plays into the checkout experience
  • Blair and Cherise Barsell discusses how the checkout experience impacts mobile conversion rates
  • The conversion rates for Amazon Pay customers
  • Should you implement multiple payment options for your eCommerce platform?
  • Will Amazon Pay drive customers to Amazon (and away from web retailers)?
  • The timeline for implementing Shopify and Amazon Pay on your eCommerce store
  • The crucial pain points of checkout that most companies ignore
  • What does the future of payments look like?
  • Advice on handling fraud for payment accounts
  • What is voice commerce and does it have any potential?
Request The Full Recording

Event Partners

Amazon Pay

Amazon Pay is an online payment service that makes checkout fast and secure for hundreds of millions of Amazon customers around the world.

Connect with Amazon Pay

Guest Speakers

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Cherise Barsell

Cherise Barsell

Senior. Manager, Amazon Pay at Amazon

Cherise Barsell is an experienced leader and the Senior Manager of Amazon Pay at Amazon. In this position, she guides a team of product managers who improve the customer purchase experience, build high-converting checkouts, and provide automated compliance controls. Before Amazon, Cherise worked with other leading brands, including eBay and Western Union.

Blair Rafuse

Director, IT - eCommerce & Digital at Centric Brands

Blair Rafuse serves as the Director of IT for eCommerce and Digital at Centric Brands, a collective of lifestyle brands from around the globe. Centric Brands boasts a portfolio of over 100 leading brands, including Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Nautica, and many others. Blair has previous experience as a technical lead and Shopify Plus specialist. Now he applies his knowledge at Centric Brands to develop frontend and backend applications.

Event Moderator

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Cherise Barsell

Cherise Barsell

Senior. Manager, Amazon Pay at Amazon

Cherise Barsell is an experienced leader and the Senior Manager of Amazon Pay at Amazon. In this position, she guides a team of product managers who improve the customer purchase experience, build high-converting checkouts, and provide automated compliance controls. Before Amazon, Cherise worked with other leading brands, including eBay and Western Union.

Blair Rafuse

Director, IT - eCommerce & Digital at Centric Brands

Blair Rafuse serves as the Director of IT for eCommerce and Digital at Centric Brands, a collective of lifestyle brands from around the globe. Centric Brands boasts a portfolio of over 100 leading brands, including Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Nautica, and many others. Blair has previous experience as a technical lead and Shopify Plus specialist. Now he applies his knowledge at Centric Brands to develop frontend and backend applications.

Request the Full Recording

Please enter your information to request a copy of the post-event written summary or recording!

Need help with something else?

Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Co-Founder & Managing Director Aaron Conant runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

Schedule a free consultation call

Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:18

Hey, everybody, Happy Wednesday. Thanks, everybody for joining. It's been a fun event. This is our fourth of four panel discussions today. You know, along the way, there's any questions you have any follow ups, you want any connections, don't hesitate to reach out to me Aaron, or anybody else in the team, more than happy to make any follow up connections whatsoever. We're a giant networking and knowledge sharing group. So my name is Aaron Conant. I'm the Co-Founder and Managing Director here at BWG Connect, kick this off just because I was on the brand side. And I found there was this lack of a consortium of brands that I could talk to, that could help me figure out digital strategy out find out what's working, what's not, who's working, who's not. And so we created BWG Connect is a massive networking knowledge sharing group. And that's what we do, I connect now with 30 to 40 brands on a weekly basis, when the same topics, from those discussions come up over and over again. That's when that's how we find the titles for events, the topics, and we're gonna do a lot of them this year, we got a lot of virtual, in just individual sessions, we done probably six or seven of these half day events. But coming in q3 q4, we're gonna do a lot of in person events as well. So smart, small format dinners, if you live in a top, you know, a tier one city across the US, then we're probably going to be in a town near you. And more than happy to if you just shoot us a note put you on the shortlist, we can only get about 20 people in but we'd love to have people that have attended events in the past join. That being said, a couple of housekeeping items. We want this to be as educational informational as possible. At any point in time. If you have questions, you can drop into the question section there, we'll make sure we get them answered. Or if it's easier, you can always email me Aaron that's also an hour from now when we've wrapped up tomorrow next week, don't ever hesitate to shoot me a note I'll get back to you within a day. The last thing is we're starting three to four minutes after the hour, we're gonna wrap up with three to four minutes to go on the hour as well and give you plenty of time to get on to your next meeting without being late. So that being said, You know, I want to want to kick off and kind of set the tone for this conversation as a whole is, you know, there's been a massive shift over the past 15 months specifically not just to, you know, eCommerce and marketplaces as a whole, but specifically to the direct consumer side, tons of brands across the board have looked back, you know, take a step back and said, Hey, like, Amazon can be part of our strategy as a marketplace and a platform. But it can't be the entire of our strategy as a whole. And so there's a huge push into direct to consumer as a whole. But along with that comes this pay, we now have to manage the customer experience in the past that brick and mortar store did it or Amazon or Walmart or Target or wherever it was eBay, you name it, they manage the customer experience. And now a brand is required to do so. So we got this topic from a ton of brands saying hey, how do we improve direct consumer e-commerce experiences from product discovery all the way through checkout. And so we got some good friends, good partners of the network over at Amazon Pay, also a Centric Brands. And so just a couple of great panelists today that we can bounce questions off and go but Cherise to kick it off with you. If you want to do a brief intro on yourself. Amazon Pay that would be awesome that we can kick it over to Blair and he can do an intro and then we kind of jump into the conversation solve it.

Cherise Barsell 3:43

Yeah, great. So I lead the purchase experience team at Amazon Pay for managing everything from the checkout experience and postorder experience, the compliance experience and then some fun confidential programs. So Amazon Pay for those who don't know, is a simple way for customers to pay for products, services and donations using information already stored in their Amazon account. So we're essentially externalizing the same secure and convenient checkout experience when customers are shopping across the web and with Alexa. What this means is that customers don't need to create a new account, enter or share credit card details when they feel uncomfortable and they don't have to look up addresses during checkout. Maybe just extra information here. You can also use Alexa devices get delivery notifications and donate to your favorite your favorite charities with Alexa or with Amazon Pay.

Aaron Conant 4:38

Awesome. Love it Blair I'll kick it over to you brief intro on yourself and Centric

Blair Rafuse 4:43

Hi everyone. My name is Blair Rafuse, Director of eCommerce and digital at Centric Brands. I have been working in a commerce for about 11 years in various capacities. I have extensive experience both on the merchant side and the agency side. Here at Centric Brands which is As a brand collective we Own Operate many apparel brands and accessories. We also manufacture and sell under license for very large brands such as Disney, Tommy Hilfiger, you know, really big brands. We do have a large presence on Amazon Marketplace. And we operate nine direct to consumer eCommerce sites, which sort of the day to day on the IT side. So I'm I'm leading a rockstar development team, managing vendor relationships, formulating our digital strategy across many different platforms. I'm also running on our b2b eCommerce platforms. And that's strategy as well. So yeah, very excited to be here.

Aaron Conant 5:45

I love it. I love the fact that you're in IT. When I was on the brand side of Perrigo, I was in IT as well. And it's, it's actually a blessing to be there. So that's incredibly cool. So Blair, I'm gonna like see you said nine direct consumer sites. Is that right? How do you look at you know, product discovery, and then how you see that tie in into, you know, the checkout experience as a whole? Because it it's a full path. And, you know, how is the engagement? And then I want to talk to they want to start breaking that down individually. But how do you first approach that on the, if you got nine sites? It's awesome.

Blair Rafuse 6:25

Yeah, we have nine and soon to be 10. And should be around a dozen by the end of the year. So we're growing, acquiring very quickly. So it's very exciting place to be. Yeah, so product discovery when we have a lot of denim brands and other other types of apparel brands, which is mostly what I specialize in men's and women's division. So we also do a lot of kids business entertainment, that's mostly where Amazon businesses over. You know, during COVID,kids pajamas was the hot selling because everyone's kids myself, my kids included, were all home. And they didn't change their jammies. So that was a huge seller for us in 2020. But yeah, for for generally, product discovery, you know, we're we're, we're tapping into social media. we're leveraging influencers. We're doing a lot of collaborations with some famous fashion designers, which has been very fruitful for us. And yeah, yeah, obviously, social media is a big part of our strategy. influencers, we just relaunched a big streetwear brand called Avirex,, sort of like an OG streetwear brand. So sorry, exciting. So that had a very heavy social media presence to hype up that that relaunch and and rebranding. So yeah.

Aaron Conant 7:51

The goal of that is to drive it to your direct consumer site. Is that the main focus? Are you driving it to other retailers as well? Or is it mainly to drive to your drive to consumer site,

Blair Rafuse 8:02

It's mainly to drive to to our direct to consumer sites, however, we are also selling on Facebook and Instagram channels through our Shopify Plus implementations. so customers can check out there, they can come to our direct to consumer site, we do have some affiliate networks that we work with, where we're, where we push to other direct to consumer sites, we do some drop shipping for other vendors. So we're, we're pretty spread out across the board.

Aaron Conant 8:36

Awesome. So when you think about it from then, so you have the traffic driving in? How do you look at like the the conversion in the the checkout experience as a whole? We had an earlier, you know, panel with this, I mean, this just comes up all the time, right? I think there's a lot of people, you know, engaging, they've got, you know, performance marketing teams, or they've handled it, they've hired an awesome agency that are doing it, they're driving the traffic there. They've got the influencers and micro influencers, the brand ambassadors or TikTok, or whatever it is they're driving affiliates that are driving it in. But you need to convert, right at the end of the day, you want them to just visit you want them to have a an awesome experience, including checkout. So you know, what, in fact, have you seen checkout have on on conversion?

Blair Rafuse 9:23

Well, one of my mantras I say almost every day in our daily development, scrums is mobile first, right. So we see that most of our conversions are happening on mobile devices. So that's, um, it's easy for people to focus on desktop, especially developers, because that's what we're working. But we we need to treat, you know, have a mobile first mentality. And then of course, you know, tracking various KPIs on our different marketing initiatives, in terms of how things are converting and what what's doing well, what's not.

Aaron Conant 9:58

Cherise, are you seeing the same thing for on a mobile standpoint?

Cherise Barsell 10:02

Yeah, definitely. I mean, this is the conversation we had 10 years ago, it continues to grow, continues to be to certainly be more relevant. And I could also add to your, your original question of like, what is the impact of checkout? On conversion? I think this is an interesting question, it comes up a lot. I'm guessing that your audience understand why checkout is important for like a high level conceptual level, you've done a ton to get the right product, the right marketing, hold the customer, and you've invested so much to get the customer there, that you don't want a leaky bucket, right? Like you want that just to work. And we try to create a forgettable experience, actually, because customers aren't there to go through the payment experience. They're there for your product and through your brand. That experience, especially for DTC to see, right, like it's not just prices, not shipping up a lot of it on Amazon, but when you're going to see, they want that brand experience. And so checkout, they just want to be fast and easy. And that's not part of the experience. So I'm guessing that your question is more around stats of like, how important is this? So I can I can give you some? if you're if you're interested, I can give you some stats based on external research based on what we've seen based on conversations with customers. You want to you want to go into that Aaron.

Aaron Conant 11:28

100%, I think I just got a couple of questions coming in around as a whole. How in depth can we get into the stats around? And I think the whole the question that usually, you know, pops up, but I'm here glare you get this, you know, as well as like, Is it worth it? Like what happens in this investment? Everybody right now, we're just talking to the previous session with you know, Adobe and Bounteous around and Coca Cola partners, the number of partners you need now is, you know, tenfold what it was 10 years ago, right. And it's everything from payments to mobile messaging to now direct mail that ties in your SEO and your sem and your your page optimization. There's so many partners that you need, how do I select the right ones? And what's the impact going to be at the end of the day? If you are looking to figure out what's the right option, you know, one for consumer experience on the site. And you know, from product discovery all the way through in this case? You know, you know, checkout? So yeah, I would love to hear, you know, stats around, you know, what kind of impact you notice. These easy checkout experience have?

Cherise Barsell 12:41

Yeah, let me share some stats. There's another question. You fold it in there that maybe we could we could parking lot. I think it's I think it's good for us to talk about which is like how do you select a partner? And should you select the partner? Like what there's so many things that you need to think about? Where should you be doing it yourself versus where should you be levering leveraging a partner, I think that's, that's an interesting one for us to come to also. Let me let me give you some external stats for us on checkout. According to the baymard Institute, I've got the notes here. 69% of online shoppers who add a product to their cart never complete the purchase. And that's a loss of about 260 billion in revenue every year. And 8% of shoppers abandon their orders due to lack of third party payment options. And they estimate that eCommerce sites can gain 35% conversion improvement by just improving their checkout design. So those are big numbers and big opportunity. And this is certainly backed up by our data and our conversations with customers. So customers get overwhelmed by multiple form fields. And confused when you have three different calls to action, all with a red button. I do a lot of site scanning. And trust me I see that don't have three different calls to action all with the red button. And they don't like to enter their credit card on merchant websites, especially if it's the first time shopping on the site. They also like one of the reasons they don't want enter their credit card is because they don't want to get up off the couch or credit card with them. And they just want to complete the purchase. And the other is because of security so you can lose customers for a lot of different reasons and making that checkout process as quick and as seamless as possible. Avoid those those pitfalls and also just avoid the distractions that come with you know, get it running in the room where you're like okay, I thought I was gonna buy this but now I've got to go to something else. I can also give you some specific examples of ghost merchants have been when they've added Amazon Pay. So one Amazon Pay merchant All Saints found 34% higher conversion rate 15% higher order value in 70 seconds faster checkout time after influencing Amazon Pay. So I'll think pretty popular site A lot of progress there when they added Amazon Pay. Rafi also saw 44% more mobile orders than a traditional credit card 7% greater growth in Amazon Pay orders versus overall year over year transaction growth and higher average order value with Amazon Pay. You can go into that later. Also, if you want to why the order value would be different. But part of that is security. And another part of it is acceptance. Like what the orders are going to get declined. So there's some good stats, I think enough to support the value of really paying attention to that face and making sure you're not losing customers along the way.

Aaron Conant 15:37

Yeah, I mean, across the board people, it's funny because people want options now. Right? The earliest one, you know, the first panel we did with my score was, you know, his visor is you know, spoiling the URLs, right? Give me everything that I ever wanted to choose from, and I will choose it. And if you don't, I'm going to go to somebody who will. And it's funny, because a lot of times we plot, we apply that to just the overall product offerings, but it applies to everything along the way, right, including giving me my payment option that I want. You know, I'll kick it over to like Blair, like, when you take a look at, you know, payment, what's the impact of payment options that you've seen? Like? Do you have multiple payment options today? Was it impactful? Would you recommend people add multiple payment options? You know, outside of the standards? I mean, and then obviously, I mean, from an Amazon pay? Did you put that in place? And was it meaningful? And just a quick reminder, anybody has questions in this space, don't hesitate to drop into the Questions section, and we will we will answer them. But you know, we're all kind of throw that, you know, three part question over to you and we can kind of pick it apart.

Blair Rafuse 16:45

I'm sure. So just to piggyback off what you said, I think, you know, several years ago, alternative payment methods were popular and converted well, because of the security thing, you know, like Pay Pal, for example, like I you know, if I'm a first time shopper on site, I don't necessarily trust your site, but I trust PayPal, right. And nowadays, I think that's still true to some degree. But now it's more about the convenience factor. Like Cherise said, I don't want to go into my wallet, type in my my credit card number, my security code, my expiration date, I want to just log in somewhere, right? And like, especially like Amazon Pay, like who doesn't have an Amazon account, right? And like, I remember two passwords, my email password, and my Amazon password. So it's, it's, it's a great converter, and that we have Amazon pay on a number of our sites are all of our US properties. I don't believe it's available in Canada yet, which I would like to see in the future. That was that's one of my roadmap questions. But for us properties we do we also, we, so we're exclusively on Shopify Plus. So we're leveraging Shopify payments, we were using authorize net for a number of sites that used to be on a different platform. And I guess when we migrated it, it just made sense to stay on it. But to me, it makes more sense to be on Shopify payments, we see a big conversion boost with shop pay. That's another one where you don't even have to get off the couch, you just put in your email address to text you a code on your phone, but enough that code and you're done. And of course Shopify payments also supports Amazon Pay, sorry, Google Pay and Apple Pay. So we have those as well. And we've had a number of different buy now pay later vendors. So that's a really hot area in finance. Now, every seems like every day I see a new one pop up. And they're all very competitive. So we're leveraging those. So currently, we're using klarna for most of our sites, and and it's on our roadmap to bring klarna in for a couple more.

Aaron Conant 18:52

Awesome. So is there a I'll kick it over to Cherise. Is there an optimal number and then I'll kick it back to Blair, the question that comes in, is there an optimal number? And then I've got two more three more questions that have come in. Is there an optimal number of payment solutions at checkout? No, there's an average. But is there an all at one point in time, people are worried about the NASCAR effect, but now, if it's spoiling me, or else, you know, is it just an additional option? I don't know if you have any, you know, thoughts around that?

Cherise Barsell 19:22

Yeah, I don't think it's always for me, or else. Before I get to your question, just just want to respond to one of the things Blair said, on convenience for customers. It's great that you remember your Amazon account, or password, and I think most people do. But what's better than that is if you don't need to remember that. And so we have a good portion of our customers who've never had to enter a password at all because we carry over the same session with Amazon. So if they're already logged in to Amazon, and we recognize you and that's just a seamless experience, and especially for younger generations, they they don't want to passwords or they don't want to remember anything. They just want to be able to enter the flow. And so we're definitely expanding the customers that have that experience and have a good chunk of customers with that experience already. So the ideal experiences, if you click the button that says you want to check out, you see your information and confirm and and you're done. So, so So yeah, definitely look for options where that's available to think you're not trying to remember 15 different passwords. But that ties in to how many payment options are optimal, you want to give customers the options that are right for them. So there's not a magic number that works for all merchants. But merchants can close more sales if they offer the option that customers prefer. So in most cases, merchants have the big five Pay Pal Amazon Pay Google Pay Apple Pay and native credit card payments. If you have the capability, I do recommend a B testing. Just see does it add value, or do your customers value that Amazon Pay is bringing Prime customers who prefer us as a checkout method. And so there's your opportunity to attract a certain customer segment. Location also matters a lot. If you show your Express payment options below the fold, or for payment only after they've already typed in their address, you might not get as much lift because they still have to go through that pain or they don't know that that option is going to be available. So experiment with different locations, experiment with different options. But definitely worth looking at the variables and not just whether you add it or not. And one more thing I would add is, if a customer has already told you that they prefer a certain payment method, then you might not have to give them all of the choices. So for example, Amazon offers a sign in option. So if the customer is signed in already with Amazon, you know they have an Amazon account, you know that that's going to be the most frictionless experience to them for them, you can default to that as they go through the checkout flow. So again, you want to offer the option that's the best for them. And sometimes you have information, your assignment, for example, that will let you know what's the best for that customer.

Aaron Conant 22:14

Awesome, I love it. Blair, I'd love to hear your thoughts there, as you've seen it, and then a bunch of questions that just came in, but I want to kind of wrap this one up.

Blair Rafuse 22:24

Um, yeah, so we're of the opinion that we should offer as many options as possible. Just to target you know, who prefers Apple Pay Google Pay Amazon Pay, pay as you go. Make the checkout process as frictionless as possible, just log in, if you're already logged in, you know, we remember I remember a few years ago, the big thing with mobile e comm was, you know, don't don't display an alphanumeric keyboard to type in your credit card. Now, we don't even want people to type in their credit card. So it's come a long way. So it's, you know, I think it's we're just, we are cautious to remain on brand, though, for you know, some things aren't quite like luxury, like, like an installment provider, things like that. But for the most part, we're, we want as flexible many as many flexible options for customers as possible.

Aaron Conant 23:22

No, agreed, yeah, it's but you know, there's the data to write is, in what I like is we get further and further in a digital maturity, like Cherise saying, if they're already logged into Amazon, and they've told you in the past, or they've used Amazon Pay in the past, why don't you give them that option? Right? If you know that it's going to be the smoothest, why am them, you know, trying to filter through and find it is, as all these eCommerce platforms get, you know, boring it more I want to say high tech, but more and more advanced. And personalization gets more and more advanced, it's going to be a lot easier to deliver a personalized customer experience start to finish including the payment at checkout. So a couple questions that come in. Do the web retailers have a concern about driving more customers to Amazon by using Amazon Pay? And that's that's the first one. Is that a concern at all? Blair? Where they're on your drive to consumer site? You offer that but they're not necessarily linking back to Amazon, right?

Blair Rafuse 24:27

Yeah. So we're careful not to cannibalize our own products. So we have very segregated product lines where we're exclusively selling on our sites versus what's sold on Amazon and different divisions are allowed on Amazon, for example. Awesome. Yeah,

Aaron Conant 24:46

yeah. Whatever. Why would a retailer that unbranded retail use Amazon pay on their direct consumer site while they also sell on Amazon is 3PL mean, you kind of fall in line that one too is if they're different product lines. It's a it's a different different products. selection trees, I see you nodding your head. Any thoughts there as well?

Cherise Barsell 25:04

Yeah, I mean, you would offer Amazon pay because you're offering a DSP channel, right. So you're thinking about both paths, you're thinking about how to optimize through Amazon. And you're thinking about how to optimize your DSP channel. And if you can get better conversion by offering Amazon Pay and giving Amazon customers a cleaner path to go through, then that's why you would offer Amazon Pay. Amazon customers don't just shop on Amazon. There's lots of reasons why they prefer you to see, in some cases, particularly the brand experience. So if you're able to offer socially conscious products, or a beautiful page that allows them to explore different ways of your products, and specializes in what your product offers, then customers are drawn to that experience. And they still want checkout to be easy. But they want to engage directly with you. It also makes customers feel good to not engage with, you know, the big brands for all of their shopping, but they still want the convenience of the big brands.

Aaron Conant 26:11

Love it. So next question that comes in this is probably the most common question that I feel around Amazon Pay is the issue of you can probably guess it because my guess is trees, you get answered all the time. So I'm going to have you you guess what it is? This will be fun.

Cherise Barsell 26:31

Does Amazon Pay steal your data? Yes. Yeah, I think there's so first of the answer very clearly, no, Amazon Pay does not steal your data. I think that there is a lot of concern over over that. But I guess there's a couple things I can say. the only data that we have access to is the payment amount that needs to be authorized. So we know who you are as a merchant. And we know how much is being charged at the end, we don't have any item level detail or anything like that, that comes in with a purchase. And you don't need to take my word for it. Your engineers will be able to validate this based on the integration so that you're just not sending us anything, we don't have the capability to pull anything. So we're just collecting item amounts, or sorry, the order amount, the total order amount with no item level details.

Aaron Conant 27:23

I love it. That's it's super interesting. But yeah, we get I feel that question all the time. If we're doing anything, and we're I'm talking about payments as a whole? Do they take all the data they know the or the items that are being ordered? Are they gonna take it in white label and offered on a no, no is the answer. And I love the fact that you can actually have your your dev team, take a look and see what's going in and out. And you bring up. Another question, though, is around the integration standpoint. So I'll kick this one over to Blair. And then I can kick it back to you Cherise says what you see his whole employer here. It's like, how long does it take to implement Amazon Pay? You know, our payment solutions as a whole what specifically around Amazon Pay? Because that's what the question was about. How long does it take to integrate it as a whole?

Blair Rafuse 28:07

Yeah, so one of the things I love about Shopify is that it's built in, right. So Apple Pay Google Pay, Amazon Pay PayPal, it's all built in and you literally click a button to activate it. You have to sign up and verify your identity and do the banking stuff. But it's really straightforward. Like when I was on the agency side A few years ago, I was scoping out a big project. And they were on another different platform. And one of their pain points was it took them five months to implement Amazon pay. And like, Well, on Shopify, it takes five minutes, and it literally does. So for us. It was it's very painless. It's so it's like it's it's literally a no brainer, right? It's it's there, you just activate it and go through the financial setup, and you're up and running.

Aaron Conant 28:51

Right, awesome. Platforms outside of Shopify, Cherise. What should people be thinking about?

Cherise Barsell 28:59

Yeah, I mean, for for any solution provider, you're going to have a pretty seamless experience where you basically say like, yes, Amazon Pay if you're doing a custom integration on direct integration without a solution provider. And we just launched a new version of our integration and our checkout product, checkout v2. And we had worked in launch within one or two days. So it's amazing how complicated that could get up to three weeks for some merchants. Depending on how complicated you want the integration. We offer bells and whistles. You don't have to use all the bells and whistles. So the more bells and whistles you want, the more complicated it can get and more, the longer it can take. But for the standard integration, it's a pretty quick process.

Aaron Conant 29:46

Awesome, are there their links for friction points that people don't think about that you run into when we're thinking about checkout as a whole and payment options? Right? I Just thinking your other pain points that people who go address that you don't usually think about or or that you're helping solve for.

Cherise Barsell 30:09

Yeah, I think that when most people create a checkout experience they're looking for, like, what is the information I need to collect from the customer. And like in order to go through Checkout, they're not thinking of how to make that experience easy. So I can share. I can share, like the things that happen when you're building it by yourself, and you're not using Express checkout solutions. And then we can also talk about issues that you see when you use Express checkout solutions, because you also still have choices with those integrations. So when you're doing it yourself, of course, I'm echoing for some reason. But let's try now, still at Green, but work through it. And so when you're going through the the checkout for yourself, limiting form fields, allowing them to be pre populated, you can build them in a way that will pre populate based on the browser. You can limit the number of steps when the number of requirements that you have like you really need the phone number, do you really like are there certain things that you believe the business name, like the more form fields, the more intimidating it can be to a customer. Another thing is where you already mentioned this, but where you place the Express checkout option, or where you place it, where you place the option to checkout overall. So having a buy now, or direct to checkout option from the product detail page is good for certain products. It might not be if you want to encourage your customer to browse more, or you have products that are typically, you know, bought together or browse more. But in most cases, it's going to be an advantage to have that buy now or direct to checkout experience. And then to offer the Express checkout as early and as high as possible, so that customers see that option. And they don't get intimidated to go through the flow. Sometimes customers are just speeding through. And they miss that. And so we actually have most merchants who are entering who are creating an express Checkout button at the beginning and the end of checkout for payment only. So if they did just start typing their information, and then they're like, I don't have my credit card like oh, great Amazon pays there. So we see customers adopt in both of those places, because sometimes they they noticed it at the beginning. And sometimes they don't but they still don't want to pay with a credit card.

Aaron Conant 32:45

Awesome. Love it. Yeah, Blair, I'll kick it over to you thoughts or friction areas, maybe you experienced any of those and any thoughts or insights there?

Blair Rafuse 32:53

Yeah, we like to introduce the Express checkout methods before checkout. So in many cards, you guys cart many car flies out, and then you see it. Amazon Pay Google Pay, you know, Apple Pay, just so as soon as it's like instant, as soon as they add to cart, they see it. So it's before they even that's the checkout funnel. So we find that that's a that's a good conversion left. And also, to your point, that's an easy place to personalize. So if you know that this is someone who likes Amazon Pay or Apple Pay, then you can only show that one, show it up high in the mini cart as soon as it flies out. They know that that that's that's the option that you know, that's their preferred option. Is there.

Aaron Conant 33:39

What are the what is the future of payments, I guess look like so a lot of things have changed over the past like two to three years. I'll say even this, the next question that kind of pops in is what is what's next in this space as a whole. So I'll take that to Cherise. And then you know, Blair, I'll kick it to you for what you would like to see if Sharif doesn't answer it.

Cherise Barsell 34:06

Um, yeah, I mean, I guess there's two parts, like what is payment, the future of payments looks like and what is the future for Amazon Pay. But I think at a high level, there's two big opportunities that we see. One is less sexy, but I think very interesting, which is around authentication. So we'll certainly see authentication evolving. This is a hard and a fun space. So we already see Amazon creating new in store biometric payments with Amazon, palm Amazon, one where you can pay with the palm of your hands. And we will continue to innovate and keep customers safe while reducing friction again, like those two things are really hard to balance. Again, you don't want account takeover, you want their account to be safe, but you also don't want them to have to go through five different points of verification in order to say like yes, I just want to buy this. There's that So like I said, a good portion of our customers don't need to complete any sort of OTP or password challenge, we share authentication with But we'll see that number grow. And we'll also see more sophistication in spotting bad guys. And I'm sure that Amazon pay is not the only one thinking about that, that that's an interesting space. And there's new technology that can support us. They're both from biometrics and blockchain and all sorts of interesting things to keep to keep customers secure. Maybe the more sexy answer to that is voice, which we also see growing tremendously, it's still so small, but that growth rate is comparable to what we saw in mobile, how many years ago. So it starts small, but pay attention to that, because we do see, even today, more than half of shoppers track all of their deliveries. And they want peace of mind knowing that where their packages and where they need it. So providing proactive communication, through Alexa with a delivery experience, you can boost their satisfaction and brand loyalty and reduce anxiety around around shipments. So Alexa is not just to place orders, but also know the full order experience. And you see that continuing to evolve. One thing when we chatted earlier, Aaron, that is maybe interesting here, too. I don't know if I? Well, maybe it's one of the big things also is you would share the stat about 16% of 18 to 35 year olds not having a credit card. And I think that that's interesting, we see that evolving most rapidly in Japan, where customers are primarily wanting to pay with gift cards and points as their as their primary currency. So I do expect that trend to continue to evolve in the US and other markets as well. Yeah,

Aaron Conant 37:04

it's just, you know, coming out of the last financial crisis, you know, the administration had put in, you know, made it illegal to advertise credit cards on a college campus or, and our handout, you know, free swag that goes along with it. And with that, there's a massive decline in people getting credit cards. I mean, I remember walking on campus, and you know, getting four credit cards and four t shirts and four water bottles. It was awesome. And that's kind of been rebuilt as a whole. And as that, you know, that demographic has gotten older, they've, you know, not gone after credit cards, and there's, you know, some of the new payment options that are out there that people are tying it to like the buy now pay later the pay in fours, which Yeah, you were saying there's a new one every other week that's jumping into the space. But Blair, if I if I kick it over to you, what are you know, what would you like to see happen in this space? Besides Amazon Pay in Canada? Um,

Blair Rafuse 38:03

yeah. So I think the buy now pay later. I think that's. And I think, of course, we saw that in 2020 was huge. I think that's going to continue to grow. Of course, I think debit cards to your point is going to continue to grow. I think security around debit cards, I think will increase in. And, yeah, so security, debit cards Pay Now, by now pay later. biometrics, I agree with that. Just, you know, anything to think it's gonna just continue to evolve where it just gets easier and easier where it's, you know, it's like, it's hard to, it's hard to imagine how easier from that is now, but I do think it is going to happen.

Aaron Conant 38:56

Jump in.

Cherise Barsell 38:57

Oh, I just wanted to say when you had mentioned earlier, Aaron, is interesting because there's two parts of of credit card, right? One is I don't want to carry on have a card with me, I just want an account that has my information, right? Like that's one trend that we see evolve. So, so that's, that was more what I was speaking to around gift cards and points. But the other part of not wanting credit or credit cards is a bit different, right? Because we don't see them not wanting credit. They just want a different type of credit, like installments and buy now pay later on and we actually see increased credit card usage in Europe since the pandemic, right because everybody's moving online. You see that different markets are reacting differently. But the overall trend that we see is that we we need something more customer obsessed, more customer friendly, just transparent in terms of what kinds of interest they're paying and when They'll pay that interest. And then also just making it easier, so they don't have to be tied to a physical card.

Aaron Conant 40:08

Okay, so we use Reese first, and they would go to Blair, how do you handle fraud as a whole? Because fraud is a major concern, right? And just had a question come in a restaurant as a whole?

Cherise Barsell 40:21

Yeah, I think I can start us off Blair. And we look at it on a lot of different levels, but basically through the funnel. So first, we don't want customers to even get early. We don't want fraudsters to even get into the account. Right. So we do that from the authentication phase methods we talked about early in the account takeover. So we have lots of fraud models. To help us make sure that we're only letting the good guys into the account. We also do additional checks, then at postorder, to make sure that we're only letting the transaction process if we feel good about the customer, because we have different data points at that at that point in terms of what card is being used, and how much is being charged. So those additional data points can help us triangulate as well. We offer our merchants purchase protection. So that if there are issues and we're covering that costs, so yep, those are just some some high level, high level waiver handling from a customer perspective, we also offer obviously, account protection for the customer so that they don't have to worry about that. If there if there is anything that we do the cracks.

Aaron Conant 41:32

Awesome. Blair out here already? How do you how do you look at that fraud as a whole.

Blair Rafuse 41:36

So from the brand side, we were looking for purchase protection. So what we're we leverage a number of different vendors such as signify and count and also native Shopify fraud analysis, we don't want someone to have to manually review orders. So if it gets through the shop, then like, the first step of you know, if it if the order makes it through Shopify, which it passes their initial fraud checks. We don't want we don't want to have to, you know, have someone manually going and reviewing and then having the liability to the chargeback. So we leverage these these other vendors. And if if there's a chargeback or if there's some kind of fraud, they they cover that for us. So it's kind of like a set it and forget it for us. So if there's like a medium or high risk, those vendors will they integrate with Shopify? And they will, they can cancel the order or automatically capture payment based on fraud assessment. So those are those are the three ways that we approach from

Aaron Conant 42:41

Just a quick note as well, you know, just have a couple more questions that we can get to if you have questions you want us to ask drop them in the question section, we'll make sure that we get them answered. So the other one came in is around you mentioned Alexa, and how does Amazon Pay faded with voice commerce? And then you said voice commerce is, you know, growing at the same rate as you saw mobile adoption? I that's pretty impressive. I think that's a key takeaway for people if that's you're seeing how do people invest in that side of, you know, voice commerce as a whole?

Cherise Barsell 43:20

Yeah. So with with Amazon Pay, you can integrate with, with Alexa as well. So you can offer Alexa skills through Amazon pay and payment skills there. So the most popular that we have is with my stuff. And so when you integrate when you onboard with Amazon Pay, you can integrate those so customers can ask where's my stuff and understand when their deliveries coming? Yeah, I mean, growth with mobile initially was small, right with mobile commerce especially. And then we saw those rates get higher and higher on a small volume. So that's exactly what we're seeing now with Alexa. So still a small volume but still high growth rate.

Aaron Conant 44:05

Awesome. It's super intriguing. It really is. I haven't adopted it yet. Blair, how have you are you playing around with voice commerce?

Blair Rafuse 44:17

Um, it's something that we're looking at but we're not currently leveraging outside of the the native features that come with Amazon Pay. But But I do often ask Alexa, where's my stuff from Amazon? My kids do as well. We have to turn them off around Christmas time.

Aaron Conant 44:36

Yeah, you do have to your delivery of Avengers LEGO set doesn't go over, you know, really, really well. I mean, the kids love it. Kind of ruins the experience as a whole though. I think there you know, there are key things that we didn't touch on today that Blair you thought we would get to and then I'll kick it over to Cherise as well. You know questions that you thought might come up that you get asked asked on a routine basis or things you're looking for in the future, or that maybe it's even a pain point that you're dealing with.

Blair Rafuse 45:11

Just, you know, what we're doing to improve the overall customer experience, not just through payments, but you know, other other areas of the site and general experience. You know, I think that sells self service returns is great. We love the service that does like instant credit, which is similar to what Amazon does, actually, that will give you the credit before they actually receive the item. So that gives it the the opportunity for the user to then set spend the money right away as they, as they initiate their own return their their own RMA. Things like SMS marketing, where we interact with the customers to be able to track them, track their package and things like that their SMS, also be able to interact with our customer service through SMS. We want to have, you know, we want our customer service to be available on every channel that our customers in. So Facebook, Instagram, email, SMS phone, live chat. You know, the whole gamut?

Aaron Conant 46:20

Yeah, 50 different partners that we didn't need five to seven years ago. I it's crazy, isn't it? Yeah. Cherise things on your side that you thought, Hey, I'm sure that we're going to would come up or maybe you answer routinely.

Cherise Barsell 46:37

What Blair talks about ties in a bit to the omnichannel question. So like, Where do I need to be engaging with customers. So we definitely see that growing trend, especially with COVID, as more merchants are moving online, and how they create office experiences where customers might be starting on in one area, but then competing in another area. And we also see that with Alexa, obviously, so you do the transaction online, but then you still want to be able to track and get the same convenience of Alexa for for tracking the purchase. I think the we we touched on a few other topics. And I don't know if we want to spend a few minutes to go to go more into them. But we talked about buy now pay later. There's an interesting topic that that comes up sometimes around, like, Is it right for everybody? Okay, like should all emergency offering, right. So maybe just briefly, and if we want to go into more detail, most popular installment options do carry significantly higher fees. So the merchant is spending money funding the installment that could go into higher operating margins, or more conventional promotions that customers care about. So I do think that it's, it's right for some merchants, I was just talking to a jewelry merchant recently. So yes, of course, you need to be offering that. But there's three things that you should look at, like what's the list you're getting from that? What are the fees, your pain associated with that? And then what are the Co-marketing commitments that help you actually drive traffic? So I think that there's, you know, just interesting variables around that one. And I think those are the ones--

Aaron Conant 48:23

Do you have the the ability to do marketing alongside of a brand as well.

Cherise Barsell 48:31

Yeah, yeah, so we definitely offer co marketing opportunities. We we have our own assets where we market to our customers whether that's like mail and go out to customers over the holidays which they love around like the Christmas guide and spring died and then also our our site that we draw customers to in terms of marketing. So there's definitely co marketing opportunities that that we find valuable and we've done that too on merchant side sites as well especially merchants who are newer to DTC they do see significant benefit offering an advertising Amazon Pay initially to help build trust around their brands.

Aaron Conant 49:15

Awesome, you know is we probably have about two and a half minutes here and I want to kind of just jump around back and forth I go to Blair first like you know key thoughts key takeaways you know, things that people should be thinking about I mean, you did kind of rattle through some of them hey, SMS returns we'd love to hear like a from this you know, improving the eCommerce experience as a whole you know start to finish what are some you know, he thinks people should be should be thinking about

Blair Rafuse 49:45

Um, yes, so obviously digital marketing is important. Target targeting and retargeting affiliate networks. What else, the, email marketing is big as some mass marketing, as you know, exclusive as just to get people's email addresses so you can market to them. We're also doing a lot, we're investing heavily in 3D modeling for, to do 3D galleries as well as augmented reality. So we're in the apparel business. So a lot of denim brands, we have to differentiate ourselves from, you know, a lot of the other brands out there. So we're constantly looking to innovate, and improve the online experience for our customers. So we're sort of always looking at what's what's the cutting edge, what makes sense for us. And it's like, every other day, we're evaluating new technologies. So it's very exciting.

Aaron Conant 50:44

Yeah. And you have to be right, because every other day, there's somebody new coming out, that's making somebody you know, out out of day. So no, I think that's a key takeaway in and of itself, right, be constantly re evaluating your current stack of service providers in different options. Cherise kind of like key takeaways, as we wrap it up here and allow people enough time to get on to the next meeting without being late.

Cherise Barsell 51:09

Yeah. I mean, I think the takeaway from my site is offer offer Express checkout options that are going to improve conversion, offer fraud, protection, and help customers trust the experience. So I think that there's a lot of value into making it easy for customers and allowing them to focus on your brand versus the checkout experience.

Aaron Conant 51:33

Awesome. I love it. Well, again, Blair. Cherise, thanks so much. for your time today. You super insightful. Thanks for being such great friends and supporters to the network. Hopefully, we'll meet in person at an upcoming event sometime soon. I think some of the first places we're doing it are going to be in Dallas, but also in New York, for sure. So with that, I want to say you know, quick thank you to you quick, thank you to everybody who's able to dial in. If you want to jump out, you know, going back to Michael Kors, and the first one, we did QR codes. Here they are, if you want to see a list of our upcoming events, you know, feel free to sign up for any of them. You want to schedule time with me, I love having conversations with brands. We don't sell anything here at BWG Connect, we just do networking, knowledge sharing, but I do connect with 30 to 40 brands a week would love to have that opportunity to chat with you. You know more than happy to share across the board, anything in digital strategy help with partner selection. If you're looking to hire connect you with the talent team, whatever it might be, we're here to help you as a brand any way we can. That being said we're gonna go ahead and wrap it up. Thanks again to everybody who dialed in today. Look for a follow up email. Thanks, Cherise. Thanks, Blair. Everybody, take care. We're going to wrap it up right here. everybody. Have a great day. Hey, look forward to having you at a future event already. Thanks again, everybody.

Blair Rafuse 52:48

Thanks so much.

Read More
Read Less

What is BWG Connect?

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.
envelopephone-handsetcrossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram