How to Reduce Purchase Friction and Increase Sales

How to Reduce Purchase Friction and Increase Sales

Losing customers as they’re making a purchase is tragic – and easily avoided. Learning how to reduce purchase friction will not only increase sales, it will create customer loyalty. After all, a friction-free experience is something consumers hold dear. At Reach, we have an amazing way to do exactly that while giving you an edge over competitors in global markets!

Swing and a Miss

Image of a baseball game at home plate. The player is swinging the bat but it appears the he is missing the ball.

Merchants spend lots of time and lots of money on advertising, on creating visually stunning displays of their products, and on honing their websites to attract new and returning customers. Customers find themselves on those sites ready to make a purchase as a direct result of those efforts.

By the time they’re ready to make a purchase, most customers have done quite a bit of due diligence. They’ve read reviews. They’ve comparison shopped for the best features. They know what to expect in terms of product price. Now, the moment of purchase has come, and they’re ready to commit and spend their hard-earned money.

It’s at this moment, when the customer is about to commit, that really counts. If they hit roadblocks as they’re trying to pay, they’re not only disappointed by the experience, they’re resentful because you’ve wasted their time. In today’s breakneck race to get everything done quickly online, wasting customer time is a cardinal sin.

What roadblocks are they hitting? You may not even be aware of some of them, as most frustrated folks will just pop over to your competitor rather than waste time providing purchase feedback. A few may write a scathing review of your less-than-ideal ordering process, but unless you’re looking for it, you may miss it. And for each grumble you catch whispered about you, be aware that there are 100 more feeling the same way. That’s a lot of potential sales to miss out on, and a lot of alienated customers.

Let’s unpack purchase friction to show you how to fix it.


Unpacking Purchase Friction

There are a few scenarios that cover 99% of your purchase friction woes – and they hinge on three concepts: complicated, inflexible, and tone-deaf.

Scenario #1

Image of a wallet with two visa cards inside.

Customers are trying to pay with their bank card, which is accepted locally without a problem,

 but your site doesn’t offer it as a payment option. Are you catering to these needs or is your business tone deaf, assuming a one-size-fits-all approach?

Scenario #2

Your customer has entered in all of their info and the card is immediately flagged as fraudulent and rejected. But their card is 100% valid. How frustrating! Your fraud detection is working, for sure – but it’s overly restrictive and inflexible, unable to account for a world of variables. Having a flexible, adaptable fraud detection process that’s optimized for global processing is required for optimal international customer experience. 

Scenario #3

The exchange rate offered is confusing. Is it based on last week’s rates? Or is it updated in real-time, showing the much lower exchange rate available today? Will they pay what you’re displaying on the site? Or will the amount differ drastically? Exchange rates can figure prominently in purchase decisions. And it’s the same story when it comes to returns – are they taking a risk making this purchase today? Will the exchange rate they’ve captured today be honored tomorrow if they need to make a return? And is this all very clearly laid out on your website or are you making it too complicated for them to bother?

Let’s explore solutions to these problem scenarios.


Saying Goodbye to Purchase Friction

Consumers come to your site to make a purchase after a long line of decision-making. Having them hit any of the roadblocks described above is counter-productive for any merchant, so let’s see how to do away with each.

Lacking Local Currency. When it comes to local currency, it’s important to understand local payment methods without offering unnecessary and irrelevant options for those folks to sift through. Having too many options can be just as annoying as too few, as it adds lag time to your site and can frustrate your shopper. Having a partner who understands local payment options, and better still, automates the process on your site for you, saving you tons of research and coding. 

With Reach as a partner, you’re able to expand into each geographical area and update your site with relevant payment options as you go. Together, we can make sure that the right options are popping up for the right people, at the right time. That’s key. 

Photograph of a walk signal with the stop hand illuminatedFalse Fraud Alerts. Ensuring legitimate sales aren’t being flagged as fraud and causing a nightmare for your genuine potential customers is super important. When you flag the wrong payments as fraudulent, you’ve not only declined their payment, you’ve flagged it as dangerous and that could affect them with their next purchase. In fact, it may result in their card being cancelled by their carrier out of an abundance of caution. Card issuers do not take unnecessary risks and would rather inconvenience a few folks instead of losing money to many. And that inconvenience could be blamed on you. 

Working with a partner that understands international fraud is one of the most important things you can do to make sure that legitimate customers get through to your site, but fraudsters don’t. 

Exchange Rate Confusion. What happens if someone makes a purchase and wants to return something a week later and the exchange rate has fluctuated wildly? Do they take the loss or do you? In our Merchant of Record model – neither. We guarantee the exchange rate captured at point of sale is good for 90 days. This not only makes your customer happy, it saves merchants many hours of confusing calculations and adjustments, which ultimately results in a loss.  

Whether or not you absorb the financial loss in an exchange rate dispute right now, there are reputational costs to consider, as your customer will not be pleased, and they won’t return, either. But, they will tell others all about the negative experience – you can count on that! Not to mention the purchase friction that this act has created – and after all of your hard work to do the exact opposite.

Make sure your ecommerce site is ready to accommodate global consumers and provide them with a seamless purchase experience. Otherwise, you’re not only leaving money on the table, you’re decreasing your overall market share each time you create unnecessary friction.  


Reach out and we can show you how to simplify all of it. With Reach, you can continue to focus on creating the amazing products and services you’re selling!


Reach simplifies cross-border ecommerce for forward-thinking organizations with ambitious global expansion goals.

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