As the countdown to Black Friday — and its partner in crime Cyber Monday — descends, retailers are plotting last minute strategies to help make every minute spent online count. But what influence do a few minutes really have in the grand scheme of online shopping? Well, when it comes to the checkout, minutes — if not, seconds — can make or break the buy.

In fact, according to the 2022 Buy Button Report: Accelerating Checkout Optimisation, 68 seconds is all it takes for consumers to process their purchase. This is a whopping 17 per-cent faster than the checkout process was in 2020. This data tells us that more options there are to ‘buy’, the faster customers convert their basket into a transaction — which then allows them to continue on their consumption spree.

There is however a downside to this trend. With the decrease in time spent ‘checking out’ a purchase, customer expectations are rising. An experience that currently 68 seconds to convert a purchase will soon lead to an expectation of 40 seconds, meaning retailers need to look at new ways to streamline their checkout process to meet the growing expectations set by the e-commerce era.

But, when you dig deeper, it’s not just about speed. It’s also about experience. Customers are looking at new ways to check out and services like digital wallets are allowing them to do so in a way that’s seamless and convenient to their existing digital channels. This has been the driving force in the overwhelming popularity of solutions such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and more, that offer seamless checkout options and the flexibility in underlying payment methods. Data also confirms the sector isn’t slowing down. In Asia Pacific, the use of digital wallets in e-commerce are predicted to rise to over US$3.1 trillion by 2025 alone.

Analysing these trends in correlation, we uncover a unique opportunity for retailers to not only convert customer purchases but do so in a way that rival’s competition through seamless experiences — and it begins with embedded finance. Customers want speed, without losing out on the experience offered by leading payment and finance applications that sit within their own ecosystems. White labelled embedded finance solutions allow retailers to offer this service, without needing to build a multi-million dollar back-end infrastructure from scratch. 

The question probably looming on your mind right now is — why bother competing with an established market? Well, when branded, embedded finance solutions give retailers the upper edge of flexing their brand affinity with customers to tap on convenient services and products. Similarly to the impulse chocolate bar you buy at the supermarket checkout, it’s all about offering the product in the right place, a the right time.

When a customer comes to your site, they have stated their intention that they wish to purchase from you — not from a third party. After all, there’s nothing more frustrating that clicking the ‘buy button’ only to be directed to a third-party website to complete your purchase. This is a vantage point that can serve retailers well in the new age of e-commerce, particularly as the existing payment ecosystems consolidate and battle it out for who will win. Think of a branded embedded finance solution as ‘taking the high road’.

There are various shapes and sizes that embedded finance solutions come in, too — it’s not just Buy Now, Pay Later. Retailers can look at everything from credit cards, insurance and even superannuation offerings as part of their embedded finance solution offerings. Such products and services don’t just create a great experience for the customer, but so to do they become a new revenue channel for the retailer.

In the four days over Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2021, Australians spent an estimated $8 billion in retail. While the ‘buy’ button takes many shapes and sizes in today’s e-commerce environment, in a time-poor society, every second counts. Retailers must look at new ways to capitalise on the million-dollar opportunity the buy button presents not just this Black Friday, but every day, in order to deliver seamless experiences that keep customers coming back for more.

Willie Pang is CEO of Limepay.