Checking out using only your browser just took a step closer this month, Tech Strategist Harry Bevan explores what this could mean for eCommerce stores.

Google recently announced that their latest version of Chrome on Desktop is going to include a feature known as the “Payment Request API”. This is a web standard that’s been agreed across all browsers to allow users to purchase goods using a standardised checkout process embedded in their browser.

In a study conducted by Google, they found 65.9% of mobile users abandoned the checkout process. With common issues being “difficult to read or understand”, or “too long”, the Payment Request API aims to streamline this process for users.

But what does this look like and what does it mean for sites that accept payment online? Well instead of entering your address, and payment options into the website itself, the user gets a window pop up from the browser. This offers a number of advantages for the user:

Saved Card & Contact Details — Because the information is coming from your device – it means it’s easier for the browsers to securely store your credit card data than a website is, and many users will have much of the data stored already, or if not, after their first use

Universal interface — standard interface will start to become more easily recognisable and easier to use, independent of the design of the site itself

Increased Peace of Mind — customers will become familiar with the concept and may feel more confident entering or allowing their details from this standard box. But this comes with a bit of a health warning – it’s not actually any more secure, the browser still sends the details direct to the website. Android and apple pay (which can be integrated into this process, address this by using a token system that avoids sending your actual card details)

For developers and ecommerce stores this offers a real opportunity to streamline the checkout and help reduce that checkout abandonment rate.

We’ve mocked up a quick example of how this might be implemented for one of our clients, Mad4Tools. The addition of a “Quick Buy” button allows an instant checkout via the Payment Request API, including delivery calculation. The Add to Basket would allow the user to access multiple products, with the payment request API showing later.

Some retailers will find the inability to add messaging into the checkout process limiting, but I think retailers will start to see huge increases in customer confidence once this is implemented.

Google’s announcement is a big step in the future adoption of the standard as Chrome amounts to 60% of users. Chrome for Android support is already present, and Apple Pay provides similar functionality on iPhones and Safari on the desktop.

The mainstream adoption of this technology is likely to revolve around a few key big-name retailers experimenting with it, in order to raise awareness, and for payment APIs such as Stripe to integrate it into their offering. So watch this space!

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

By Harry Bevan on 15/09/2017