Optimizing Payment Conversion Rates in the Gaming Industry for web-based games

Optimizing checkout and payment conversion rates is crucial for online gaming. Check out some of the tips we prepared for you based on our experience.

Marek Pietrzak
Marek Pietrzak

Optimizing Payment Conversion Rates in the Gaming Industry for web-based games

The gaming industry is a highly competitive market with millions of users making online purchases every day. High competition increases costs of acquiring an active user hence, the KPIs of the game, for instance, buying share of users, need to be satisfactory (for instance above 2.0% in case of buying share) to make the game profitable. Buying share could be split into conversion of users who, while playing, decide to make a purchase and start the checkout flow, and the checkout conversion rate. In this article, we will look in more details how to increase the checkout (and payment) conversion rate.

Here are some tips to optimize payment conversion rates in the gaming industry checkout based on what worked for us with our clients. Please note that in this article we focus on games based in the browser (could be browser-native games or mobile games converted and published in a browser).

Offer Multiple Payment Options

Provide customers with a range of payment options such as credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, and others. This will cater to the preferences of different customers and increase the likelihood of a successful transaction.

What is important to realise is that a lot of countries have payment methods that are very local, hence despite implementing global payment methods such as credit and debit cards, your game might have lower conversion rates in certain countries for instance, Netherlands where IDEAL is extremely popular, or Brasil with local card schemes - Hipercard and Elo, or Germany with girocard, Sofort being among top payment methods.

There are also some payment methods more popular with gamers such as Paysafecard available among others in the UK and US; and digital wallets such as Skrill or SkinsCash. 

On top of that, monitoring success rates of each payment method post implementation is crucial. Having too many payment options might lead to a decreased conversion rate. Some payment methods also take a long time for the transaction to be settled, for instance, offline payment methods such as OXXO in Mexico - voucher-based payment method where the user pays in a traditional store with a voucher code generated during the purchase.

Show top payment methods first

Giving players the choice is an effective way to increase payment flow conversion rate, but giving them too many options is countereffective. Suggest the best payment methods for the users so they can quickly continue to finalisation if they want to. We have used the relative term “the best payment method” on purpose. This can be defined by your company rather than the users. Some things to consider when prioritizing payment methods: popularity in a given market, conversion rate, time to convert, time to settle, payment cost, chargebacks, 1-click payment option for returning paying users.

In the example below you can see the first options the user can see - highlighted 3 with additional 5 popular payment methods; and hidden “Show More Methods” with additional 20+ payment methods.

Example: Xsolla top payment methods vs all payment methods for gaming

You need to be careful with certain countries though. For instance in Sweden you cannot prioritze credit payment options (e.g. Klarna Pay later or credit cards) over debit payment options and credit payment methods cannot be pre-selected. 

The regulation states: The government proposes to introduce a requirement for payment service providers to present payment methods in a certain way in e-commerce. If a consumer buying goods or services online can choose a payment method where a credit is not issued, such payment method must be displayed first. A payment method which means that a credit is provided may not be pre-selected if there are other payment methods. For more information see specific regulation here.

Use saved (tokenized) payment details and prioritze them

Saved payment details can significantly increase the conversion rate of your payments. Whenever possible, make sure to enable 1-click payments for recurring purchases. Example of relevant payment methods include: credit & debit cards, Paypal (this can be enabled for your users through Paypal customer support on your account), Sofort (the actual subsequent payments are done through SEPA).

Make sure to pre-choose the relevant saved payment method so the user can purchase the item quickly and go back to playing!

Localize the experience

It is key for users to have a local gaming experience. It is even more important when it comes to payments. If your payments infrastructure is built separately to your game, make sure it supports the languages you offer in the games, other than just English. You should cover the main markets of your gamers, and at least 80-90% of your user base.

Enable guest purchases

Not every player wants to create an account with your game immediately. They often just want to play to try it out or just play for a few minutes to have fun without the burden of creating yet another account. We have seen significant drop-out rates at checkout when user is forced to create an account before making a payment.

If the user likes your game and enjoys the experience of playing it - he will come back to you even if he makes a guest purchase!

Enable social sign-up

As mentioned above, creating accounts on new platforms is seen as unnecessary by many users and hurts the experience. By enabling social sign-ups with platforms such as Google, Facebook or Apple, you can significantly increase sign-ups during your checkout.

Streamline the Checkout Process

The checkout process should be simple, quick, and user-friendly. Reduce the number of steps involved in the checkout process to minimize cart abandonment. Ensure that the payment process is secure and that customers can complete it in a few clicks.

Kill unnecessary steps where possible or merge them into one. For example if you have a step for billing address for tax reasons combine it with the payment step, i.e. the user can input his address while giving the credit card details. Every extra step in the checkout decreases your conversion rate.

Implement Mobile Optimization

With the increasing use of mobile devices for online purchases, it's essential to optimize the checkout process for mobile. Ensure that the checkout process is mobile-friendly and can be completed easily on smaller screens.

You can also offer your users mobile hand-off - redirecting your users to finish the payment on their phones in the mobile app of a specific payment method. This could work for instance for Paypal or Swish where users can scan the QR code in a browser and finalize the payment , but it works really well for online banking or open-banking direct payments where the browser versions of the payment flows are much more cumbersome than the sames ones in the banking app.

Display Trust Signals and Address Customer Concerns

Displaying trust signals such as secure payment badges, money-back guarantees, and testimonials can increase customer confidence in the checkout process and reduce the likelihood of cart abandonment.

For gamers it is especially important to receive a refund in case something goes wrong with the purchase, i.e. the payment went through but the user has not received the in-game product because of an error and wants to receive his money back instead of receiving the product since he is not in the playing mood anymore.

Provide customers with clear and concise information about the payment process and address any concerns they may have. For example, customers may be concerned about the security of their personal and financial information. Assure them that their information is secure and that the checkout process is encrypted.

Implement analytics and track your users’ behaviour

Make sure you measure your users behaviour at every step. Without proper analytics, you cannot improve your checkout and payment conversion rates. You need to be aware of your users’ conversions, drop outs, timing of each step, error reasons. You should be able to separate user errors, system error (your system / internal error) and third party errors, so you can start tackling the main issues.

Tracking can also help you to measure impact of the changes and improvements implemented. You should add a tag to your analytics for major implementation, i.e. launch of ApplePay. With proper analytics, you can also do A/B tests to check what works better for your users.

Your events should have properties that help you distinguish between different users, for instance, user type (signed-up vs guest or first time purchase vs returning purchase), payment method chosen (e.g. credit card, BLIK) or location of your user (country, city) etc.

Test and Refine

Finally, regularly test and refine the checkout process to ensure that it's optimized for maximum conversion rates. Test different variations of the checkout process and analyze the results to determine what works best for your customers. And remember the following rules:

  • Assume nothing (never assume a solution if you can test/check/ask your users, your users might have completely different views than you might imagine)
  • What can go wrong will go wrong ;)

If you stick to them you will be able to move forward with the optimization of your conversion rates.

In conclusion, optimizing payment conversion rates in the gaming industry checkout for games in a browser is crucial to ensuring maximum revenue and customer satisfaction. By offering multiple payment options, streamlining the checkout process, implementing mobile optimization, displaying trust signals, addressing customer concerns, and regularly testing and refining, you can optimize payment conversion rates and succeed in the competitive gaming industry.

If you are facing other issues, or if you do not agree - we would love to hear your opinion! :) 

Published by
Marek Pietrzak
April 2023