In the world of ecommerce, businesses are constantly looking for opportunities to outperform their competitors. A few weeks ago we talked about the importance customer support and how it can set you apart. This week we’re focusing on how you can improve your checkout process, avoiding some of the common road blocks that lead to an abandoned cart.
Here are eight tips you can use to improve the checkout experience on your site.
Focus on Easy Navigation and Simple Forms
A well optimized checkout page should feature a simple and easy to understand navigation that keeps the customer focused on checkout. To help keep the process as streamlined as possible avoid forms that require unnecessary information.
Any distractions in the checkout process can result in your customers losing interest so it’s best to remove as many obstacles as possible. Be sure to clear the page of unneeded links or form elements and present your customers with the simplest page possible.
Visual Progress Elements
Depending on you products and the information you require, your checkout process will likely involve several steps to complete. For many customers, particularly new ones, this leaves them wondering exactly how much more they need to do to complete the purchase.
Adding a visual indicator is an excellent way to reassure customers that they are nearly there, and if your process has more than two steps, an indicator helps keep customers from becoming frustrated and abandoning their carts.
One important note to consider is that when presented with an indicator that shows a large number of steps, customers can become intimidated resulting in premature abandonment, so plan your indicator carefully.
Multiple Payment Options
Forcing your customers to use traditional credit card transactions can have a major impact on your conversion rate. In today’s ecommerce environment your customers are much more likely to complete their transaction if they are given choices on how to pay.
Digital payments (Google Wallet, PayPal, and Apple Pay) are starting to gain popularity around the world and if you don’t have them on your site, you could be losing business.
“Continue as Guest” Option
While collecting customer data may seem critical, asking visitors to register for your site as part of the checkout process has been known to turn people off. Allowing customers to continue through the checkout process as a guest, rather than forcing sign-up, can be the difference between a completed purchase and an abandoned cart.
The leads you generate through forced registration will likely be less valuable then the lost sale. Consider asking customers to sign up after the transaction is complete or from within the receipt email.
A shocking number of abandoned carts (some estimates are as high as 50%) are the result of unexpected costs for shipping and handling. One of the best ways to avoid this problem is to simply offer free shipping.
Whether you decide on conditional free shipping (orders over $50 for instance) or include the cost of ‘free’ shipping in the item’s price, avoiding price-shock in the final stages of a purchase is a great way to reduce cart abandonment.
Many people (especially those in the Middle East) become nervous when completing online transactions. If your security credentials aren’t prominently displayed this adds to the anxiety and can stop a transaction in its tracks.
Your checkout page should always highlight your site’s security certifications so your customers know they are dealing with as reputable business. Sharing customer testimonials and offing product guarantees can also be very helpful in establishing trust with your customers.
As we described earlier a clean and easy to navigate checkout page is extremely important, but your checkout page does offers some interesting opportunities to cross-sell products that relate to your customer’s purchase.
The key to an effective product suggestion is to share small accessories or add-ons (below the cost of the initial item in the cart) and offer a simple ‘Add to Cart’ button. The suggestions should not interfere with the checkout process but should instead feel like an added service or reminder.
Done correctly, offering additional products might even result in grateful customers (“I forgot I needed cables!”) and increased sales.
Once a customer has completed their transaction you might think the process is complete, but from a customer’s perspective they may have no idea what the next steps will be. Be sure to offer a friendly thank you and provide a clear confirmation of their purchase. Adding post-purchase messages to your checkout page is a great way to reassure customers and alleviate any fears.
Bonus: Social Sharing
In today’s social world, people love to share and allowing your customers to share their recent purchase on social media sites is an effective (and free) form of advertising. Incorporate popular sharing buttons on your confirmation page to help customers share their latest purchase.
A lot of people overlook checkout pages when it comes to optimization simply because it’s commonly accepted that if your visitor gets to the checkout page, they’re going to be a customer. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and in reality you need to consider your checkout page as the final barrier, not the finish line. Take the time to experiment with different designs and try to incorporate as many of the above tips as possible. We promise it will make a difference.
Looking for inspiration? We’ve prepared a template to help you start designing the perfect checkout page.
Have you ever abandoned a purchase because of an awful checkout page? Be sure to share your story below in the comments or reach out to on twitter @PAYFORT.