August 7, 2013

Checkout Checklist – If your checkout process doesn’t have this, you’re loosing customers

Checkout abandonment is a challenge for most ecommerce websites. According to a recent study by SeeWhy, an average of 71% of potential customers abandon the checkout process thereby never making the purchase they initially set out to do.  This can be for a number of reasons – finding the checkout process difficult to use/understand,  changing their mind during the transaction and some never really planned to make the purchase in the first place, to name a few.  Whilst there’s not a lot you can do to reduce the instances for the second and third type of abandonment, there’s a lot you can do to reduce shopping car casualties resulting in serious buyers giving up on completing the transaction because they found your website’s checkout process difficult to use.

Progress indicator –  Let the users know where in the checkout process they are, what’s required of them and what is remaining to be done. By having a clearly marked and descriptive progress bar (ideally, somewhere at the top, placed horizontally), users will be more prepared to do what your website needs them to.

Make making changes easy – the shopping cart should display every single item clearly (think product name, any attributes, quantity, size, colour, as applicable) and as importantly, should allow them to change any aspect of it easily.  Simplest thing to do here would be to make the product name a hyperlink apart from the quantity which should be changeable within the cart itself. Having a simple ‘Change’ text and function can also give additional assurance to users that they are making an informed purchase and at will

Peace of mind – if the product comes with any sort of warranty, can be exchanged or returned for a refund, emphasise this during the checkout pages to give users an additional sense of security.

Third party accreditation – If your e-commerce site has third party SSL , then make this prominent during checkout. This will give users the confidence that their personal and financial details will be kept safe and can significantly decrease your website’s checkout abandonment rates.

Save for later – Allow users to save their cart contents and return to your website at a later time to complete the purchase.  We live in a world of distractions where we’re constantly bombarded with various things that require our “immediate” attention. Allowing users to save their cart means they’ll be more inclined to return after having made the initial commitment of having spent the time to browse your site and add items to cart. Yes, there’s a chance that some may never return, however, based on our experience of having built 00’s of online shops, I can tell you that over a 30 day period, this feature can in fact increase overall conversion rates.  You can also have a simple auto responder email set up where the user is automatically emailed within x days if they haven’t returned to checkout.

Require minimum commitment – Allow your users to checkout without having to register.  Jared Spool’s “The $300 million button” article demonstrates how one company increased sales by 45% resulting in $300 million of additional sales generated.

After sales service – If your product comes with after sales service or support, make this clear.  There may be instances depending on the product you are selling that this may not apply to you.  However, you can still show to your users that you are here to help even after the sale is made. For example, a fashion retailer may offer free advice or styling tips to use the product just purchased.   Online shoppers are much more sophisticated now and there’s a good chance that they’re making an informed buying decision in which case they may not need the support anyway. However, knowing you’re there helps give them an additional sense of security and satisfaction with their purchase.

I hope you find this useful. If you’ve got a tip of your own that has helped make a tangible difference to your bottom line, I would love to hear about it.

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About Shirish Agarwal

Shirish Agarwal is the founder of Flow20 and looks after the PPC and SEO side of things. Shirish also regularly contributes to leading digital marketing publications such as Hubspot, SEMRush, Wordstream and Outbrain. Connect with him on LinkedIn.