One of the most frustrating experiences for me personally as an avid online shopper is the thrill of finding that perfect discounted product for which I have been searching for MONTHS only to get to the checkout process to find it rife with various complications to the point that I end up canceling my purchase altogether. I walk away from my laptop totally frustrated because I, like any other consumer, look to the internet for a fast, effective means of buying what I want and when I want it with as little complication as possible. The whole reason I avoid going to the store is for a simpler, faster checkout and I’m betting you feel the same way.
Unfortunately, many business owners don’t realize their e-commerce checkout is frustrating to consumers. You might be one such entrepreneur contributing to this frustration. Let me save you AND your business by telling you upfront that you need to optimize your checkout page. You might have the most fantastic e-commerce website in the whole of the universe, but if your checkout page is tedious and difficult to navigate, your customers won’t have the patience to complete a purchase.
Here’s the skinny: there are six things your checkout should have in order to maximize results:
One step checkout
equally as satisfying as one-stop shopping, limiting the number of steps in your checkout is a great way to increase the number of purchases in your store. Traditionally the checkout process on an E-Commerce store can be 4+ steps, with the worst offenders being up to 10 steps before a purchase is completed. Utilizing a one-step checkout option will allow your customer to fill in all of their details on a single page, before completing their purchase.
People are used to getting what they want quickly these days, especially when it comes to a fast checkout experience. If possible, include an option for guest checkouts for customers (like me) who don’t want to waste time making an account. If I’m required to create an account in order to checkout, I’ll go elsewhere to another online retailer who places greater value on my time. While there’s nothing wrong with collecting consumer data, and you absolutely SHOULD, checkout isn’t the best place to accomplish this. In addition, some customers prefer not to share their information, but still want to make a purchase, so a guest checkout is a perfect option for them.
Cart contents and summary
A common pet peeve for consumers is a lack of clarity when reviewing their cart before checking out. I know I appreciate seeing exactly what’s in my cart with a clear price breakdown before hitting “submit”. Consumers appreciate the clarification of seeing their full list of the items to be purchased while having the ability to edit quantities. If the full price isn’t clearly on display and the total price must be manually tallied up prior to checkout, they’re going to move onto your competition.
I like options and that extends to payment methods. If I see only one accepted means of payment at checkout, such as PayPal, I might find another online retailer who accepts credit cards. You really need to provide a variety of payment options for your customers to use. I really like using my credit card because I get frequent flier miles, cash back and other perks that I cannot earn when I shop with PayPal. You will always have loyal PayPal patrons, too, so you should try to keep that as an option, but try to include a selection of payment methods for ease of checkout for those of us who like out credit card perks! Thanks!
Save abandoned carts
This sounds so cold and lonely, but in the event a customer abandons their cart because something came up, or they wanted to revisit at another time, saving their basket is a good idea. I love this option because I will eventually return and, when I do, I love that I won’t have to go back through the annoying process of finding what I want and adding it back in. This simple step goes a long way with busy shoppers who face common life interruptions throughout the day.
This is a BIG DEAL for consumers as unclear shipping options are an immediate turnoff, especially if items are needed urgently. If I can’t see the available options and my cost, it creates confusion regarding when I might receive the items I’ve ordered. Consumers need to see clear shipping options in order to ensure that a birthday gift arrives on time or that the perfect anniversary present arrives on or before the anniversary. Make sure your shipping options are on clear display at checkout to make for a happy shopping experience for your customers.
At the end of the day, your business exists to make you money. Simplifying your ecommerce checkout process for your customers equals more money in your pocket. Don’t forget these simple tips:
- Optimize for a mobile-friendly checkout experience.
- Don’t frustrate shoppers by asking for unnecessary info.
- Offer multiple payment options.
- Remove distractions by using a clean design.
- Eliminate surprise fees.
- Provide a link to customer support.
- Auto-save abandoned cart contents.
- Speed up sign in with a social media login option.
- Send payment confirmations to the consumer email address.
Simple implementation of these steps will offer a big payoff in the end! Don’t neglect your checkout and your customers won’t neglect you!