Understanding Checkout Abandonment
As of 2012, the average online purchase requires approximately 5 steps to go from shopping cart to order confirmation. This means that online shoppers are required to complete tasks across five different pages before completing an order. In an era of instant gratification, this multi-step process seems counterintuitive to the singular prevailing goal: Let’s make more happen in less time.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the average checkout abandonment rate hovers around 56%. A study by the folks over at HubSpot has taken this modern motto and tested it against 40,000 client sites, proving that the simple fact of the matter is this:
There is a direct correlation between the number of steps the customer has to perform and the checkout abandonment rate. According to the study, conversion rates drop by 40% when increasing from 3 forms to 8 forms.
So, how can you slim down the checkout process and make the move from the shopping cart to order confirmation quick and painless? The following tips offer a bit of insight on what you can remove (or replace) to take weight off of the consumer.
Don’t Request Unnecessary Information
As an online retailer, you’ve been through more than your fair share of checkout pages. You know what questions are coming up and you’re ready to fill out the typical fields: name, email, telephone number, billing information, and so forth. Every once in a while, you’ll come across some drop-down menus with optional survey information, such as how you found the site or if you’re likely to refer a friend.
There are some problems with this approach. The obvious issue here is that survey questions do not belong integrated within a checkout form. While these steps may be helpful for some analytics after the purchase, every step you put between the customer and completing the sale will only hurt performance.
If you’d like to survey customers, it’s best to create an entirely separate survey flow independent of the checkout process. These days, however, even the “required” fields can be simplified. Once upon a time, a telephone number was a necessity for every purchase because shipping companies needed an immediate method of contacting a recipient. These days, shippers don’t typically need this piece of data – check with your preferred company to see if you can remove this request from your checkout page.
Input Once, Use Twice
If you’ve been following our blog for a while now, then you know that we’re advocates of requesting shipping information before asking for billing data. Taking advantage of a shipping-first structure gives you the ability to further simplify the input process for consumers.
As the user moves on to the billing stages of checkout, have a checkbox (activated by default) that copies over all relevant information from the shipping section to populate address fields. More often than not, users have a matching shipping and billing address–this simple step will cut down on effort required and take a small swing at checkout abandonment.
Another reason why the order in which you ask for information is so important is the growing trend of automated field population. For example, by requesting a ZIP code early on, you can fill out the user’s city and state automatically.
This same concept works with credit card information as well. Given the first few digits of a card number, you can determine whether a customer is using a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, etc., removing yet another selection from the purchasing process. Automation makes for quick order completion, leaving users with less time to abandon checkout.
Streamline Account Creation
Although requiring an account to make a purchase is an antiquated process (less than a quarter of online retailers force registration or log-in as of 2012), there are still benefits to membership. If you’d like to offer users the ability to create an account to easily track orders, review past purchases, and save billing information, do so at the end of their first purchase.
For those going through checkout as guests, offer registration as way to save billing and shipping information to make the next buy a matter of clicks. Alternatively, think about allowing users to log-in with third-party credentials (such as Facebook.com or Amazon.com) to promote the convenience of not needing to memorize another password.
On average, over half of the users that start checkout abandon before their order is complete. By cutting out unnecessary pieces of the checkout puzzle, you can make the process simpler and faster to complete, retaining more users and reducing checkout abandonment. To learn more about optimizing your website to combat all stages of site abandonment, schedule a free consultation with UpSellit today.
Written by Joe Rosenthal