On average, of all the traffic generated on e-commerce websites, a mere 4.8% of users make it through to the checkout process. Of those that start checkout, less than half make it through to the end of the sale. While a lack of trust can cause checkout abandonment, some online shoppers simply become frustrated with a convoluted process and unknown errors. To make the most out of the 4.8% of users that actually reach checkout, simplicity and usability must be top priorities at the end of the conversion funnel. Use the following tips to streamline the purchasing process.
Let Them In
One of the most common mistakes made by online retailers is forcing users to register with your website before they can make a purchase. If a consumer has added items to their cart and decided to move past browsing and onto payment, the last thing you want to do is place another obstacle between them and the sale. According to studies done by Forrester Research, nearly 15% of people who abandoned shopping carts cited the unavailability of guest checkout as a factor. Don’t let an administrative faux pas drive up checkout abandonment rates.
Provide a guest checkout option for those users who want to make a single purchase without creating a unique username, password, and everything else that comes with registration. In order to make user accounts a truly convenient option, let guests create an account at the end of their first purchase using the information they’ve already entered. This way, if they choose, users can simply log-in for their next purchase and expedite the information-entry process.
Let Them Know
It’s true, mystery can be fun, but let’s leave that to entertainment industry. When selling something online, never leave your customers guessing. Somewhere on your checkout pages, place a visual display of the user’s progression through checkout. Let your users know when they’ll have a chance to review their purchase and when their order will be processed. With a simple representation of the steps ahead of the customer, they’ll be able to focus on moving towards a finished sale. Checkout abandonment is much less likely if a consumer can see that final review and order confirmation is just a click away.
Let Them Be
With e-commerce growing as quickly and consistently as it is, the chances that this is a customer’s first online purchase are fairly slim. Don’t slow down the advanced user; find and strike the balance between helpful and relaxed. Make help available for those that need it, but stay out of the way of those who are content to quickly and accurately input their data as they have dozens of times before. Particularly useful options for providing help include automated chat solutions that can answer specific user questions and on-hover tooltips for the less obvious data fields.
Apple.com uses on-hover tooltips to explain any ambiguous data requests, such as a “security code.”
Let Them Finish
During the earlier days of e-commerce, companies would require a seemingly endless stack of digital paperwork to make a purchase. Retailers quickly learned, however, that the more information you require, the more likely they are to abandon the checkout. Every step you put between the shopping cart and a completed purchase increases abandonment. Nowadays, users understand that an online purchase shouldn’t mirror applying for a credit card. Where possible, condense your checkout process to one or two pages before a final review and confirmation. Some of the most successful online merchants have a simple, three-step process that requests shipping information, followed by billing information, and finally review and confirmation.
As a word of warning, collapsing your checkout process into fewer pages does not mean that you should clutter a page with multiple columns of required fields that run for miles down a page. Cut out unnecessary data requests and create a simple, clean, single column of entry fields that a user can work through within minutes. A top-to-bottom structure is universally understood and easy to follow. With multiple columns, a consumer may accidentally skip a required field only to be frustratingly held back as they attempt to move on to the next step, making checkout abandonment more likely.
A properly designed and thoroughly tested checkout process will boost conversions and generate additional profits for your business. However, some of those who abandon do so for reasons other than anxiety or frustration. To learn more about what you can do engage and recover abandoning users at any stage of the conversion funnel, contact us and schedule a complimentary consultation.
Written by Joe Rosenthal