Website Abandonment Analysis: Staples.com, Part 3
In this final segment of our analysis of Staples.com, we’re going to take our reams of paper through checkout and make our printer happy with a fresh supply. Along the way, we’ll take a look at the techniques employed by the office supply retailer to make checkout a quick, pleasant experience.
Reducing Checkout Abandonment
Staples.com cares about their checkout–it’s apparent from the very first click past the cart. Immediately, the user is given the option to log in or, as most modern e-commerce sites allow, to continue with guest checkout. There are very few cases in which log-in should be mandatory. Over half of American adults need to remember 5 unique passwords already–they’re not going to want to add another to their collection.
Checkout In Brief
Moving on to checkout, the experienced shopper’s first thought is to look for a progress bar that indicates the length of checkout. We took a peek at the progress bar above and were delighted to see that the entire process has been pared down to two pages. The length of Staples.com’s checkout flow is well below the industry average of 5.08, making for streamlined, quick payments and reducing the number of opportunities for abandonment.
Breaking Barriers to Data Entry
The data entry required for making a purchase quickly becomes an exercise in monotony. From a consumer standpoint, any effort by the retailer to make the process simpler is greatly appreciated. To move things along, Staples provides a button to copy billing information to shipping, eliminating the need for duplicate entry. Though antiquated, some ecommerce sites still require users to enter the same information multiple times, which is as frustrating as it is pointless.
Another potentially frustrating faux pas is failing to properly highlight entry errors. Thankfully, on Staples.com, when an error is found, the offending form is noticeably illuminated. This very visible indicator on a reasonably short form ensures that the shopper doesn’t need to do any searching to find the problem. Eliminating shopper frustration is key to improving checkout usability and reducing website abandonment during checkout.
Staples accepts a healthy number of payment options when it comes time to enter details. Although digital wallets are growing in popularity and services like PayPal should be an option on most sites, offices are likely to have a credit card on hand. Have clear instructions on how to redeem gift cards and prepaid cards is a handy addition to the site’s collection of payment methods.
On checkout pages, Staples does a great job at making support options readily available to the customer. Here, three types of support channels are displayed: chat, email, and telephone. As a pop-up window, chat is designed specifically to keep you on the page and keep you engaged in the sale. The telephone number is displayed without a click, allowing customers to get support on the phone while staying on-site. The email support, however, directs you to a new page, taking the customer out of the purchasing flow. While this can be improved, the sheer amount of support offered is an immediate plus for the company.
Following in the footsteps of approximately 81% of the industry, Staples.com has users automatically signed up to receive further marketing material. If a user glosses over the checkbox and fails to opt out, they’re set to receive marketing emails after their first purchase. While the expanded reach can be a good thing for companies, it’s typically a good idea to let the shopper actively request correspondence or it’s not likely to be received warmly.
A Secure Image
There was a distinct lack of trust-markers throughout the checkout process. While a few padlock icons dot the last sections, we didn’t see any significant amount of visual security. Although it’s not required, trust markers are a simple way of making users feel more secure as they enter sensitive information. Symbols from Norton and McAfee have become commonplace to the point that their absence is noticeable.
A company like Staples sees a huge volume of visitors per day and processes thousands of transactions, making each tweak to the user experience an extremely valuable asset.
There are thousands of elements to consider in creating a streamlined conversion funnel, and we’ve only explored a small amount. To learn more about reducing website abandonment within your own online store, contact UpSellit. We perform thorough website analyses and deploy tactics unique to your site to maximize conversions and lift revenue.
Written by Bryan Gudmundson