To buy, or not to buy – your checkout process may be the deciding factor.
The online shopping process is usually enjoyable for customers, or at least time well spent. They may find it gratifying to click the “Add to Cart” button, as it brings them one step closer to getting what they want. But going through hoops to provide the necessary shipping, billing, payment, email and other registration information can sometimes be painful.
The most common reaction is shopping cart abandonment. Business Insider reported that 74 percent of shopping carts were abandoned in 2013. This means that only a quarter of shoppers are actually completing a purchase. There are lots of cited reasons, including:
- Hidden fees that appear at checkout
- High shipping prices
- Registration demands
- Lengthy checkout process
- Limited payment options
There’s no better time to re-evaluate your checkout process to avoid some of the above pitfalls.
Here are 5 elements to improve and streamline your checkout process:
1. Brevity is key
Limit checkout demands to the basics to avoid shopping cart abandonment. Requiring setup of a user account, or adding pages with promotions and information requests, is time consuming. You can always ask customers to create an account down the road when they feel a little closer to your brand.
TRY THIS: You should consider social media login via Facebook or Twitter. This allows a customer’s basic information to be imported automatically and reduces the number of steps to reaching the final sale.
Eliminate security stress by ensuring that customer information – and cardholder information in particular – is safe. Ecommerce businesses that accept payment cards are required to meet certain security standards, but any extra peace of mind you can offer customers will help avoid wasted time in the checkout process.
TRY THIS: Visibly display security seals so users don’t have to go looking for them. The seal tells visitors that your site has been verified and that there is a secure transmission for entering credit card information. You can also recommend strong passwords (i.e. alphanumeric combinations); and include the option for security questions. Either way, displaying the safety of your site will eliminate worry and speed them through the sales cycle.
A couple of protocols that are designed to secure user and transaction data:
Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) - All Merchants and Service Providers that store, process, or transmit cardholder data must comply with PCI DSS and the Card Association Compliance Programs. Failure to comply with PCI DSS and the Card Association Compliance Programs may result in a Merchant being subject to fines, fees or assessments and/or termination of processing services
SSL Certification - Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol, now called Transport Layer Security (TLS), was developed by Netscape Communications Corporation to provide a high level of security for Internet communications. SSL provides an encrypted communications session between your web browser and a Web server. When sensitive information is being sent over the Internet between your browser and a web server, SSL verifies that the information has not been altered in any way on-route.
3. Advertise payment options
Displaying the logos of major credit cards accepted by your ecommerce business (as well as any other payment methods) is being upfront with customers and will not leave them scrambling to find payment info. It will also lend additional legitimacy to your site, particularly if your business has partnerships with some of the major brands.
TRY THIS: Use a page banner to display credit card logos, security seals, and shipping information on every page. You can also link to refund and return policies in this banner, so shoppers have convenient and easy access to this much-needed information on every page. Easy access to this info builds trust with customers, and also can reduce shopping cart abandonment down the road.
4. Add a “Checkout” button
This will further streamline the checkout process, and also serve as a visible call-to-action. It shows that you understand the value of your customers’ time and want to make the final stages of purchasing as simple as possible.
TRY THIS: Offer a “one-click” checkout option to customers that have previously saved their information. This completes the sale in a matter of seconds for returning customers.
5. Confirm the sale
When a purchase has been made and the transaction is processed, send an order confirmation immediately to customers to confirm the details of the sale.
TRY THIS: Notify your customers via email when their order has been shipped. This will lend to the positive customer experience. This can spare the customer the effort of having to contact your business for shipping information.
Anything you can do to shave a few minutes (or even seconds) off the checkout process for customers will likely be valuable to your business down the road. Be upfront with your security protocols, display payment terms, offer checkout from every page on your site, and keep it short-and-sweet. As they say “time is money.”
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The information in this article is provided solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be legal, business or other professional advice or an endorsement of any of the websites or services listed.