Posted on October 10, 2017 | Written by Emily Doherty
Optimizing checkout ensures your customers receive a positive shopping experience and get through the cart to complete their sale. Streamlined design, functionality, and trust play a huge role in making sure shoppers don’t abandon their carts and take their business elsewhere. A whopping 68% of eCommerce consumers abandon their carts on average and this actionable list will help you make the changes needed to improve your online store’s conversion rate and boost sales.
1. Encourage Checkout Everywhere
Entice shoppers to take action and complete the sale by clearly leading them to checkout. What’s a good way to do this? Offer a checkout link on the top and bottom of every page in a catching eyecolor or graphic. After a shopper adds each item to their cart, a popup should ask them if they’re ready to checkout or keep shopping. The bottom line is that you want to encourage them to take action when they’re done shopping and complete the sale.
2. Get “Out of Stock” Out of The Cart
Don’t give customers the option of putting out of stock items that can’t be purchased into their carts, only for them to find out their chosen item is unavailable once they’re ready to checkout. Many will be annoyed and abandon their cart altogether, including items that are ready to ship.
Instead, inform shoppers on the product page that an item is unavailable, if they can pre-order and when it will be back in stock or expected to ship to avoid surprises at checkout.
3. Answer Their Questions Quickly and in Multiple Ways
Offer to answer questions any way your customer prefers by live chat, email and phone. If you don’t currently offer the full spectrum of customer support and are wondering what might best serve your audience, consider that 73% of online customers are most satisfied with live chat, compared with the 61% who prefer email and just 44% who prefer service provided over the phone.
Speed and superior customer service are key components to closing sales. Shoppers with questions want them answered immediately so they can complete their purchases and get on with their days. The longer their questions go unanswered, the more likely it is they will abandon their carts and find the answer (and shop) elsewhere.
4. Offer Account Login AND Guest Checkout
While a site that has saved previous checkout preferences is a plus to repeat shoppers, mandatory account creation can hinder making that first sale with new customers. If asked to create an account first, 30% of shoppers will abandon their cart.
Instead, offer both options from the get go. You can do this by encouraging account creation for new users after the sale is complete by allowing them to track and receive order confirmation and exclusive promotions on future buys once they have submitted their contact information.
5. Optimize Checkout Page Load Speed
Shoppers shouldn’t have wait more than two seconds to view items in their cart or submit their checkout form. Lagging page load speed be can a killer for any online store, since 79% of customers who have trouble with a site’s performance say that they won’t return to buy again. That number doesn’t include those who never completed their purchases and abandoned their carts due to slow loading speeds.
Optimizing page load time will add to the user experience, which translates into increased eCommerce revenue.
6. Inspire Trust with Authority
Protect customers and improve trust by developing a checkout page backed by a recognized authority in security. Including their trust badge along with credit card logos can help boost the confidence of wary shoppers and get them to the next step in the checkout process. Before you can qualify to receive a seal of trust, you need to have an SSL certificate for your site to prove that checkout information submitted on your site remains secure.
In addition to ensuring that your website is a safe place to shop, offering customers the option to checkout using Amazon Payments or Paypal can dramatically simplify the process and provide a familiar way to checkout they know is safe. Although using these services will increase transaction fees, those fees will be likely offset by the positive checkout experience and end up boosting sales.
7. Improve Mobile User Experience
Ensure that shoppers on their desktops and smartphones alike will have a pleasant experience checking out by using responsive design. Responsive design enables your site to automatically adjust to any size screen, which translates to a seamless experience for the user. Smartphone eCommerce transactions currently account for 50% of all online commerce in 2017 and this number continues to grow.
If your site isn’t built using responsive design and you haven’t already optimized your site for mobile users, then the time is now.
8. Allow Cart Edits
Once a shopper is immersed in the checkout process and suddenly realizes they’ve forgotten something, let them go back for more while retaining what’s already in their cart and, at the same time, saving what you can of the form they’ve filled out to complete the purchase.
On the flip side, customers also need the option to change the quantity or delete items in their cart. There is nothing worse to an online shopper who is ready to pull the trigger than when they hit the back button to adjust cart contents and realize their cart is now empty and they have to start from scratch. Help them make the purchase more easily and increase your eCommerce conversion rate by allowing cart edits.
9. Visually Guided Checkout
Using a visual indicator of where your shopper is in the checkout process and how many more steps are needed to complete the sale will enhance user experience and encourage getting them through to the last step. A progress bar can be especially helpful in allowing the user to know where they are in the checkout process.
10. Eliminate Unnecessary Form Fields
Ensure that checkout autofills as much of the form for shoppers as possible by asking for their zip code first, so they don’t have input city and state. Also, let them duplicate their shipping address to billing and don’t require them to select their credit card from a list, since each credit card company uses numerical codes to identify themselves.
Let users opt out if you have other information in the checkout process that is not necessary to close the sale. While you might like to collect demographic information on your audience, don’t make it a requirement. Instead, consider asking your customers to participate a survey in exchange for a promotional offer after their order is complete.
11. Offer Free Shipping or Default to Cheapest Option
Offering to ship for free has been shown to increase online sales, even if shoppers must meet a minimum to qualify. In fact, 48% of digital consumers will add additional items to their cart in order to become eligible for free shipping. In the minds of your customers, they will still be getting a deal, even if you have to work the shipping cost into the product. Of those customers who abandon their cart, an astounding 86% responded that the primary reason was due to the cost of shipping. If you decide you need to charge for shipping at some level, then always default to the cheapest and most popular shipping option first, so customers will have one less box to check.
Making these changes to your eCommerce store will ensure a positive checkout experience, so you can expect an increase in revenue from new and repeat customers alike. Let coolblueweb identify the changes needed in your checkout process and develop a customized plan to increase your conversion rate, decrease abandoned carts and enhance your overall usability in order to boost sales. Get in touch now at [email protected].