Customers have certain expectations when it comes to the online checkout experience. Make it too difficult and they will shop elsewhere.
This is because customers are now conditioned to expect a certain level of service (thanks to the industry giants like Amazon). Since most shoppers use Amazon regularly, they expect the same service from a smaller ecommerce business. They want next-day delivery, free delivery, order trackers, easy sign-up forms, social login and more.
Customers won’t accept long loading times, unnecessary steps or complicated sign-up processes. If you create a bad checkout experience, you will lose online sales. It’s as simple as that.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to improve the checkout experience for shoppers.
Give Customers A Guest Checkout Option
Imagine walking into a local shop to buy some milk. You pick up the milk, take it to the counter to pay and the shop assistant asks you to fill out a two-page form. If you don’t fill out the form, you can’t buy the milk.
This would be incredibly frustrating.
The same logic applies to an ecommerce checkout experience. Ask your customer for unnecessary details and they will shop elsewhere. Instead, allow them to checkout as a guest. Make the process as simple and easy as possible to improve your conversion rate. In fact, you could increase your conversion rate by up to 45% by including a guest checkout option.
You can use a third-party payment system to provide a guest checkout (e.g. Paypal guest checkout). This removes any data-security concerns and makes it even easier to implement.
Use A Simple & Responsive Design For The Page
Guide the customer through the checkout experience with minimal distractions. Make the call-to-action buttons easily visible and remove anything unnecessary from the page. Simplicity is the key to excellent ecommerce website design.
It’s also important to ensure that the page is responsive. Long loading times will frustrate shoppers and cause them to shop elsewhere. In fact, 39% of shoppers will leave a website if the images take too long to load. Broken links will also lose the trust of your customers. A simple and responsive web design is the only way to go for a checkout page.
Make The Shipping Process & Costs Visible
Some ecommerce websites try to hide the shipping process from customers until the last minute. The idea is that the customers have already invested enough time in the purchase that the extra shipping cost won’t turn them off. However, this is the wrong approach.
28% of shoppers will abandon their shopping cart when presented with unexpected shipping costs. By hiding the shipping process and costs, you could be losing more than 1 in 4 customers.
Make the shipping process clear by offering average delivery times and flat-rate shipping. This should be made obvious early on in the checkout process. You could even offer free shipping – shoppers are up to 5 times as likely to purchase if shipping is free.
Present The Option To Sign Up Through Social Media
Provide First-Time Customers A Discount
Adding a discount for first-time customers is a great way to encourage a sale. A shopper is more likely to go through with the purchase if they are getting a better deal than expected. First-time discounts can be used as a customer acquisition tool or as a ‘deal-sweetener’.
Offer A Discount To Customers That Have Left
When a customer leaves a product in their shopping cart, there’s a reason for it. They might have picked an alternative product or they might have decided it was out of their price range. Whatever the reason, it’s important to try and win them back.
Do this by offering a discount after a certain period of time. 54% of shoppers will purchase products left in shopping carts if those products are offered at a lower price.
Make The Payment Options Clear
Payment options should also be made clear at the start of the checkout experience. Most customers will abandon the checkout if they don’t have access to the right payment method.
You can make payment options clear by displaying the appropriate logos (Mastercard, Visa, Paypal, etc.). Customers instinctively search for these when they open a checkout.
Include A Live Chat
Live chat is one of the most useful customer service tools available. It allows you to respond to customer enquiries in seconds, rather than hours. Over 41% of customers expect live chat on an ecommerce website and that satisfaction rate is around 82%.
That tells you that if you don’t have a live chat on your website, you aren’t listening to your customers. Live chat is easy to incorporate into your checkout experience. You can download a widget from any major ecommerce website builder.
Insert An Order Tracker
Remove Any Distractions
Distractions during the checkout experience kill conversions. You need to keep shoppers focused on the end goal and remove anything that could cause them to stray away from a purchase.
Keep additional offers to a minimum, remove unnecessary navigation, and get rid of any pop-ups. The more efficient your checkout experience is, the easier it is for customers to complete the purchase.
The Bottom Line
Ecommerce retailers are in a constant race to keep up with Amazon and other industry giants. Amazon are arguably the best ecommerce platform because they spend millions on increasing conversions throughout their checkout experience. So it’s worth paying attention to any changes they make. The idea behind improving your checkout experience is simple – make the process as straightforward and quick as possible for customers.
Need help improving your checkout experience and monitoring conversions? We’ve got you covered.
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