12 Tips to Create a Seamless E-Commerce Purchasing Process
Guest blog article by Sasha Butkovich at Ecommerce Outtakes
Every online retailer grapples with the issue of cart abandonment. Although statistics vary among sources, the average cart abandonment rate is 67.89% according to calculations by the Baymard Institute. That’s quite a lot of non-committal shoppers!
There are countless possibilities as to why these folks bail on their orders, but there are steps you can take to cut down that number and increase conversions. One huge step? Streamlining the ecommerce purchasing process. For shoppers who have made it as far as the checkout, it is important to make this process as seamless as possible. Here are 12 tips to ensure that your ecommerce checkout eliminates any snags for the customer and builds their confidence in your site.
1. Provide thumbnail images
On the cart review page, show shoppers pictures of the items they have in their cart. This is proven to increase conversion rates, and it makes perfect sense. When people can see what they’re getting, they’ll be more confident in the order and willing to make the purchase.
2. Provide links
Linking back to the product pages from the cart review is great for hesitant shoppers. They can easily return to the item to read more about it and make a final decision. A Return to Shopping button is also a nice addition. Make it easy for people to go back to the store and add more to their order.
3. Make edits simple
The cart review page should give customers the option to edit anything. If they want to change the size or quantity of an item, or even remove it entirely, they should be able to do it all without leaving this page. This will help to keep them on track to continue with the checkout.
4. Cross sell strategically
Implementing a cross sale feature into the checkout process can be a great tool when it’s done right. Showing customers a targeted selection of items here, with the ability to directly add to the cart, can be a nice last-minute way to increase the average order value.
5. Offer guest checkout
Of course, having shoppers register allows you to gain valuable information about your customers. However, for those people who plan to be one-time shoppers on your site, or who simply don’t want to spend the time, offer a guest checkout option. Giving users more choices is typically a good thing, and some may resent being “forced” to create an account.
6. Save the cart
Everyone shops differently, and some people use the shopping cart to store ideas rather than complete purchases. If they do abandon the cart today, allowing them to save the items for later opens up the possibility that they might return to make that purchase tomorrow or the next day. This is where your retargeting email strategy comes into play… but that’s another post entirely!
7. Keep the steps simple
Some online retailers find that they have higher conversions with a single-step checkout, while others may find that a multi-step checkout works for them. It’s up to you to test which style your customers respond to best. If you decide to go with the multi-step option, make sure to provide shoppers with some way to view their progress, like a bar at the top or headers for the steps, so they know what they’re getting into and how far they have to go.
8. Multiple payment options
Again, choices are good. Offering users the option to pay with different options, such as various credit card types and PayPal, is a great way to cater to your specific audience.
9. Keep support close at hand
Even when you make everything as simple as possible, some users may need assistance. Be sure that contact information for customer service is visible throughout the checkout process. Including a phone number is essential, email is nice, and a live chat feature is even better.
10. Shipping options
According to ComScore data, the number-one aspect where shoppers think retailers can improve is by offering free or discounted shipping. It’s a huge incentive for customers, and it can often mean the difference between a sale and an abandoned cart. Offering additional shipping options, like express or 2-day shipping with prices clearly labeled, are also nice for shoppers in a hurry to receive their items.
11. Flexible returns & exchanges
Don’t leave your customers guessing about your return policy. Make this information easy to find, and state it in a clear and concise way. That same ComScore data showed that ease of returns and exchanges also ranks very highly in importance for online shoppers, so offering a flexible policy is a great idea.
12. Security verification
Displaying logos for security verification, such as MacAfee and VeriSign, help build a customer’s trust in your site. If they cannot feel confident that their payment information will be safe, why would they buy from you? Showing verification gives them peace of mind.
Sasha Butkovich is the Senior Writer of Ecommerce Outtakes, a blog publishing daily website reviews and advice with the aim of improving the e-commerce user experience. Visit the blog today to catch up on the latest posts, or to submit your own site for a free review. You can also follow Ecommerce Outtakes on Twitter.