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How to improve your online checkout performance (Ecommerce)

by Vicky Lalwani
22 Oct 2010
6 min read
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How to improve your online checkout performance (Ecommerce)

Online retailers face challenging issues to improve their customers’ experience from getting them online to their ecommerce website in the first places to finally checking out and paying for their purchase.

In this article, I will articulate ways to improve the checkout experience for your ecommerce website users:

Registration & Sign In process

Many websites require that users sign up and register before they purchase their order. Research shows that over 20% of these users will abandon the idea and go elsewhere. The suggested improvement here is to offer your user a ‘Guest’ checkout facility – or, my personal favourite, collect the standard information such as billing details and email, and process the order. On the last confirmation page, ask them to supply more details to register an account and get 5% off their next order – a good percentage of people will do this.

Hidden costs

A personal favourite here – lots of clients complain of drop off rates increasing from the checkout page. This is where clients don’t disclose shipping prices up front, and the user is simply going to the checkout page to see what the hidden costs are.

Be upfront about them, or have a dedicated page to explain the costs.

Research also shows that if there is a ‘Shipping’ page on your website, people expect to find the costs of shipping there.

Reducing distractions

Theory shows that by showing your main navigation and other call to action links on the shopping cart page can distract users from following through their checkout process. At the same time, it’s not advised to have no links on the page and have only the ‘checkout’ button forcing them to click the back link. Keep your navigation, but reduce the links and keep it relevant. People don’t like feeling trapped.

Remember what they bought

Website users, like everyday consumers, will window shop first. They look at your website, see what products you sell, add them to the shopping cart and finally see what the total is (in case of any hidden postage or tax fees). A good percentage of these users will then leave your website to compare other sites for similar products. Finally after a bit of research, and if your offer is competitive, users will generally come back. However, if you had built in the ability to store cookies and remember what was in the cart, you save them the time from doing it all over again.

This enables a quicker and more friendly experience for your users to land on your website again, click on ‘Cart’ and checkout without the trouble to find every item.

Speed, speed, speed

People don’t want to wait for a checkout form to load up and worse is after clicking the ‘submit’ button to wait for a long period of time. It quickly raises concern about if and how much their credit card has been charged for. Sometimes the user will hit refresh thinking it’s a problem at their end or that the site has no message to show that the transaction is in process and this will result in double charging their credit cards. Ensure best practices are put in place to gain customer confidence.

Error Validation

I have seen websites where mandatory fields are not recorded properly, or if I have missed (or incorrectly filled) several fields, I get a JavaScript popup for each field – making it hard to remember which fields they were. Best practice is to have ‘live validation’ and this is done when a user moves from one form field to the next. The aim is to have a highlighted text next to the field explaining what needs to be corrected. This ensures that by the time they hit the ‘Submit’ button, there wouldn’t be any errors to review.

Give a toll free contact number

On the checkout page, offer 1800/1300 contact number to give that sense of security. Customers feel secure that if anything was to go wrong, there is always a number to call. Remember, not everyone is still 100% comfortable spending online.

If you would like Adrenalin Media to help improve the results of your current Ecommerce website, or if you would like an ecommerce website designed and develop, please contact us by filling this form, or call on (02) 9280 0550

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