Every e-commerce store has visitors that drop-out at the checkout stage. It is unavoidable as some visitors aren't really there to buy, they are just there to price up something they may want to buy later. But even so there are things you could be doing that may increase your conversion rate (the percentage of visitors that convert into customers). Here are 6 common areas that can often be improved.
The number one rule of any checkout is to keep it simple. Every time you ask the visitor for more information, and every time you ask them to click another button is just one more opportunity for them to decide to go and do something else instead. One of the main reasons people shop online is convenience. Todays shopper is often shopping from home or work with limited time and lots of other demands on their attention. The best thing you can do to make sure more people buy is make your checkout quick, and make it simple.
A few years ago asking customers to sign-up for an account was seen as a way of creating loyalty and repeat purchases. Unfortunately it no longer appears to work, and a forced sign-up process is far more likely to drive visitors away. Internet users already have so many accounts they have to remember and keep track of that being asked to sign-up just to buy something online is seen as a big inconvenience by most. It's also the case that internet users are becoming a lot more aware of on-line privacy and having to sign up is seen by some as a route to tracking their purchasing history.
A common mistake in a checkout process is to leave certain costs hidden until later in the process. Delivery costs is a classic example. Customers hate to get a few stages into a checkout process only to be told the cost has just gone up. If you have to add on separate delivery costs then this should be one of the first steps, if not the very first step. Better still wherever possible delivery costs should be absorbed into the product pricing so that the customer knows from the moment they see the product what the cost will be.
Discount codes are actually a really effective way of losing customers unless they are very carefully presented. If a customer comes across a stage in a checkout process where there is a very obvious discount code box the first thing they will think is "why haven't I got a discount code", shortly followed by "I wonder if I can find a discount code"... next they're on Google looking for discount codes, then they've found a competitor's site and they've gone.
It comes back in a way to keeping the checkout process simple and quick and not giving visitors a reason to leave. We're not saying don't have discount codes but they should be very discrete. A visitor will know if they have a discount code and they will be looking for how to use it.
This one is pretty simple. As a visitor completes each stage of the checkout the want to proceed should be obvious. A clear and highlighted button, always the same colour, always in the same place. The internet is littered with stories about stores that doubled their checkout conversion rates just by making the proceed to checkout button red. Unfortunately it's not always quite that easy, but in all cases the steps through the checkout should flow naturally and intuatively.
It's important nowadays that your entire site is mobile responsive and this applies equally to the checkout. Visitors are often visiting on mobile phones and checkouts are generally quite hard to view on mobiles unless they have been specifically designed to work well. If your site is not mobile responsive then fixing that should be the number one priority to ensure you get more visitors and more customers.
If you're considering entering the world of e-commerce then one of the most important decisions you can make is which e-commerce software to use. But first it helps to think about what the key features of an e-commerce store are.
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