Perfecting the Checkout Process to Decrease Cart Abandonment

The following are tips on how to create the perfect checkout process. Some you will feel are quite obvious while others not so much. Of course, the goal is to reduce cart abandonment as much as possible.

  • Progress Indicator – put a progress indicator on top of the page letting the customer know how far along they are in the checkout process or how many steps remain.
  • Calls to Action – make sure you have calls to action so a customer can easily find what they are looking for. For example, you might highlight the login box.
  • Back Links – allow the customer to back up if they desire. You don’t want to trap them making them feel frustrated when they need to go back and review something.
  • Dedicated Toll-Free Hotline – feature a way for customers to contact you. If something isn’t working on the web, allow them to call you. Many customers prefer to place orders over the phone, so don’t hinder that order gateway.
  • Cross-Selling – be sure to cross sell and up sell items, especially when adding another item to the cart leads to free shipping.
  • Save the Cart – allow customers to save their cart for later. Perhaps just set a cookie so that when the customer returns to the site, their cart still exists so they can finish their order at a later time.
  • Diversify Payment Options – give the customer choices, you’ll definitely increase conversion and happiness that way. Not all customers want to be restricted by credit cards. But if you do offer credit cards, make sure it’s at least the big four. Offer PayPal, BillMeLater, Gift Cards, perhaps even Google Checkout. The easier it is for a consumer to make a purchase the more sales you can achieve.
  • Security – show security badges and make the customer feel like their information is protected with your site.
  • Allow Changes – allow customers to edit their cart, whether it’s changing quantity, removing an item, changing defining attributes such as size and color, etc.
  • Thumbnails – carry the thumbnails for items throughout the checkout process. Customers love to see what they are buying easily.

The Do’s and Don’ts of the checkout process:

  • Don’t force customers to register – allow guest checkout. Some customers don’t want to take the time to create an account for various reasons.
  • Don’t hide shipping costs – display shipping costs up front, especially when you are offering free shipping. Being up front with the customer won’t frustrate them and increases the likelihood of them returning to your site to buy again.
  • Don’t offer coupon codes unnecessarily – displaying a coupon code box all the time will make customers leave your site to go find a coupon code. You want your customers to feel like winners, and if they leave the site and can’t find a coupon code, well, they might feel like losers and lose the motivation to complete their purchase.
  • Do preach it with customer testimonials – customer love reviews, and so do they love testimonials. It helps customers feel good about their decision to make the purchase for that item and on your site.
  • Do offer price guarantees – offer price guarantees. If your price changes to a lower price a few days later, honor that if the customer calls to make them happy. If you can, match your competitors so you can get the sale and try to create an advocate for your site.
  • Do prevent errors – the most frustrating thing a customer can experience is the inability to make a purchase. Make sure your site is error-free. One amazing tool to do this is IBM Tealeaf. It’s basically a DVR for your website! To learn more, please contact us as you can greatly increase your revenue by capturing what would have been lost sales.
  • Do be up front about stock availability – make sure you tell the customer if it’s in stock or not. You don’t want them wondering where my package is. If you don’t display stock status, customers will be hesitant to even make the purchase.
  • Do reassure customers – help make sure the customer is making the right decision for their purchase. Display warranty information upfront or anything else that makes this a great sale.
  • Do follow up – if an abandon cart happens and you captured that customers’ email address, follow up with them. Send them an email. Perhaps even make them an offer if they make a purchase within such and such time period they can save 10% off their order.
  • Do save the cart – again, to reiterate this, allow the cart to be saved. For instance, if a customer is shopping and her browser crashes, you don’t want her to lose everything she had in her cart. You want her to easily return, see all her items where she left off, and complete her purchase.

Source: How the Perfect Checkout Page Can Deter Cart Abandonment