Scary as it is, the statistics have shown: the checkout is where the majority of your customers will abandon a purchase. There’s a number of reasons why customers so often choose to discard their shopping carts, and many of them are unavoidable. But luckily, the majority of your checkout’s problems can be fixed. This list shows you exactly what you should and shouldn’t do to have a successful online checkout process.
– Make a great first impression. The checkout process should be simple, clear, and free of any possible distractions. Both removing the navigation bar and deleting any unnecessary links are great starts.
– Offer PayPal and Google Wallet. Typing in all that credit card and billing information is tedious, which is why PayPal is so good at boosting sales: it saves all your info, so buying is as easy as a few clicks.
– Show a progress indicator. Many times a shopping cart is abandoned just because the customer isn’t sure how long the checkout process is. By making this more transparent, you’ll surely gain the customers’ trust.
– Include free shipping. This isn’t possible for all business budgets, but if possible it is definitely worth a try. One study even showed that a whopping 45% of shopping carts were abandoned just because free shipping wasn’t an option!
– Send reminder emails about abandoned shopping carts. Sometimes carts are abandoned for a reason, but other times the customer simply got distracted and forgot about it. Sending out an email once when the customer leaves your website, and again 24 hours later, will take care of these forgetful customers.
– Showcase similar products. Amazon does this extremely well: if you buy one DVD from them, the site will then show other DVD’s from a similar genre that you might also want. These displayed products should be easy to add to a cart, so that the purchase seems just as easy as the one they just made.
– Let customers know what’s next. Nothing is more unsettling than giving a site all your credit card information and address, and then not receiving a confirmation of purchase. Prove that your site is safe, and let customers know that you’ll follow up with an email or receipt.
– Include unnecessary fields in the checkout forms. Each field you add is another potential reason for a customer to change their mind about the purchase. Make all non-payment responses optional, have the postal code auto-fill their location, and give the option to make billing information the same as shipping information.
– Force customers to first make an account. Nothing is more annoying to someone who just wants to buy and be on their way! The best way to solve this problem is to include the option “Checkout as a guest”, while also giving customers the option to make an account if they’d like.
– Have a site that isn’t mobile checkout friendly. It’s 2015, and with it most purchases are made over mobile phones. If your site forces customers to either squint, or pan-and-zoom repeatedly, odds are they won’t stick out the purchase until the end.
– Include last minute fees. This one may seem like common sense, but a surprising number of companies still do it. Make sure that all fees and additional costs are clear from the beginning, so customers don’t get angry later at seeing any tacked-on fees.
– Ask for promotional codes at the checkout. The truth is, many customers will see this and then abandon the shopping cart to go hunting for one of these codes. It’s only a distraction. But if you must include it, make sure the code option is in small print and not a clear distraction from the checkout.
– Hiding shipping information until the last minute. If you can’t offer free shipping, it’s best to be upfront about this with your customers. By waiting until the last minute to let them know there’s an additional shipping cost, they could end up feeling cheated and abandon the purchase.
– Forget to provide a trusting environment. The thing about online buying is that it’s much easier to fall into a scam. Prove to your customers that your site is safe to shop from by including guarantee statements, trust symbols, and a confirmation email throughout the purchase.