Too many eCommerce site owners put their needs over and above those of their customers. No wonder the majority of eCommerce websites suffer high shopping cart abandonment rates. Here are several things you can do to optimize your site’s checkout, keeping your customer’s needs in mind.
- Reduce Distractions
Don’t provide anything on the checkout page to distract the customer. Avoid unnecessary navigation or information. Make sure the customer gets to the order confirmation page quickly. Anticipate the customer’s needs and provide useful tips along the way.
- Intuitive Forms
Make the checkout form as intuitive as you can by using asterisks for mandatory fields, easy drop-down options, radio buttons, field sizes according to the expected content and so on. Use autocomplete options to make things easier.
- Security Reassurance
Make sure you reassure customers with regard to the safety of their credit and debit card details. Use https and padlocks to create a safe zone. Publish your encryption and security information and put up credit card logos and security seals such as VeriSign and BizRate to show them your site is safe.
- Visual Indicators
Customers should know exactly at what point of the checkout process they’re in. This is especially important if the checkout process is more than 2 pages long. Keep in mind that the fewer clicks there are, the greater your conversion rates.
- Continue Shopping
Allows users to continue shopping from the checkout page; the Continue Shopping button should take the customer back to the last product page they were browsing, and not the product home page. Use different colors for the Continue Shopping and Checkout options so there’s no confusion.
- Allow Print and Email
Sometimes customers may want to share their shopping cart with their partners or bosses for approval. If they’re not able to print or email the shopping cart contents, they’re likely to get discouraged and abandon the cart.
Allow customers to save their entire cart or parts of it to their WishList. This is helpful when customers are not able to purchase everything they’ve selected, but want to come back and purchase them later. Wishlists allow for an ongoing relationship between you and the customer.
- Optional Registration
Don’t make registration mandatory; allow users to shop, pay and checkout as desired. If you want, you can put up a short registration form after the purchase process is over. Ask the customer if they’d like to save their information and they’ll be happy to fill your form if they’ve had a good time shopping.
- Clear Costs
Convey your shipping and delivery costs upfront so that there’s no nasty surprise at the final checkout stage. Make sure there are no hidden costs or taxes; everything should be clear upfront, so that the customer knows how much they’re going to pay.