You, me, almost everyone has been through it once. You visited a website, saw something that you like and added that thing to your shopping cart. After browsing a few more pages and adding some other things to your cart, you are ready to proceed to the checkout. So far still familiar? So you click on the shopping cart and from then some things become unclear. Whether it’s the actual price, the shipping cost or the info you need to provide. This happens a lot in e-commerce checkout.
There are many reasons why an e-commerce checkout process isn’t converting as much as it should. Think about the things I’ve said earlier. Maybe people miss something like a payment option or they miss some form of security. That’s why today I’ll guide you while creating the perfect checkout process.
The Common Mistake
First off, I would like to talk about the most common reason why people are not completing their checkout. Take a look at the graph below:
This graph is known as the Fogg behavior model which is used for a few things in business, so today we are going to use it for the e-commerce checkout process. Looking at this model you probably already understand where the flaw lies in most checkout processes.
They’re too hard to finish. Of course, you will put in some extra work if you want something really bad. But when a customer isn’t really sure yet but has enough confidence in your store, that person may still purchase your product. But since they aren’t sure they like the product they aren’t likely to put much effort in checking out. This means you will lose a lot of potential customers just because of the checkout process.
5 Steps To a Perfect Checkout Process
Here are some things that can cause friction in the checkout progress:
- Forced registration before checkout.
- Too many steps.
- Unnecessary form fields.
- Unclear error messages.
- Problems with form validation, such as strict rules on the format required for data entry.
So assuming you already have a product that motivates people to buy, here are 5 steps to the perfect e-commerce checkout.
Step #1: Keep it simple
The checkout page has one goal which is to make customers checkout. This sounds like perfect logic, right? Well, many e-commerce store owners don’t know how important it is to keep the checkout simple. Adding anything that isn’t important for the checkout process might distract the customer or it might even make the checkout too confusing. For example, many e-commerce store owners think the checkout page is the perfect place for upselling. It is better to do this at the moment that someone adds products to their shopping cart. You can also do this on the shopping cart page, just don’t do it at the checkout.
As Nicolas Avila remarked, “A well-defined checkout experience should be about providing users with just the right tools to get what they have already shown intent to buy.” The number 1 complaint at this moment on checkouts is that many processes are too laborious, especially on mobile devices. So make sure you optimize the mobile experience.
So make sure your checkout is simple, clear and optimized for all platforms and browsers.
Step #2: Make it fast
The second step in making the checkout process better is by speeding it up. Many checkouts are slow and require much time to complete just because of the waiting times. You will often find customers checking out in a hurry and if the process takes too much time they might not complete it at that moment. This can result in customers forgetting to complete their checkout or abandoning their carts. This will result in a loss of potential revenue, so a fast checkout will secure a happy customer.
Step #3: Secure the payment
Have you ever scrolled through a website you did not know and left it because the checkout did not give you the idea it was secure? Many of us have, some because the checkout looked crappy, but many because they didn’t see any sign of secure checkout. The first step towards increasing trustworthiness is to actually secure payments by using SSL.
But this won’t be enough, the customer won’t see this so you need to show them that it is secure. You can do this by telling you actually use a safe SSL encrypted payment system. Besides this, you should explain what happens with the payment information. Be sure to explain what SSL is in simple terms because not everyone will know what SSL means.
Step #4: Test it on mobile devices
As stated in step 1, one of the most common complaints is that the checkout costs too much time and work. This mostly happens on mobile devices. Not every checkout progress is optimized for mobile devices. This often causes that not all fields are readable or some might even be off screen. So make sure you test your own e-commerce checkout progress to make sure it will work seamlessly on mobile devices. Remember that the e-commerce space is getting crowded with mobile purchases, so not testing this might cause a major loof in potential revenue.
Step #5: Stay up-to-date
This step is simple: make sure you offer the latest checkout options and processes, be clear about fees (so don’t hide any!), and create a checkout that appeals to your customers. This will create a pleasant checkout experience. No one will have the struggle of not being able to complete their checkout because the right payment option is missing. Also, hiding fees will scare a lot of people away, because they have another price in their mind. If new options and processes are available, be sure to check them out. Decide whether that might add value or fasten the process for your customer and if so, add it to your store.
Here is a short clip on the subject:
If you are just starting out in e-commerce, or just curious whether you could do better, be sure to read my post on common mistakes:
That is it for today. If you have any questions left on this subject or just want to give a tip to other readers be sure to react in the comment section below.