Webinar SignUp

7 Tips for Boosting Conversion at Checkout

According to 15 highly reputable studies of shopping cart abandonment (including studies by Listrak, MarketingSherpa, Forrester Research, and Coremetrics), the average shopping cart abandonment rate is almost 66%.

Think about what this means for you:  for every 10 people who find your site and not only go to the trouble of adding a product to their cart but also actually click on the checkout button, 6-7 will then change their minds and leave your site without completing the purchase.

To make this more real, picture what this would look like in a brick and mortar store:

  • You pay good money for a billboard or radio ad.
  • A customer sees or hears your ad enough times, and at the right time, and decides to get off the couch.
  • They get in their car and drive all the way to your business for the first time.
  • They park, come into the store, browse, and even find what they want.
  • They get in the checkout line, item in hand.
  • But before they hand you their credit card, they set down their basket and walk out of the store.

You were so close to making a sale, but then they just gave up!

Remember that it actually costs you money to get those people to come to your site in the first place. Maybe you paid a consultant to optimize your site keywords so you could be found online. You’re probably paying the salary of an email marketing manager, or maybe even paying actual advertising costs. You’ve spent money to get those 10 people to your site. For 7 out of those 10, not only are you losing a potential sale but you are losing the money you spent to get that person to your site in the first place.

So what can you do to stop wasting money and stop losing sales?

Well, experts point to quite a number of potential factors. One study by Baymard Institute identifies 63 different guidelines.  So where do you start? What is the lowest hanging fruit? How can you take some reasonable actions that are guaranteed to have a positive impact on your own checkout conversion rate?

The basic principle to keep in mind is simple: Reduce friction. Anything that adds complexity, risk, unanswered questions, or extra steps to the process is going to slow it down and drive some people away.

Here are 7 things you can do today to reduce that friction:

1. Have an obvious link to a refund policy that opens in a new, smaller window.
Add a refund policy and make sure it is clear, fair, and easy to find from the product, cart and checkout pages. Make sure it does not take the shopper away from the checkout page or interrupt the flow of the shopping experience.

One way to achieve this is to have the policy pop up in a smaller window so the shopper can easily see the page they were on is still there behind the new window. If the smaller window has an easy-to-see ‘close’ button, the user will be able to close this window and return to the checkout process right where they left off.

2. Have an obvious link to a shipping policy.
Add a shipping information page and make it easy for shoppers to find answers to shipping questions without leaving the checkout page. It is a good idea to have a page on your site about shipping that customers can access from anywhere in the site.

However, if they wait until they are in the middle of checkout, or in the shopping cart, and then decide they want to view that information, you ideally want to be able to show them that information without taking them away from the page they are on. Any disruption to the flow of shopping and checkout introduces the potential to lose a sale.

3.  Alert your customers if a product will have a different price at checkout than what is on the product page.
There are some promotions that are not reflected in the price that is displayed by default on the product page. There are some that show up on the cart page after they enter a coupon code. And there are a few that don’t show up until the actual checkout page. If it ‘looks’ like the price I’m being charged is different from the promotional or advertised price I expected, I may jump ship.

Place some customer messaging near the price to let them know when they will see the discount applied to their purchase price so they do not mistakenly think they are not getting the right price. If you have extra shipping, handling, or taxes, try to build those into the shopping process, or give the shopper easy access to that information.The more you can make those figures accurate and real time, the better chance you have of keeping the shopper on track to complete the sale.

MSx 9.3 has a new promotion engine with built in fields for adding descriptive text to make the user experience smoother.

4. Don’t require passwords or registration prior to purchase.
Notice I did not say “don’t require login,” just don’t require passwords prior to purchase. Why? Well, are you going to remember a password you used one time, 6 weeks ago on a site you had never shopped on before?  Exactly.  This presents a big obstacle to shoppers.

That is why our Smart One Page Checkout gives shoppers the option of entering an email address up front, but does not ask for a password until the end. Even if the user doesn’t remember or doesn’t want to enter the password, they can still complete the transaction. If they don’t enter the password, you’ve at least collected their email address – even if they do abandon the cart.

5. Use trust marks, seals and badges that the customer recognizes and that give them the confidence to move forward.
There are a number of seals that most of you should be able to place on your site right away. You can place an icon describing the SSL encryption you all have. Perhaps it is even from a familiar brand like VeriSign, or GoDaddy.

You may also have a seal from your Gateway provider like Authorize.net. You could benefit from having a secure site seal from a company like McAfee, and you might even go so far as to use DotFeed to apply to be a Google Trusted Store.

6. Accept as many forms of payment as possible.
While the general public’s level of comfort using credit cards online may be trending up, there are still plenty of people who prefer PayPal, or some other form of payment. Shoppers who don’t know you well may be more likely to buy if they can use a form of payment they already trust.

Beyond trust, it may just be convenience and preference. If your shopper has to get up and go downstairs to get their wallet, rather than use a digital wallet service they prefer, you could lose the sale.

7. Simplify the checkout process.
This is an important one. Luckily you are using a cart that gives you the instant option of adding Smart One Page Checkout to solve this problem. With this powerful add-on, you do more than shorten and simplify the checkout process.

You also bring added smarts to the process. For example, you are able to capture an email address up front without requiring a password or requiring them to actually login. This ensures that no matter what happens, at least you caught their email address.

If you could do just one of these before the holiday season, which one would you choose?

If you are like most retailers, you are losing 7 of 10 potential sales at checkout. That means you are getting 3 out of 10 sales. What if you were to save just 1 of those 7 lost sales and get 4 out of 10 sales through this holiday season?

That would mean you’d increase your sales by over 30%.  Sounds like a good idea, right?

 

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
Posted in Checkout & Payment, User Experience | 1 Comment

One Response to 7 Tips for Boosting Conversion at Checkout

  1. Great article! I liked the specific examples and ways that you can improve your stats without much time or effort. Well done!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


1 + 7 =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>