Your product could be the best of its kind, your website fantastic, and your marketing and sales top-notch. But all this will amount to naught if the checkout at your e-commerce store – the part of the website or app that actually facilitates the payment – isn’t seamless and effortless! And logically speaking, when it comes times to pay up, don’t you want to make it as easy as it possibly could be so that it doesn’t give the shopper a moment to pause and re-think their purchase?! Or worse, give up in frustration because the payment isn’t going through!
In this blog we give you a few pointers to make the checkout smooth and to fast track your profitability.
- Have a check out button at the top and bottom of the page. Customers shouldn’t have to go searching for the check-out button. When they are eager to buy, don’t make them go hunting through the page to find their way to the payment page. Be as eager to sell!
- Calls-To-Action must be prominent, however, use discretion – use bright colours for important CTAs and muted colours for non-core ones. By design, a vivid colour will draw the attention sharply. And you want the customer’s eyes drawn to the important task. In this case, it is the check-out. So don’t let other things draw away their attention that their wandering eyes can always pick up later on. To get them to be as focussed as you are, use your colours tactfully.
- Offer guest check out, and don’t ask for a registration at the very beginning. Asking them to register just when they got there will drive them away. And don’t make it compulsory for them to sign up with you to complete a purchase. This only infuriates people. You need the sale, with or without a registration. Allow them the option to check out as a guest. Let registrations also be optional. Instead of compulsion, you could bait them with special members-only offers to get them to subscribe.
- Alternatively, allow them to log in through their social media accounts, like Facebook or Twitter. First of all, it’s easy for them to log in without creating new accounts. Secondly, it offers some level of comfort and trust when it’s through the giant social networks, making it easier for them to use their personal information for payments etc.
- Give long forms a miss. The minute a customer sees something long, they lose their enthusiasm to make it to the checkout. Pick your fields wisely, eliminating unnecessary or redundant ones, and keeping everything else quite straightforward.
- If you must have a form of some sort, let the first field ask for an e-mail. That’s the most important bit of data you really need, as e-mail marketing is highly effective. This way, even if they don’t make it to the checkout you can still nurture a prospective sale using abandoned cart notifications and offers.
- Don’t give up on an abandoned cart. After all the time and money you spent acquiring a prospect, you can’t just give up on them when they abandon their e-trolley. Nearly 70% of the carts are usually abandoned. Why do they put it in their e-trolley and then abandon the cart? This isn’t because the prospect changed their mind about buying. It could be several other factors – time, cost, need, or just saving it for another day. Using their e-mail and through remarketing tactics and push notifications you can reach out to them and remind them about what they may have forgotten, or inform them when those products are on sale. They are certain to come back for it.
- Make the steps to the checkout clear and crisp. You would have seen some websites use this method. For instance, let’s say you are an events managing company and are selling tickets for a concert. Right from the beginning of the checkout, at top of the page you show the customer that it’s a 3-step check out. Let’s say step1 is to confirm that these are the tickets you want. Here it shows you the number of tickets, the date and time, the seats, the total price etc. Step2 is to verify the details of the person, like name, age (if there is an age restriction), e-mail id (for the e-confirmation), address (should the tickets need to be delivered at home) etc. Step 3 is the payment page, where you actually fill out your card details and make the payment. And step 4 is the confirmation page that tells you the tickets are yours and they have been sent to your e-mail ID, and it mentions your reference number. So customers know exactly what to expect, and they understand that there is no fraudulence or glitch while checking out.
- Ensure the design and flow of the check-out procedure is neat, logical, self-explanatory and easy. Don’t clutter it with too much design or text. Avoid all distractions here. This includes links and other offers in your footer. You aren’t wowing them; you’re closing the deal as quickly as you can! So ensure they don’t have to stop for even a second to understand what you’re asking them to do at each step. Include examples within the form’s fields if you think that will help people understand better. It must go predictably and dependably, like clockwork.
- Upsell by all means but don’t overtax it! Upselling is a very smart way to help customers with their shopping whilst also making extra sales. In fact, it’s one of the important customer retention strategies. However, don’t overdo it. I remember a food delivery app that always went overboard trying to upsell and it was quite maddening for me as a regular customer! I would find myself punching my way though that CTA. It comes across as though you’re a relentless sales person only interested in your sale and not the customer.
- Offer chat or phone support so if someone has any trouble checking out it can be addressed immediately. Don’t, for heaven’s sake, send them automated messages asking them to wait 24 or 48 hours to be attended to! They won’t wait, and you are effectively serving them up to your real-time-support-offering competitors on a silver platter. I once had such an experience buying concert tickets online. After the payment was made I was asked to e-mail them my photo ID proof and a picture of the card I had used. Naturally I became suspicious. To make matters worse, the ticket confirmation didn’t come through the same day. However, through their chat support they were able to assuage my fears and reassure me that their site was quite legit, that I would certainly get my tickets, and that they were just working through some issue. When you explain, people will listen and then they may wait. Not the other way around.
- Using trust and safety badges wherever necessary will assure the shopper that you are trustworthy and accountable! It is important to reduce their fear when they have to give out their financial information online. You want them to feel easy about your site and not distrustful. If they find anything questionable at this point, they will just leave. It’s a good idea to provide further information on sensitive fields so they understand why you’re asking for it. And don’t forget to say thank you after the sale is closed. It shows courtesy, and it reflects on your brand!
- Make the pricing very clear and straightforward. DO NOT SPRING A HIDDEN FEE ON THE CUSTOMER. This is the related act to the proverb penny wise but pound foolish. If you do seedy things like this, you may get yourself a few extra bucks, but you certainly lose a long term relationship. And as we have said before, repeat customers are the life blood of your business, accounting for the larger amount of revenue you gain with the less amount of investment to get it.
- Offer as many payment modes and shipping offers as you can. People trust you more when you do this. If you make it too strict, people may have the money to pay but not the means to do it. Accept credit and debit cards, digital payment modes like PayPal, Paytm, Google wallet etc., a wallet with your own website, or even payment-on-delivery. So if one mode gets declined for some reason, they still have options to buy it. As for the delivery, it’s good to be aware of the fundamentals about shipping for e-commerce stores and learn to work around that. Try and be reasonable with the shipping charges. You could even offer free or reduced shipping charges based on the average bill value or for members.
- By having the newsletter opt-in box unchecked, you express respect for the personal information the customer has provided. It is quite rankling when the box is pre-ticked and the customer realises it too late. It comes across like a petty trick and gives your company a slimy reputation. The customer has given you their personal data; you want them to understand that you will use it only with their permission.
So there you have it, 15 things to remember to design a user-friendly checkout page. Don’t let a bad checkout page be the reason a sale fell through!
For a crisp go-to handy-guide, check out our thorough checklist for the checkout page of e-commerce websites.
And always remember, it doesn’t end with one good whitewash, but with continuous maintenance. And in this case, that maintenance is ways to optimise and, thereby, improve the customer’s online shopping experience!