17 Ideas To Improve Sales & Conversion Through Your Ecommerce Checkout
30 June 2015 by Debbie Hopkins
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Pay attention to the way that your site creates trust. For visitors who haven’t bought from you before this is particularly important. We all consciously and unconsciously assess a site to get a feel for whether we instinctively trust what we see. Not convincing your would-be shoppers will reduce your conversion rate, and a bad first impression will most likely see them not bothering to come back.
There’s a few things you can do:
- Pay attention to security certificates and logos, and ensure these are shown especially on checkout. It never hurts to offer guarantees on your service, and advertising these will help tempt shoppers into trying you out.
- These days, ‘https’ secure URLs are a must - increasingly they are expected for standard pages, but are vital for every step through your checkout, both for real security and the feeling of trust.
- As always, clearly displaying your contact details including geographic landline and physical address are very important to help visitors feel that they could check you out first.
- And of course, a live-chat feature is a great (if you have the resources to make sure someone is always available) to answer quick questions customers may have. This last one can really make the difference for a customer who wants to know a little more before they commit, so is well worth doing.
Obviously, you need to make it easy for your visitors to pay you. These days it is standard to offer a wide range of payment methods. Really, the more the better to ensure no one is put off by having the wrong card type. It is always nice to include the option to checkout with PayPal. This is especially useful to speed up checkout, and helps with security conscious shoppers who don’t need to give you their card details directly, using the safety of PayPal as a middleman.
Keep things quick and simple
If you can, make sure that your checkout forms include autofill features. It can really make things very easy for shoppers if they start typing their name and find that the majority of the other forms can be filled in by their browser based on their previous transactions. This can help push conversions from people in a hurry.
It’s a great idea these days to get a one-page checkout. This has the benefit of being easy and quick, but also showing shoppers exactly how much work is between them and getting their confirmation email. You can reassure them that the process isn’t going to be too hard, and crucially that they aren’t going to have to hand over tons of personal information on top of their money. If you can’t do a one-pager, then at least try to incorporate breadcrumbs / progress bar so shoppers can see how many steps are left.
Try to remove distractions during the checkout phase. Concentrate your pages down towards the key actions required to complete the transaction. This means reducing navigation options, avoiding additional product links, and ensuring you don’t have anything competing for attention.
This can be complemented by paying attention to the copy on your buttons and even their colour. Make sure that your pages are tested so that they are crystal clear about what you are asking your customer to do. There should be no ambiguity about what is required to proceed.
You might consider using your promotional code box by offering discount codes on your home page to all visitors - perhaps by giving a percentage discount for purchases before a certain date as part of a general sale. This will help make sure your promo box gets some beyond people with gift cards, for example.
Make sure your forms have decent error validation. Every now and then customers will misunderstand what is required for a certain form, and in order to retain them, the page needs to be clear about what has gone wrong, and ideally be specific about the format required for the field that has gone wrong. If they can’t figure out what has gone wrong, they will probably move on.
Don’t ask too much
During the checkout, one of the best ways of losing a sale is to ask for too much information about your customer. From the visitor’s perspective the transaction is pretty simple: they want to swap their cash for your product. They know that they need to hand over some other information - their name, email address, postal address etc are standard, but a major turnoff is finding a checkout which asks for seemingly irrelevant information. You might want to know how often your customers use the gym, but shoppers aren’t in the checkout to answer a survey.
You’d be better emailing existing customers to ask for their input if you need more information. If you absolutely need to ask personal information beyond the basics, you could use some type of dynamic forms to ensure that you are not overwhelming users with a wall of empty field boxes.
No nasty surprises
Is losing sales a part of your sales strategy? Then pop in some unforeseen surprises near the end, such as high shipping costs or strange terms and conditions. This is probably the biggest reason for abandoned carts, and is pretty simple to avoid. Ideally you should already be offering free shipping, at least above a certain purchase level, and simply roll the shipping cost into the product price. If your products are difficult to ship for some reason meaning free shipping is not practical, then make sure you clearly advertise the link for shipping information from the front page right through the site. It is the surprise factor that puts people off, not necessarily the cost itself.
Another aspect of this is giving accurate stock information during shopping. Finishing a purchase only to receive an email saying the product is out of stock gives a really bad impression, and could be avoided by giving the information on the product page.
At TheGenieLab, we are Ecommerce experts, specialising in Shopify and Magento. We're always happy to advise, so get in touch today to talk about your project. Thanks for reading.
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