Across all industries and amongst businesses of all sizes, ecommerce checkouts have the greatest potential to block a sale simply because they’re the one area that everyone must visit before converting. So, if you want to improve conversion rates, keep an eye out for these checkout mistakes:
Too Many Steps
People are too busy to jump through hoops to buy something – they just want to place their order and go on with their day. This is especially true now that consumers of all ages are shopping from their phones while on the go or trying to multi-task at home while shopping online. That’s why people pretty much expect a one-page checkout these days no matter where they shop online. So, if your website still has an antique multi-page checkout, you better have a good reason. (And that reason can’t be that you just don’t want to take the time or pay to change it.)
There are some rare instances where a single page just doesn’t work out for a company’s checkout. For longer these checkout processes, keep people engaged and informed by having a progress bar at the top so that they know how much is left to go before they can complete their purchase. And remember, you don’t have to get rid of the different steps of your checkout process, you just need to consolidate them into one page with multiple areas.
Asking for Unnecessary Information
Marketers are notorious for trying to slip extra fields into checkout pages to get market data. They typically want to know how someone heard about the site, whether they were satisfied with their shopping experience, and collect demographic data, but these extra fields do two things:
- They make the checkout process much longer than it needs to be (see above)
- They’re off-putting because they can feel intrusive
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to get this highly valuable information, but there’s a better way to do it than cluttering up the checkout page. For instance, after a shopper places an order, a small popup can ask how they found the site and the thank you page can have a satisfaction survey. Alternatively, these items can be included in the transactional emails that follow a purchase (the order confirmation email, order shipped email, etc.).
Once a business’s relationship grows with a customer, it becomes more socially acceptable to ask them to volunteer personal details by filling out a customer profile. Just remind customers what’s in it for them to provide this information, like better targeted emails geared towards their preferences.
Shoppers don’t care which types of credit cards give you a better rate or which shipping options are most cost-effective for you to provide, they just want options. If you don’t offer enough payment options, you run the risk of only accepting forms of payment that someone doesn’t have or doesn’t want to use. And if you only offer basic shipping options you may lose the sale for someone who needs their products right away or guaranteed by a certain day. Cater to different audiences by giving shoppers many different choices to suit their needs.
Additionally, providing options for things like gift receipts, messaging, and wrapping makes your offerings even more attractive to people who aren’t shopping for themselves.
Poor Mobile Experience
Hopefully, if the rest of your website is mobile-friendly, then your checkout will be as well. However, you shouldn’t just assume that’s the case. Periodically test your checkout from your phone by placing a small test order so that you can identify any usability issues and correct them. Doing this regularly ensures that if a problem arises, it won’t affect your sales for too long before it’s discovered.
You should also shop on your competitors’ websites to see what the experience is like elsewhere. (Don’t worry – you can abandon the shopping cart at the last minute so that you don’t give them any business) This is a great way to get inspired and come up with ideas to improve your own checkout!
Checkout errors will definitely kill sales! Sometimes errors are just annoying, but other times they can actually prevent people from buying altogether.
I was once trying to buy something online and the company’s website just wouldn’t let me checkout. It kept giving me this error message that the price of the item I was trying to buy wasn’t accurate, which I didn’t understand because I had selected the product I wanted. My husband went through the code and, apparently, the checkout was rounding the price (so a $76.50 product was being entered into the system as $75) and then when the purchase price didn’t match the product price, an error was keeping the order from being submitted. This company probably had no idea that this was happening, they just knew that no one was buying from their online store.
This is why it’s so important to test your checkout regularly from different browsers on different devices to identify any problem spots.
Now that you know where your ecommerce checkout can go astray, it’s time to analyze your website. If you need some help, contact us. We’d love to look over your site and offer you some feedback!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and son and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!