Now more than ever, selling products online is something of a science. Analytics, statistics and data on eCommerce websites design at the micro and macro level show that there are definite things that visitors respond to and factors that can make visitors more likely to buy. Website owners are seeing the value of analysing website data and tracking the movements of visitors to ascertain where in the shopping process potential customers are being lost.
One of the most common places, unfortunately, is the checkout page. You may have done all the work; enticed the visitor with beautiful high definition product images, well-written descriptions and an easy-to-navigate, good looking website, but if your checkout page doesn’t cut the mustard, you’re almost certain to lose a few sales.
This article will go through just a few of the things you should be considering for your checkout page to ensure you give yourself the best chance!
1. Add a guest checkout option
This has been hotly debated for a long time. On the one hand, encouraging your customers to create an account on your website can increase your chance of retaining them as a return customer, as well as giving you an avenue to market your business to them into the future.
On the other hand, it can be a bit annoying for the customer to have to create an account when they are excited about making a purchase, and this can actually reduce sales. The fact is, more often than not, it’s a good idea to give your customer a choice. By having the customer fill out their details, you put something of a barrier between them and the product and make it less like for shoppers to make quick, impulsive purchases on your website.
Of course, you should consider your particular business and how customers generally buy from you. Customers for a food delivery service, for instance, may be more likely to make repeat orders and an online clothing store simply because of the nature of the service. In this example, you may find that the customer is better off creating an account given that they are able to log in and quickly order the same products every week/month, etc.
One thing to remember whether you do or do not have multiple checkout options is that you should try to make the forms as straightforward and as painless as possible.
2. Consider removing the navigation
Generally, navigation menus – including the top and side nav – should be visible and accessible at all times; visitors need to be able to navigate to any other party on the website without thinking.
However, this actually may not be true of the checkout page. The thinking here is that if a customer clicks through to the checkout page, they are ready to buy and distracting them with navigation options may distract them from making the purchase and encourage them to leave the page and continue browsing.
While this may not be the end of the world – they are after all browsing through more of your products – it’s better to take care of business quickly and efficiently when the customer is willing to buy. Furthermore, hiding the navigation elements from this page increases the load time considerably, helping speed up the process further which is a big plus.
3. Be upfront with shipping and delivery costs
A considerable percentage of bounces from checkout pages come due to the fact that shipping fees are added only on the final step, which is quite an unwelcome surprise to shoppers.
Not only will this lead to more checkout page exists, but it can irk visitors to your website and discourage them from visiting again, which obviously isn’t in your best interests.
Rather than springing these charges on visitors on the final step, make it clear to them early on, possibly on the first page of the checkout process. Not only can this improve your overall conversion rate, but it keeps customers on your good side.
4. The more payment options, the better
Every customer has a different situation and a different ideal payment method. In our minds, providing as many payment options as possible for the customer really has no downside. Some will prefer to pay via VISA or Mastercard, others through PayPal and some via bank deposit. Why not give the customer a better chance of being able to pay how they wish to pay?
Every time a visitor has to think about the purchase, second guess it or finds some inconvenience in the payment process, the potential exists for you to lose the sale altogether. It’s just not worth chancing it! In addition, including payment logos and security seals is a great idea, as it reassures visitors and conveys that you are indicating that you are an authentic and genuine business. Ideally, you’ll include logos for all payment types including all credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, etc.
5. A progress bar goes a long way
If you indeed decide to eliminate the usual site navigation on the checkout page (or even if you don’t), it’s well worthwhile providing shopping with a progress bar to guide them through the payment process and providing something of a reference point as they go through the steps. We’d highly recommend you include as few steps as possible (three is a good number), and when the customer can use the progress bar to see that the payment process is going to be quick, it encourages and reassures them, as it is clear to them what’s coming.
Obviously, the progress bar would be considerably less effective if you have an eight-step payment process, as this will simply deter visitors that are wanting to make a quick purchase. But if they can see that there are only a couple of steps, they’re more eager to go ahead with the payment.
There are a huge number of things you can do to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your checkout page, and often this is something that you’ll need to experiment and play with to get right. Ultimately, the most important aspects of this page are to ensure it is quick and easy while providing customers with the information they need to make the purchase with confidence. If your checkout page achieves this, you’re well on your way!