Online shoppers can be your best friends or your worst enemies. Earning their loyalty can be extremely lucrative, since internet retailers sold over $1.4 trillion in goods throughout 2016 alone. But it can be difficult to win their approval. After all, thousands of other businesses offer similar services online. If consumers don’t like what you’re offering, they can walk away and find someone better.
In other words, you have to know what online shoppers want if you want to inspire them to buy from you. You can obviously apply this principle to your product offerings and customer service, but how do you do the same for your checkout process?
You may not think this is an important question, but it is. A significant portion of consumers abandon purchases as they’re about to pay for an item. In other words, your checkout process could be snatching money right out of your hands.
If you want to ensure that cash ends up in your pocket, you need to make sure your checkout stages meet consumers’ expectations. These tips can help you do just that.
1. Cost Is the Biggest Factor
Imagine going into a bookstore and seeing an ad for a novel that costs $25. You talk to the shopkeeper and he tells you that he’ll need to ship the book to his store, which will cost an additional $10. Then he tells you that he’ll have to add a processing fee of $5, on top of taxes. In this situation, you would probably feel cheated and leave the store. So why would you make your prices deceptive on your online store?
In a poll measuring shopping cart abandonment, three of the four most popular reasons for ending a transaction prematurely involved excessive or unexpected costs. Shoppers know that they have to anticipate additional fees, but you need to give them a sense of just how expensive those costs will be. Offer approximate estimates for shipping costs and taxes on your product pages so that consumers can adjust their expectations accordingly.
2. Minimize Checkout Errors and Website Crashes
This may seem like an obvious point, but you’d be surprised by how many supposedly reputable e-commerce sites feature frequent glitches and enormous downtime. According to Monetate, unnecessary errors costs merchants about $44 billion in revenue. You can’t avoid mistakes entirely, but you can do your utmost to minimize their damage.
3. Don’t Make Your Checkouts Feel Aimless
Have you ever been stuck in a seemingly endless checkout? Most online shoppers know the feeling, and they won’t stand for it. In the previously cited cart abandonment poll, about 25 percent of respondents left a site mid-transaction because the process was too complicated. If your prospects have to undertake an odyssey just to buy your products, you should rethink your store’s design.
Progress bars can help eliminate this aimless feeling. They let customers know how many steps remain before the transaction is complete. You should still make your checkout process as simple as possible, but this feature is also productive.
4. Mobile Optimization Is Essential
Fun fact: consumers spend 59 percent of their time browsing on their mobile device, but only use it to make 15 percent of their purchases. That means your customers are more likely to stumble upon one of your products while browsing on their phone, but they’re very unlikely to actually buy it. If you want to convert upon these opportunities, you need to optimize your store for mobile devices.
5. Payment Options Are Important
Cart abandonment isn’t always your fault. Sometimes a customer doesn’t have enough credit or funds to complete a transaction. In other cases, they may not want to pay with a credit card. If you offer alternative payment options and pay-later solutions, you’ll create more favourable purchasing conditions.