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Ecommerce: Four ways to improve your checkout process and boost revenues

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11th Nov 2015
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You may have worked tirelessly to build a strong online presence, but what good does it do if it fails to turn visits into buyers?

Estimates suggest that the percentage of checkout page abandonments is as high as 67%, which means almost 7 of every 10 customers are likely to abandon the page, killing a potential conversion.

However, this statistic can be lowered if best practices are followed. To examine best practices, lets first look at what makes checkout failures persistent.

Why are online shopping carts abandoned?

Price is obviously a prime factor that affects the decision of the customer, but some other reasons also play a vital role in whether the cart is abandoned.

For instance, research suggests that 28% of shoppers abandon their carts due to unexpected shipping costs.

Elsewhere, security checks can be annoying on the checkout pages. Lengthy pages that precede the checkout can be a tiresome procedure as it staggers the shopper's progress. Mandatory registration that compels the client to fill in forms before purchasing is yet another legitimate reason behind cart abandonment. 

When all these issues are piled up in your checkout page, the process becomes full of friction and resistance.

Here are four tested methods that can boost your website's revenue by improving the checkout process of the page.

1. Reducing security scans 

This is the equivalent of being frisked during check-in at an airport - a process nobody likes (well, almost nobody).

Constant security checks can be prohibitive to a smooth checkout process and one security code acceptance (SSL) can suffice.

2. Streamlining the checkout process

The longer the checkout process takes, the more likely the customer will lose interest. Therefore, it's important to minimise the number of pages required to complete the transaction. 

On average, a checkout is composed of six step procedure that acquires all the data needed for the purchase to happen from card details to shipping address. However, it is the episodic, one-by-one process that causes the customer to abandon the basket. 

There have been a few solutions to this, but the smartest and the most effective is no doubt the one-step checkout that completely addresses the length issue. It combines all the attributes in a single page that finalises the checkout process without clicking 'next' and waiting for the new fields to appear. 

3. Customising the checkout page

Managing the customisation features of your checkout page is imperative. Without colour or odour, there will be no bees on the flowers! Therefore, some key features should be looked at: 

  • The banner images must be meaningful and contextual.
  • Feature relevant logos to maintain interest. 
  • The background content should reflect the importance of the product. 
  • Colour schemes must be easy on the eye.
  • White spacing should be well-proportioned with the fonts easy to read. 

4. Reducing 'mandatory' and prioritising 'optional'

Clients often get frustrated with the compulsory information demanded by the vendor at checkout pages. Customers quickly feel like a hassle-free process has become overly-complicated, and in a worst case scenario it leads them to abandoning the shopping cart altogether. 

The best conversions happen when there is abundance of checkout fields but more than half of these are optional and can easily be avoided if the customer is in a rush to complete the transaction. 

In particular, etailers should avoid forcing visitors to register with the site, and create an account, before they can make a purchase. 

Simon Walker is a professional ecommerce expert currently working for FMEextensions.

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