More often than not, I see clients spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising every week, or committing vast resources to advertising and Branding budgets, while virtually ignoring the user experience of the checkout process. You’re running an eCommerce site and your goal is to convert as many potential customers as possible! What good is an optimized PPC or advertising campaign, if you’re losing customers through the purchase process? Checkout issues are the number loss leader for the majority of eCommerce sites. Technically speaking, we refer to this as “cart abandonment.”
For the purposes of this discussion, we won’t get too technical however. In my experience, most Small Business owners (and even a lot of the Big Brands) have yet to master the basics… so that’s where we’ll begin. Here’s a couple tips to help you begin to analyze your eCommerce site’s check out process.
1. Get an objective perspective. Chances are you’ve spent hundreds of hours creating, building, and optimizing your eCommerce site. You’re too close to the problem. We’ve all had times where we are editing page content for example, and we review and re-read it dozens of times and each time miss the same type-o. Ask your friends, colleagues, family, even strangers, to go to your website and make a purchase, and report their feedback to you.
2. Make it easy to buy. Remember, your number one objective after a customer has decided to make a purchase, is to get their money as quickly as possible! The most beautiful product photography or site content means nothing if your customer can’t easily find the “buy now” button. Pay attention to the flow and navigation of the check out process as well. We read left to right and top to bottom. For example, don’t put a button to continue check out button on the left side of the page if the customer needs to fill out information on the right side of the page.
3. Don’t distract the customer. Once they have chosen to make a purchase, don’t distract the customer with blog posts, newsletter sign ups or other information. Your site’s navigation should change as the check out process begins. You don’t want the customer getting distracted and clicking on another link on the page after they’ve decided to make a purchase because chances are you’ve just lost the sale! Professional E Commerce Marketing Tips are valuable, but some good ‘ole common sense goes a long way as well!
4. Instill confidence and trust. Especially if you’re a Small Business or unknown Brand, you have to make extra certain that your customer knows you are a trusted eCommerce retailer. You’re asking the customer to give you very sensitive information such as their email, home address, and credit card information. If at any time that customer gets the feeling that you’re not legitimate or feels uncomfortable sharing that information with you, you’ve just lost the sale. Explain or at least inform your customer of each step they’re taking to complete the purchase. If they’ve continue to step 3 or 4 of the checkout process and feel as if there’s no end in sight, they may start to feel uneasy or decide they’ll come back when they have more time. Guess what… they probably won’t!
Optimizing your eCommerce site to maximize conversions doesn’t have to be rocket science. Make the shopping process easy and understandable for the customer and they’ll likely reward you with a sale! All the advertising in the world isn’t going to result in more revenue if your checkout process isn’t effective!