Setting up an e-commerce site that converts is not as easy as it looks. A terrific product and excellent customer service are both essential, but they don’t guarantee a thriving business. Running a successful e-commerce store requires much more than a great product and service.
Your checkout process must be tested over and over for any friction. Is it fast, simple and secure? You must devise a winning formula for these attributes in order to get the highest rate of conversion on your site. A tedious and lengthy process will frustrate customer and drive them to your competitors. Refer to the checkout usability tips described below to delight your customers and improve your conversion.
Set a Default Shipping Address Based on the Billing Address
If you’re selling physical products, a simple technique that makes the checkout easier is to use a shipping address that’s the same as the billing address. Using this technique, you can auto-hide the extra fields for the shipping address and leave a check box that the customer can tick if he needs to enter a different shipping address. A default shipping address will remove the burden that customers feel when they have to fill out too many fields in your checkout forms.
Reassure the Customer Along the Way
Most customers are nervous about providing too much information on checkout forms. In a world where consumers are bombarded with hundreds of spam emails every day and constant calls from telemarketers on the weekends, it’s easy to understand why your customers might be cautious about providing that information during checkout.
Use copy to convince the customer that any information they provide will be used responsibly. It helps to let them know why you’re requesting the information and what you plan to do with it.
Don’t Be Ambiguous
Words like “next,” “proceed,” or “continue” could be interpreted different ways by different customers. Do you want the customer to continue shopping or continue to the next step? Use tool tips to clarify what you mean or be clear about what you want the customer to do. There’s nothing like trying to checkout only to hit the wrong button and be taken to the wrong page.
Your Primary Call to Action Should be Most Visible
The button that takes the customer to the next step in the checkout should be the most obvious element on your checkout pages. Customers often click buttons without reading, so instead of moving forward to the next step he might click to a completely different page. Remove all other website call to actions – or keep them in the background – from your checkout pages.
Make Sure That Extra Costs are Clearly Visible
Extra costs must be clearly visible from the onset. Tax and shipping costs must be presented early on in the process – not at the end. Many disillusioned customers abandon the checkout process when they see the final costs at the end.
If you’re not sure about your customers’ experience with your checkout, you should try the process yourself and experience it from a customer’s perspective. Make constant revisions to reduce friction so you’ll improve your conversion and sell more.
Daniel Hicks has extensive experience in website marketing. His articles mainly appear in business software blogs. Visit the SEO Works link for more ideas.