With online shopping as popular as ever (who hasn’t had delivery on the daily during COVID isolation?), adding to cart is not only about consumer convenience but, especially and pointedly during this pandemic, also keeping retailers afloat through restrictions. As with any bricks and mortar experience, customers want to feel like the perusal and purchase path is created with their best interests in mind. Your e-commerce checkout process and customer experience should be as easy and user friendly as your face-to-face one.
Here are some useful tips for common issues to optimise the ecommerce checkout process to reduce cart abandonment rates and capture a satisfied return buyer who will market you tenfold by word of mouth.
A guest checkout gives customers the option to enter an email address and head straight to the checkout without a sign-in requirement. This makes the process seem easier and speeds up the buying process by avoiding the unnecessary step of forcing customers to register. However, by making the email cell a requirement of purchase, you are able to touch base with them after purchase with a special offer for registering an account. It is a less forced option and allows respectful and helpful space for the customer.
Let’s face it, with security concerns rising, we often end up with multiple passwords, and password iterations, across multiple platforms. From banks, to social media to e-commerce sites, we’ve got more than our brain can recall on a whim. Unless you’ve got a neat spreadsheet of each, there’s a likely chance you’ve had to opt for ‘forgotten password’. While we want the process to have reliable security measures, it’s not an ideal user experience to jump through ten hoops of fire to change it.
Resetting passwords can be painful, as it slows up the checkout process, so it’s your job to ease it without being a free agent to fraudulent access. Offer a one-step authorisation process via a trusted route: such as email or text authentication.
Social media sign-in buttons are also convenient, and open you up to more data that the consumer needs to consent to before allowing access. Carefully read the T&Cs of these third party logins to ensure your own site’s privacy and security, as well as the continued trust of your customers.
Shoppers will always make the occasional mistake when completing checkout forms. Error messaging should be clear and politely explained, including how to fix it. If this is placed near the relevant form fields, user attention will be drawn to the right place quickly and efficiently to make an easy correction to the error (such as missing required information in the checkout process).
Discount codes are a big part of online shopping, and a common tactic for customer acquisition and retention. Offer customers a standard discount code, perhaps promoting it next to the code box, or run the promotion in a ticker across product pages as a reminder to include at checkout. You can also create an auto-discount at checkout.
Not all sites take every payment option available (for example, Amex is often omitted due to high fees to vendors). Debit and credit card payments are still popular, but many alternatives have emerged in the last few years that make the online purchase process a lot more seamless. With saved payment and address details, methods like PayPal mean that customers can enter a username and password, while bypassing further forms. In addition, PayPal makes the consumer feel at ease with security of their purchase.
Create a flexible return policy where the policy is crafted well. Be clear about the terms and conditions. Mention what kind of returns you accept, what should be the condition of the item to get its replacement, what is the realistic time span for returning such item, what is the procedure to raise a return request, etc.
Allow customers to make a return choice; whether they want to replace the product, raise a full refund or need the product amount in the form of store credits.
Provide free shipping for returns. Customers do not like to pay an extra for returning a product. To avoid this, you can allow free shipping on returns and keep your customers happy.
Make sure you are contactable. A visible contact number, email, messenger link whatever you are using make sure it’s available or when you are away from the desk make sure this is vocalised.