10 Steps to a Killer E-Commerce Website
After getting a customer all the way through the selection process to the shopping cart, it is the job of the checkout process to finish the job. Fortunately, there are some relatively simple things that businesses can do to encourage this.
Step 1: Create a Persistent Shopping Cart
Sometimes a customer will put items into a cart and then leave. If that customer comes back—and this does happen—your chances of completing the sale will be much higher if those items are still in the cart.
Step 2: Minimize Options to Navigate or Leave
Once your customer is in the purchasing funnel, your primary goal is to keep that process going. Reduce navigation options or means by which a customer can get distracted and leave without buying.
Step 3: Never Make Customers Retype Information
That simple “Billing address is the same as shipping address” checkbox is worth its weight in gold. Keep it simple and you will keep them moving all the way through to “complete purchase”.
Step 4: Do It For Them
Prefill as much information as possible. For example, when a zip code is entered, populate the city and state.
Step 5: Use Clear Label Verbiage
Make sure your labels are clear. For example, offering the option to “Continue” is not sufficient. Instead, give people the choice to “Continue shopping” or “Continue to checkout”.
Step 6: Follow a Logical Order
Your checkout process is not the place to get cutesy or try something new. Stick with the recognized and expected logical order of things. The option to register, login or checkout as guest should always be first. After that, have customers enter shipping followed by billing information and then complete the purchase.
Step 7: Highlight Optional and Mandatory Information
Let people easily see what information or steps are required versus not so that they do not miss something critical and get kicked back.
Step 8: Allow for Guest Checkout
Do not require people to register with you—let it be their choice. It is fine to let the benefits be known (easier order tracking, etc.) but avoid the temptation to force or oversell it.
Step 9: Keep Login Criteria Simple
Let users define user names and passwords that fit standard criteria. If these are too complex, people will not do it.
Step 10: Size Buttons Appropriately
Your most important checkout buttons will be things like “Next” or “Process Order”. Make sure those are more prominent than anything else.
When you work to make your checkout process simple and efficient, customers will not only be more likely to finish what they started with you but they will also be more likely to return to your store. Additionally, these good experiences often garner recommendations and are also recognized in the new search algorithm.