Retailers are very excited as the big season of holiday is on its way and the experience of online shopping is simply unavoidable.
The ultimate goal for this column is to help the shoppers to checkout, because this is a very important and crucial aspect of the transactional website, you need to pay attention to the details that would help you to build a sustainable and reputable business and you can earn a lot of money from this.
So, let’s get back on the track, here is the 18 point checklist to expand the online checkouts:
1- Progress bar
It is recommended to make sure that the checkout process contains clearly labeled and numbered progress bar. It does not matter what it takes 5 or 50 steps for completing, but those must be distinctly laid out for the shoppers.
As the side note, horizontal vs. vertical layout is the interesting thing for testing out here. Just remember no wrong or right is present here. The most important thing is that it should work for the customers.
Here is the vertical bar example-
- ADDRESS 2. DELIVERY 3. PAYMENT MODE 4. REVIEW 5. ONLINE RECEIPT
The best practice is common to both of them, the steps are labeled and numbered and the next steps are mentioned. It would be suitable if you highlight the current step.
Never ask the customer to repeat the information provided by them. Once the name, email address, residence address is asked it is better to make sure that it does not appear in the next session. The shopper or the customer may find it irritating and cumbersome to type the information details again and they will simply abandon or leave the process in the middle.
3- Information Copying
If the same info is again required in the process of checkout, it would be helpful for the client if she or he can copy the same instead of typing it again. It would be better if they can simply click on the button. For example- suppose a shopper has the same address for shipping and billing, provide them an option to easily use that same content or information again.
4- Remove Distractions
It’s very much important to avoid or remove all the distractions so that the customers can concentrate on the process of transaction only. Don’t give the customers a chance to click away from the page.
Cross and up selling is good, but these need to be only purchase related only. And by all the means, you can suggest some accessories and extra shopping, but the dynamic graphics should totally be avoided.
5- Error Messages
Nothing is much irritating than the error messages. If in case you are sending an error message it should be made easy to understand and user friendly. And it is strictly recommended to avoid messages such as- “INCORRECT OR INVALID INPUT OF PHONE NUMBER”. Instead of this you can try out some user friendly message such as- “Kindly re-enter the telephone number.”
6- Error Areas
In case any error occurs in the checkout, then save the information that the customer has entered already instead of asking it again. If they have to re-enter the same information again and again then they might get irritated and stop the checkout.
Make sure the prices are displayed properly including the taxes and the shipping charge before the process of checkout is completed so that the customer would find it suitable before payment.
Never display any complex formulas for the shipping prices; it may confuse the users or shopper. Just calculate it and display it to them.
9- Free Shipping
Consider providing free shipping if you can. This will remarkably improve your business.
10- Delivery Time
Always estimate proper delivery time and the product should be delivered at the right time as mentioned and even better if you deliver before the given time. It is quite useful if a margin is added to delivery time.
11- Delivery Method
Make sure you have mentioned the available delivery methods and in addition to this provide the reference number so that the customer can easily track the required information. It is very frustrating to spend money on some product and not having any idea regarding it.
It’s better to keep the process of checkout as simple as possible and the customers will find it suitable. The more and more page present in between the product page and the checkout, the more risky will be the sales process.
Display the status of your stock and it’s suitable to do that before the shoppers add the product in their cart. And by this the customer will not have to end this process and only to discover that the order can’t be fulfilled. If the product is not available currently then do not display it.
Always reaffirm the offers and the warrantee/guarantee on the forms of order. Abandonment of shopping cart always has been an issue. It would be better if the offer is displayed again in the order form.
15- Payment Methods
Internet is the global marketplace, it’s very important to make sure you provide many payment modes. And all these payment methods should be displayed clearly in the process of checkout.
16- Payment Flexibility
It is better if many payment options are available for the customers. Some of the offers are “three payments” or “get the product then pay”. It’s all about the creativity of attractive names.
An example of payment plan is- product price + free shipping + 2 months payment plan
No it’s not Tom Cruise’s daughter. SURI stands for intuitive, reassuring, usable, and simple.
Throughout entire process of checkout, you should ask yourself as well as others at each step:
- Is this really simple?
- Is this really usable?
- Is this really reassuring?
- Is this really intuitive?
When you have answered “yes” to every question, then the process of checkout is ready.
18- Refine and Test
Even if these tips are the best practices, but you can never know their result and effect without testing. Some might work great and some might not. So it’s important to implement things in the controlled environment. You should never stop implementing and refining the process.