5 Lessons from Real Checkout Lanes to Apply in Your eCommerce Checkout Process
Almost 60% of potential eCommerce customers abandon their shopping cart, according to MarketingSherpa data. Alternatively, Baymard Institute says 68.06% of online buyers abandon their shopping carts.
This is the harsh reality of online retail businesses. In contrast, shoppers in brick and mortar stores hardly abandon their carts.
So why do online buyers abandon their shopping carts?
Many relate this to the fundamental designing mistake of eCommerce websites, but there is more to it. Most of the eCommerce sites follow a complicated checkout process, which plays a significant role in the abandonment of shopping carts. Here are top 5 lessons eCommerce sites can learn from real checkout lanes.
1. People Hate Queues
Research shows that eCommerce sites that have fewer steps in their checkout process have better conversion rates. Therefore, keep your checkout process short and simple. This is one of the UX blunders that can have an adverse effect on your bottom line.
A short and effective checkout process should provide an intuitive and straightforward buying experience. Reduce the number of steps between selecting a product and its checkout path; guide your customer effectively through basket, payment and delivery details. People will tend to turn away if they have to click through more number of pages to clear the checkout process.
Let’s think from a brick and mortar store’s perspective. Buyers are likely to get frustrated if they have to wait in a serpentine queue at the checkout counter. It is similar in their digital equivalent, though buyers are still less likely to abandon the cart in an offline retail store as they have invested a lot of time and effort in the shopping process. Therefore, keep the checkout flow tight and short to provide your customers the best possible experience.
Guest checkout is another option you need to consider. According to reports from User Interface Engineering, sales can increase up to 45% when eCommerce sites remove mandatory registration. With forced registration, you’re just adding extra steps to your already complex checkout process. Also, allow easy-edit features for shopping carts so that customers can remove unwanted items easily from their shopping carts.
2. Accept Different Payment Options
Think brick and mortar stores again. They allow you to pay by cash, debit/credit cards, gift cards, coupons and more.
What forms of payment do you accept?
Take your lesson from physical stores and offer the same variety, if not more, in your eCommerce checkout process. Add as much payment options as possible. Try including payment innovations like PayPal, Bank Wire, Check or Money Order, bitcoin payments, mobile payments and even Cash on Delivery.
Recent trends suggest that credit cards are losing their popularity as one of the primary payment methods in many countries. On the other hand, demand for alternative payment method is rising. There are over 230 alternative payment methods and some of them like real time bank transfers, e-wallets, mobile payments, prepaid cards and offline credit transfers are gaining immense popularity in the e-commerce industry.
It is therefore important for eCommerce websites to add variety in payment options. Studies suggest that online retailers can boost conversion rate by 20% or more by providing the right payment option. In addition, every additional payment method can help increase sales rate by 14% and adding 3-4 payment methods can boost conversion rates by over 20%.
3. Offer a Personal Touch
The cashier at the real checkout counter helps the shopper with all and any queries they may have. Bring in the same flexibility in your online store.
Live Chat option is an effective engagement tool to add a personal touch similar to a real checkout counter. However, you need to use this option appropriately otherwise it can be intrusive on your eCommerce website. Many online stores do the mistake of having it pop up on their home pages; instead, include this customer support functionality on secondary navigation.
You can even prepare some canned responses using software like Provide Support. This will help the live chat to target the appropriate subject effectively without wasting time. For example, if you have a sales related query at the live chat, you can direct the user to click one of the pre-defined sales related responses to save time and effort.
Additionally, place your customer care numbers prominently to help in trouble shooting, completing the transaction successfully and answering customer queries.
4. Don’t Forget to Cross-Sell and Upsell
Checkout lanes at supermarkets are filled with knick-knacks like small toys, gum, chocolates, batteries etc. No, they are not there because of the lack of space to keep them. Rather, these items are strategically placed to tempt shoppers so that they make impulse purchases. For a better sales rate, apply this philosophy in your eCommerce store.
When it comes to cross-sell, proper positioning of additional items plays a significant role. Mostly, eCommerce stores place them on the product page. But it may actually interrupt the decision making process for the product originally sought. This is why cross-sell doesn’t work most of the time. You can offer more items appropriately after the buyer adds the original item to the cart, either in the cart itself or through an interstitial. You can, however, present these items in the product page as well provided you keep the ‘usability’ in mind, i.e. the product page must allow users to add multiple items to cart.
5. Sign up Users for Promotional Programs
Most supermarkets and some of the best brick and mortar stores ask for their customers’ phone numbers and email ID’s to send out promotional messages in the future. And this is done only AFTER the customer completes the transaction. Mostly, such requests come with the temptation o
f coupons and future discounts.
This is a good strategy that eCommerce stores can learn from th
eir offline counterparts. Extract personal details of buyers for building customer profiles. Using these details you can target them for repeat purchases in the future. But the key is to do this only after the initial transaction is completed, otherwise you may run the risk of overwhelming the customer with all the personal questions and in turn they might abandon the cart.
The goal is to create a better shopping experience for your buyers. It is not about just eliminating shopping cart abandonment, but also to encourage your buyers to come back for future purchases. You need to provide a seamless shopping experience with new, improved options which are designed to remove every obstacle that your customers might encounter in the checkout process.