Too Many Steps in the Checkout Process
The average ecommerce site has between 5 and 6 steps required to checkout. That is too many. In most cases 3 steps will suffice, 2 if you sell digital goods.
The checkout process we developed for Embroidery Academy has only 1 step and takes less than 30 seconds to complete.
Explain your checkout process
Show your customer what your checkout process is. How many steps are there? Where am I now? What information will you ask me for?
Amazon.com does a great job of this.
Remove checkout distractions
Once your customer has agreed to purchase the products listed in their cart, you should hold their hand through the checkout process. Web surfers are easily distracted and may find themselves navigating away from your site. By removing search capabilities and navigation your customers are less likely to abandon their shopping cart.
Just remember, do not remove information important to the sale. Make sure your contact information and policies stay in place.
Always use product pictures
Everywhere that you mention your product you should have a thumbnail of that product, not just on the product detail page. Our research shows that thumbnails are much more likely to be clicked on than the product title.
This especially important on the view cart page and during checkout. This reassures the customer that the item added to the cart was the one they selected.
Be proud of your shipping prices
Provide an estimated shipping cost while users are shopping. During our usability reviews customers have expressed anxiety about shipping costs and may avoid purchasing altogether if it is not clear from the beginning.
Show out of stock notices
Many sites wait until after the purchase is completed to tell the customer that the product is not immediately available. This may deter some sales but will save you support headaches. Plus your customers will be appreciative.
Carefully up-sell during checkout
Up-selling is a very profitable practice, but it must be handled with care. Make absolutely sure that the product you are up-selling is complimentary to the products the customer is buying. If someone is buying tires and you try to up-sell diapers, you will appear greedy. Really, this stuff happens.
Use promotions sparingly
Promotions can do wonders for your sales. They are great to attract attention from media or to move dated merchandise. However, do not run promotions just for the sake of running promotions, or you may not look confident in your prices.
Show your refund policy
Items may appear differently online than in person, even with great photography. Make sure your customers know that they can return the product, and how to do so.
Stay in contact with the customer
After the order has been placed, stay in touch with your customer. They should get at least two emails: a purchase receipt and a shipped notification. If there are order complications, such as backorders, let the customer know.]]>