Although companies invest a lot of time and money into their marketing strategies, many tend to overlook one of the most important aspects of the customer journey - the checkout process.
By optimizing the checkout experience, ecommerce businesses can not only maximize sales but also increase the likelihood of returning customers.
Carrying out a checkout audit is therefore a must for all merchants looking to make 2022 as successful of a year as possible.
To help with this, here are four common mistakes I regularly see associated with checkouts and my advice on how to fix them.
1. Asking for unnecessary information
One of the main reasons consumers favor online shopping over visiting a store on the high street is of course because of the convenience. Unfortunately, many ecommerce businesses seem to forget this when it comes to their checkout and they extend a customers’ shopping journey by asking for information that isn’t needed.
It’s therefore a good idea to take a look at the personal details you ask a consumer to provide before making a purchase and double check they’re necessary. A prime example of this is when a customer is asked to provide a delivery address when making a digital purchase which naturally won’t need to be dispatched.
Another good way of reducing the information customers have to input is by implementing an auto-fill option which will remember the details of returning customers. Asking people to provide their postcode before selecting which address they live at is also a quick alternative to customers having to manually type out their home details.
Although these may only sound like subtle tweaks, streamlining the checkout process is a great way of keeping consumers happy and ensuring checkout abandonment rates remain low.
2. Limited payment options
One similarity all successful ecommerce businesses have is that they instil confidence in customers. A simple way merchants can do this is by providing shoppers with payment options they are familiar with such as PayPal, credit cards and Apple Pay. If you don’t offer these payment options it’s well worth exploring ways in which you can incorporate these into your payment system.
Even if these payment methods are available you should check how clearly you present this to your customers. For example if you offer PayPal make sure you include the PayPal logo on your checkout forms as this is something consumers will instantly recognize.
3. Unexpected costs and fees
Whether it's with product descriptions, customer reviews or delivery dates, transparency is key if merchants want to become a reputable business. The same is also true when it comes to any additional costs customers are likely to incur and as a result merchants should be upfront about these.
While the majority of consumers accept delivery charges are part and parcel of placing an order online, failing to make them aware until it comes to payment will likely cause a lot of friction and often leads to shoppers questioning the value of their purchase. Go through your product pages and double check delivery charges are made clear.
The same is also true if you offer free delivery as it could be the variable which separates you from your competitors so make sure you shout about it and have it clearly displayed on your website.
4. A lack of support options
Providing the right customer service to guide shoppers through a purchase is essential for ecommerce businesses looking to reduce their checkout abandonment rates. Customer concerns and queries can be wide and varied so it’s important you’re able to support them wherever possible. The good news is there are a wide variety of ways you can do this whether it’s through a frequently asked question (FAQ) page, a live chat or even a customer service team.
While many merchants offer some if not all of these support services they are often not very clearly labelled during the checkout process increasing the risk of visitors leaving without making a conversion.
For those yet to implement any forms of customer support a FAQ page is a great place to start and can be pulled together by looking through common questions which get asked on social media or by email.