A huge aspect of eCommerce is working on how you can guide your customers as quickly and effectively as possible through their journey from interest to purchasing their item. But so many retailers still don’t take advantage of the opportunities that the final all-important step can provide for them to maximise the transaction. So how can you add value to your basket? Here’s some eCommerce checkout best practices to give you some ideas.
Of course, when a customer has added an item to their basket, your number one priority is to make sure they complete that transaction without getting annoyed and giving up, so the first consideration when planning any kind of changes to your checkout process is to ensure that you’re not messing up something that works. Using your eCommerce analytics to follow the user journey is the best way to keep a track of this.
If you add in too many steps or clutter up the checkout page with too many distracting elements, you run the risk of losing the sale you already had in the bag. As with every step of the process, you can easily visualise being a customer in a physical shop and imagine how likely you are to still buy a product if it takes you ten minutes of being asked questions and offered additional items when you get to the checkout. Not very likely, basically.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t add value to your basket if you do it intelligently in a way that will make the customer feel rewarded rather than exploited and increase not only their spend but also their loyalty.
Get The Simple Things Right
Checkout optimisation is exactly what it sounds like: making sure your checkout works in the best way possible for your customers. Make it quick, slick and user-friendly, particularly on mobile, where so many eCommerce sites still fail badly at the checkout stage. Even if a customer has had a good experience up to that final point, if your checkout page is hard to navigate on mobile (for example, it’s hard to click on the right boxes for filling card details) then they’ll give up and most won’t bother going through it all again on desktop.
Adding things like the ability to easily return from the checkout to continue shopping if they want is a simple, but effective, way to ease your customers’ journey and encourage them to spend more with you without any hint of a hard-sell. It also gives them confidence that they won’t lose the items in their basket by going through that process, rather than taking the traditionally riskier step of pressing back in their browser.
If there are a few steps to go through in your checkout process, a progress bar is a good way of keeping your customers with you and not feeling like this is a torment that’s never going to end. Speaking of torture, don’t force customers to register with you before they can buy anything. That’s a surefire way to send people running from your checkout before they’ve got anywhere near clicking Pay Now.
Upsell, But Be Helpful!
When a customer gets to your checkout with a product they want to buy, a well-positioned and well-chosen upsell can not only add value for you in terms of getting more money from them, but also add genuine value for them in selling them something that goes well with what they had come to buy, but possibly hadn’t thought of before. This requires effort in the eCommerce system when it comes to linking relevant products together, but it’s an essential job.
Think carefully about how you present them, because you need it to be a slick process that doesn’t add effort to the customer’s final step. If they can hover over the suggested additional item and see enough details to convince them and then click one button to add it to their order, then it’s so much more tempting to do so. If you sell products that come in various colours, giving them the chance to preview all of them right on the checkout, that makes their decision-making even easier. Amazon has perfected the art of upselling and cross selling, which we covered in our recent Spotlight on Amazon article. The screenshot below shows how Amazon subtly displays add-ons and recommended accessories once a customer has added an item to the basket. The recommendations are logical, relevant, not overtly salesy or intrusive and will most likely grab the attention of the shopper and entice them to add more to their basket before completing the checkout.
Tempt Them With Offers
Offers and sales are an obvious thing to use in eCommerce because it’s so easy to upsell if you’re giving people something that feels like a bargain. And it’s not too late to do this at the checkout either. If they’ve added one item that is part of an offer that they haven’t taken full advantage of, make sure you tell them and give them the chance to see what else they can get. They’ll come away feeling like they’ve got a great deal they might have missed out on and you’ll have sold more products.
Another of the most common eCommerce checkout best practices is to try and encourage customers to spend more by offering discounts on shipping for people who spend a certain amount. If you can tell them how little they need to add to their order to qualify, or give them some examples of items they can easily add to their basket to get this great saving, you’re making it very hard for them to resist.
Don’t Stop Just Because They’ve Paid
After the customer has clicked Pay Now, it doesn’t mean that their spending is necessarily over. They still need to see the confirmation page telling them that you’ve received their order and their payment, and here you have another chance to show them products that they might still be interested in buying. Maybe they won’t immediately click to add one to their basket and go through the checkout again, but if they see something they like, it’ll stay with them and they may well be back soon.
You also get a chance at this stage to upsell to their friends and family, if that’s appropriate for your audience and products. If you sell quirky lifestyle products or furniture or clothes, giving your customer the chance to show off what they’ve purchased on Pinterest or Twitter or Facebook before it’s even arrived will appeal and will advertise your product and your shop to everyone who is connected to them online.
What do you think are the best eCommerce checkouts? Let us know in the comments section or via social media, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to receive more articles straight to your inbox.