Marketing Specialist Nash is back and this time she’s tackling the online checkout process with 7 optimization steps!
I can’t speak for everyone, but there have certainly been times when a long, overly complicated checkout process (I nearly had to paddle through) turned me away from completing my purchase. Why is this so long and awkward? And are all these steps necessary?
I guess the most important question is, does it have to be this way?
No. It doesn’t have to go down like this! It doesn’t have to be this cumbersome and complicated. No one should have to spend more than a few minutes checking out online. And more than that, your experience of purchasing a product shouldn’t make you feel exhausted, it should make you feel excited, exhilarated, and alive! (ok maybe not that happy but you catch my drift)
So without further ado, we’ve compiled a handy little checklist of 7 steps to streamline your checkout funnel and boost conversion rates, because let’s face it, that’s why you’re really here…
1 Put Email First
Getting customer information is crucial. But you already knew that. However, collecting all of that customer data is pointless if you can’t use it to engage accordingly. If something goes awry or, heaven forbid, they abandon their purchase, you’ll be missing the most vital bit of information.[/one_half]
The fix? Prompt the user for their email address early on in the checkout process, and you’ll make reconnecting a whole hell of a lot easier on yourself!
2 Explain Yourself
Ah, a perfect segway from tip #1. You’ve asked the customer for their email address… but have failed to explain why you’re asking.
“Will I get a confirmation email?”
“Am I setting up an account?”
“How much spam did I just sign up for?!”
All thoughts that are likely racing through your customer’s mind. And no one wants that. So how do we solve this dilemma and put their fears to rest?
Reassurance! It’s so important to clarify the purpose when asking for an email address, especially in the checkout process. Something as simple as “so we can contact you about your order” by the email field, lets the customers know what to expect and that they can shop with peace of mind.
3 Short & Sweet
We’ve all seen them; the checkout funnels with multiple pages. You keep clicking and clicking with no end in sight. But when you only have 5 minutes to spare who wants to go through all that? I know I don’t!
How do we solve this? One-page checkouts. Think about it. Simply having one page, separated into sections, can considerably simplify the process for customers. [/one_half]
And when they can see the end in sight, they’ll be more likely to complete the purchase!
4 Encourage Laziness
There is probably nothing more annoying than being asked to fill out the same information fields 5x in a row! Let’s face it, we’re all just a little lazy and impatient. Heck, many of us would’ve just copy and pasted through life if we could.
Auto-populate functionality in the checkout process is key! If we know we’re going to have to ask the customer for their name and address multiple times, why not just make their life a little easier and do it for them? It’s less redundant and time-consuming, ultimately making it easier to breeze through to a completed purchase.
5 Be Obvious
You’ve filled out all the information fields, and you’re ready to get the ball rolling. You click submit and BAM! … “Required fields missing.” At this point, frustration is high, and your patience is low.
So make it apparent, if not obvious, of what fields need to be filled out.
The last thing you want is a customer to be completely annoyed to the point where they leave the checkout funnel altogether!
6 Establish Trust
Asking for personal information, beyond a name or email address, early on or even before the checkout process begins is a serious faux pas and makes the entire shopping experience seem fishy.
Yes, you’ll need that information eventually but take some time to earn the customers’ trust. Let them browse. Let them wander around. Let them see if anything sparks their interest. You want them to lust after your products, not run!
7 Be Our Guest
I always have that moment of frustration when I want to check-out and I’m told I have to ‘create an account.’ Why? Maybe I’m in a hurry. Maybe I don’t want to create an account. Maybe I only intend on purchasing one item.[/one_half]
Don’t get us wrong, there is a time and place to urge customers to join membership programs, but asking them to create an account right in the checkout funnel… is not one of them.
Why? Because as soon as you place an extra step or obstacle between the customer and the checkout button, there is a greater possibility that they’ll just throw in the towel and leave.
So don’t be afraid. Give your customers that ‘check-out as guest’ option and they’ll thank you for the convenience with a completed purchase.