Ecommerce businesses are presented with many opportunities for success during this time of year and with the high street spending slowing down since the start of the pandemic, consumers are more likely than ever to stumble across new sites online. For this reason, many businesses have invested in digital marketing tactics to try and boost their sales.
However, high checkout abandonment rates present problems for many merchants. New research reveals that almost 90% of online shopping orders are abandoned by consumers. High abandonment rates can seriously harm the number of conversions, but also, result in fewer returning customers.
With the post-Christmas sales in full swing, Josh Guthrie, UK country manager at payment processor Mollie, identifies some ways for ecommerce businesses to optimise their checkout processes and thrive during peak shopping periods.
Using his extensive knowledge of payment platforms and consumer behaviour, Josh offers some actionable tips on how businesses can address the key problems which a checkout audit is likely to flag.
But first things first – many people are not aware of what a checkout audit actually is. In short, it’s an in-depth review of the journey that a customer takes when they make a conversion on your site. Ecommerce businesses often forget or even feel it’s unnecessary to self-audit their user experience (UX), however it should be marked as a priority.
The best advice for a self-audit is to position yourself as though you are the customer and if you notice anything that doesn’t quite work or feel right, then it’s likely that your customers will think the same thing.
Five issues relating to checkouts and the best ways to fix them:
A checkout process that isn’t mobile friendly
Almost half of all ecommerce sales were made on mobiles last year, so it’s crucial that your site is mobile friendly. Going back to UX testing, take yourself through the checkout experience and place an order on the site using a mobile phone. There are several issues that may arise, such as key actions being too small or getting stuck on a page. And while you may not have the necessary skills to fix these issues directly, a mobile developer will be able to address any standout problems.
Time-consuming checkout forms
Online shopping can be a time-consuming process and users get impatient if the final step (checkout) isn’t quick and easy. Where possible, anything you can do to reduce the time it takes to convert will be rewarded by the customer. For this reason, it’s worth going through your checkout forms and ensuring that all of them are necessary steps – or whether more time can be cut from the process.
There are a few ways to reduce the time spent at checkouts, for example, offering a tick box so people do not need to type out their shipping and billing addresses separately, as well as having the option to save a payment method for future purchases. Also, having the ability to checkout as a guest rather than registering an account will help to streamline the process for the shopper.
Unclear delivery costs and shipping times
According to research, delivery costs are the number one reason that shoppers abandon their cart. It may be tempting for businesses to try and hide their shipping costs until the end of the checkout. However, it’s likely that consumers will end up more frustrated when they are dumped with additional expenses in their cart. Because of this, it’s important to be transparent with delivery rates as early as possible.
On the flip side, if you offer free shipping then this should be clearly advertised because it’s a huge pull for the shopper; making your site even more competitive and hopefully, resulting in more conversions.
Failing to be upfront about expected shipping times is another bugbear for consumers so be sure to let them know what the expected delivery date is before they load their cart.
Unsecure payment methods
Building a relationship of trust with shoppers is key for any ecommerce businesses, but especially true when it comes to improving conversion rates. If consumers do not feel confident that your available payment options are secure, then this may prevent them from completing the final purchase.
While carrying out your checkout audit, you should review how clearly your payment options are presented. Consumers seek familiarity so including the logos of well-recognised payment brands (for example, PayPal and Apple Pay) will boost consumer confidence.
Poor customer support
Customer service support should be available and easy to find. As the shopper makes their way through your website and prepares to complete an order, customer support is there to assist with any query or complaint that arises during and after that time.
If your ecommerce site doesn’t have any support services available then it’s worth implementing something as soon as possible. Many merchants have a frequently asked question page (FAQ) that the user can refer to for any generic or commonly asked questions such as expected delivery times, the returns policy or sizing, for example.
Live chat is another option to improve customer support, helping to solve customer problems faster and improve overall customer satisfaction – it also allows customers to connect instantly with an agent, creating an opportunity to build a rapport. Having a customer service team is another great way to establish regular, direct communication with your customers and if successful, can increase customer lifetime value and generate positive word-of-mouth for your business.
Businesses have tightly focused their presence online since the pandemic, but this has meant that competition is fierce. Therefore completing a check-out audit that ticks off the steps listed above will help ecommerce businesses to gain loyal, happy customers.