Increase your Conversions by optimizing your Cart and Checkout Page

  • January 20, 2015
  • SEO
6 Comments

As far as retail businesses are concerned, with each coming year the online market is getting more crowded and even more competitive. Today the online purchaser has a lot more options than what were available a few years ago. Just type in any keyword (women’s clothing) and you will find a huge number of online clothing stores for women offering dresses, accessories and other feminine fashion essentials at different prices.

And if you’re in the retail business regardless of what your niche is, the bad news for you is that it’s getting tougher to survive and grow. Hence, one needs to get smarter and rethink over the business strategies they are following to attract new and existing customers.

Visitors bounce off websites for a number of reasons. But I am more concern about those users who are ready to make a purchase on your website… and for some reason they bounce off the cart or checkout page. These customers are important because they had already made up their mind to purchase from your online store, but somehow something happened in between that made them abandon their plan – you need to figure out what went wrong!

Research:

According to a study, there are few common reasons why people drop their purchase on a cart or checkout page that looks something like this:

Cart Abandonment

(IMG Source: KissMetrics.com)

28% of the people abandon their purchase due to an unexpected shipping cost, which according to the infographic above is the highest bounce-off factor.

You should plan to lower the price and adjust it in the profit margin, Trust me… the online purchaser today are lot smarter than you normally think! Before they actually buy stuff from a website, they do a thorough research over the product, its quality and pricing; and if this unexpectedly high shipping cost comes up at the end of it, they tend to bounce and move to some other website that’s more affordable.

Shipping is a tricky subject to handle so I am proposing a few ideas that you can use to save 28% of your potential customers who abandon their purchase from the cart:

 

  • Shipping Calculator

Shipping cost becomes a really big problem when the weight varies with each individual product or if you are shipping products to different parts of the world. If this is the case, try offering a shipping calculator before the cart page so that the buyer gains an idea about the shipping cost involved with the price of the product.

Also, make sure that the cost of shipping is lower or competitive with others in the market or else a purchaser will bounce to some other website that offers a better shipping cost.

  • Free Shipping

This is the mode of shipment that most retail businesses are using – at least on domestic purchases. The reason why this works best is because it’s not only a relief to the purchaser, but it’s also a marketing stunt that allows a larger amount of users to engage with the brand and buy again and again.

There are multiple ways of offering free shipping which can be used on domestic purchases or on a minimum order value. This might cut down the profits of the business, but in the longer run will give a way to get more customers through word-of-mouth, which is priceless!

  • Flat shipping Prices

This idea needs a bit of preparation but as a result purchasers will know what they are going with and as a result both business and customers will be happy at the end of the day.

Shipping costs are very much based on the area where the product is going to be delivered and the weight of the product. In order to offer flat shipping rates, you need to look into where your most orders comes from, what your shipping cost is and set a flat rate accordingly.

 

At the end of the day, whatever shipping option you chose for your business, make sure it’s meeting the current standards and making no miss-commitment to your customers. If you do so, you will be able to increase your transaction ratio by a staggering 28% of purchasers who bounce off to other websites due to the unexpected shipping cost you’re offering.

23% abandon their purchase because they had to create a new user account.

I have seen many e-commerce websites doing this in order to get user information so that the next time they visit the e-store, they don’t really have to fill all the information again and the company itself  can upsell them by sending newsletters.

Although it’s a great idea, but not many purchasers are interested in creating an account… at least not at the point of the first purchase they make!

One of the main reasons behind the reluctance to create a user account is because people don’t trust each and every website in regard to their personal information. You should provide them with two options; the first: “create an account” and the second: “Proceed as a guest.” This will allow them to buy a product without compromising their privacy and if their experience was good enough, they’ll probably return and create an account.

This is a win-win scenario because :

  • Offering them a guest option will ultimately increase orders for the business.
  • Not forcing them to create an account will give them a sense of security and they will tend to trust you.
  • Never force users to create an account before they make the purchase or else they will bounce from the website and might never come back again.

Remember; it’s not only about saving your customers and increasing your sales, but it’s also about your reputation in the market that you surely don’t want to damage especially when you are in the middle of a tough competition.

 

16% bounce off because they are still researching.

We all are well aware of the fact that buying (online or offline) is a process that starts with the ‘need’ and finishes on ‘buying and product evaluation. The overall buying cycle looks like this:

Buyer Cycle

One of the important steps of the buying process is research in which an individual generally looks into different websites, reads reviews and then on the basis of those reviews, he or she moves towards a purchase.

According to research, 16% of the total traffic that abandons their purchase at a cart page are those who are still  in the middle of their buying process and this is in my opinion is the most difficult traffic to stop and convince to make a decision on your favor of your website. Though there are a few things you could do.

 

  • Include Reviews and Testimonials on your website

Users usually look for product and brand reviews when they are researching over a purchase. If you provide them testimonials and product reviews on your product pages it will help to build their trust on your e-store.

  • Endorsements on 3rd party websites

Offer your product to bloggers and other 3rd party websites and get reviews from them. Pay them if their opinion is worth it!

  • Reviews on Local Business listings

Not all but there are significant number of people who look for reviews on local business listing websites like Google Places and Yelp. If you can ask your satisfied customers to share their shopping experience on local business listing websites, local purchasers might trust you even more as they already trust these channels. This can easily convert these 16% bouncers into a success.

 

13% leave due to payment security concerns.

13% in my opinion is a much discounted number as payment security issues in the long run can make or break your brand. You have to have secure, clear and trusted payment options or else people will start to lose their trust in your brand resulting a decline in sales. And let’s not even talk about a bad word-of-mouth!

 

If you are interested in a study on e-commerce security issues and concerns, here is a PDF you should consider reading.

In my personal opinion, using the most common and trusted payment options like Paypal, Visa, Master Card, American Express, Sage Pay are the best solution.

 

12% Bounce off because of a confusing Checkout Process.

Go into your Google Analytics account and see your top exit pages and if your checkout is one of them, you should seriously reconsider your checkout process and make corrections so that it becomes easier for the user to pass through it.

Google “e-commerce checkout problems” and you will see thousands of threats discussing this issue causing 12% of your buyers to bounce-off to your competitor’s website. Here are a few of the common problems that most website have and if you have one of them, all you need to do is hire a developer to fix these issues as soon as possible as this investment can help you increase your website’s revenue by 12%.

  • Speed Problems

If your checkout page is slow or taking too much time to move to the next page, people will bounce off as they can probably get the same stuff from another website and that too probably at a better price. Time is money you know! Make sure that your website is working efficiently.

I recently worked on a website that had a slow checkout process; once we fixed the problem, the results on sales were marvelous.

  • Missing important details on the checkout page

A few of the most important details on the checkout page include things like shipping information and return policy. Make sure your checkout page contains all the necessary and relevant information and options easily accessible so that purchasers can research and understand website policies before placing an order.

There’s even more that you can do to optimize your checkout page in order to improve your overall conversions of the website.

 

8% bounce off because they cannot find a coupon code.

 

The coupon Industry is huge and that is why 8% in my opinion is a big number! Websites like coupon.com, retailmenot.com thrive on coupons. Whether you like it or not, if you want to save this 8% of customers, you have to include coupons as an option on your website. You can also provide the links of the websites from where they can get your website’s coupon codes on a regular basis.

You can include coupons on your own website as well. But I’d suggest using known websites as they have a bigger audience and there are even bigger chances for you to gain new traffic that eventually converts into a successful purchase on your website.

So these were a few ideas off of my head to help you improve your checkout page. How full is your cart?

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6 Comments
    • AvatarGrant Thomas
    • January 20, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Moosa. Excellent post. Cart and checkout pages are an area that any online retailer can improve and see a significant improvement in conversion rates as a result. However, I disagree with you on your recommendations to combat visitors leaving for coupons.

    By distributing coupons through websites like retailmenot, you are encouraging more and more visitors to leave your site. Any interruption in the purchasing process drastically lowers the chance of a sale.

    The solution: Present visitors with coupons that they can receive on the site if they provide an email or perform a social action. This is a win for customers because they receive a coupon code at the right time in the purchasing process and a win for retailers because they encourage a sale and gain valuable retargeting info. I wrote about this exact tactic in this post: How to Increase sales conversions: Focus on Cart and Checkout Pages

    Anyway, Thanks for the great post!

    • Reply

      Grant I agree with fact that anything that interrupts the checkout process will be a bad idea so leaving third party coupon links might hurt the conversions but if not the checkout page than on other pages, they should let people know about coupons!!

      Glad that you like the post also, I loved the piece you shared in the comment very well research!!

    • AvatarGrant Thomas
    • January 20, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Moosa. Excellent post. Cart and checkout pages are an area that any online retailer can improve and see a significant improvement in conversion rates as a result. However, I disagree with you on your recommendations to combat visitors leaving for coupons.

    By distributing coupons through websites like retailmenot, you are encouraging more and more visitors to leave your site. Any interruption in the purchasing process drastically lowers the chance of a sale.

    The solution: Present visitors with coupons that they can receive on the site if they provide an email or perform a social action. This is a win for customers because they receive a coupon code at the right time in the purchasing process and a win for retailers because they encourage a sale and gain valuable retargeting info. I wrote about this exact tactic in this post: How to Increase sales conversions: Focus on Cart and Checkout Pages

    Anyway, Thanks for the great post!

    • Reply

      Grant I agree with fact that anything that interrupts the checkout process will be a bad idea so leaving third party coupon links might hurt the conversions but if not the checkout page than on other pages, they should let people know about coupons!!

      Glad that you like the post also, I loved the piece you shared in the comment very well research!!

    • AvatarGrant Thomas
    • January 20, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Moosa. Excellent post. Cart and checkout pages are an area that any online retailer can improve and see a significant improvement in conversion rates as a result. However, I disagree with you on your recommendations to combat visitors leaving for coupons.

    By distributing coupons through websites like retailmenot, you are encouraging more and more visitors to leave your site. Any interruption in the purchasing process drastically lowers the chance of a sale.

    The solution: Present visitors with coupons that they can receive on the site if they provide an email or perform a social action. This is a win for customers because they receive a coupon code at the right time in the purchasing process and a win for retailers because they encourage a sale and gain valuable retargeting info. I wrote about this exact tactic in this post: How to Increase sales conversions: Focus on Cart and Checkout Pages

    Anyway, Thanks for the great post!

    • Reply

      Grant I agree with fact that anything that interrupts the checkout process will be a bad idea so leaving third party coupon links might hurt the conversions but if not the checkout page than on other pages, they should let people know about coupons!!

      Glad that you like the post also, I loved the piece you shared in the comment very well research!!

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