Streamlining the online checkout experience

A great humorous short on why you should streamline the checkout user experience. This implies that you keep your customers at the heart of your design decisions ;)

The roadblocks mentioned in this clip:

  1. Mandatory login/registration in order to checkout
  2. Shipping information not displayed at the start of the process
  3. Session timeouts, not remembering the customer & forcing them to start afresh
  4. CAPTCHA (aka 'type in the letters shown above')

Don’t force your users to register if it’s going to stop a sale

Provide both options: the convenience of remembered shipping and payment information available with logging in, and the ability to 'guest' checkout. Forrester research has shown shopping cart abandonment rate is high as 75%. Eliminating distractions, diversions and stumbling blocks is key to reducing this rate for your store.

Shipping costs are critical

What you charge is an operational outcome, how you inform your prospective customer is a web experience decision. The Forrester research also advises showing shipping costs earlier in the process (e.g. shipping estimator), which was found to be the biggest deterrent in completing checkout:

Sessions: timing out vs remembering users

Debenhams, a leading UK apparel retailer found the following when they analysed their session timeout settings:

Sessions were set to timeout after 10 minutes of inactivity to minimize the load on system resources. However, 6.6% of all visits got a session timeout message as a result. Moreover, 9.5%
of users who had active shopping carts lost their carts because of the timeout.

As a direct result of this analysis, Debenhams has increased the session timeout threshold.


CAPTCHA: Completely Automatic Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart

Most likely, you've wrestled with this security mechanism yourself. Some checkouts may rely on this clunky test to determine whether the shopper is human, and not an automated service using their card processing to check stolen card numbers. However credit card processing services are now quite sophisticated and speedy at spotting these fraudsters, so rely on your payment gateway to do this heavy lifting for you.

Sage online marketing advice

Beyond pure online sales, there's also the considerations needed for online marketing. Consider this comment from SmartCompany when asked " I wondered if you had any great tips for as quickly as possible to fill my sales pipeline":

Your quickest avenue to more sales is through internet marketing. Find out where your potential audience congregates online. Make sure they are an audience who will pay and not just browse. Put together a great offer with extra value (don't discount.) And then do some banner advertising and social media around that offer. Make sure you can deal with the leads and inquiries when they come in so you don't waste the opportunity.

Source: Stay streamlined and happy selling! :D