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7 Checkout Don’ts

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Have you ever found a great product and decided to purchase only to be driven out of the virtual store by a maddening checkout process? If you haven’t, you’re lucky! And if you are an online retailer that hasn’t had people abandon shopping carts, you’re…well, you don’t exist. It’s a problem faced by companies large and small. In fact, average cart abandonment rates sit at about 66 percent. You can never get it down to 0 percent because, even on an ideal site, people will change their minds, they’ll leave, they’ll get busy and forget.  There are steps you can take, though, to get your percentage down and those orders completed. There are also some ways you can drive your customers away even quicker. Let’s talk about those.

Don’t…

  • Make people register. They hate it. Luckily, most sites have caught on and allow a “Guest Checkout” option. What this is really great for is that shopper who is not likely to return but wants a specific item. They want ease and convenience, not paperwork. And, if he/she does decide to return, they can go with “Guest” or create an account.
  • Ask for the same information more than once. About half of websites do this. You already entered your mailing address or name; why do it again? Pre-fill the information you have for the customer and transfer it to the relevant fields on other pages.
  • Make Opt-In the default. During the checkout process, most sites “offer” a newsletter, email coupons and notifications, etc. This is automatically set to “Yes.” Some even make it impossible to opt out. This alienates customers and they will end up hitting “Spam” every time they see your name in their inbox. Or they’ll just dump their items and run.
  • List products in carts by name alone. Add a picture so people remember what they’re buying or can compare it to other similar products.
  • Skip the progress indicator. These help customers see their progress; they  know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and how far they have to go to get to it. This is a psychological boost and can create a more streamlined feel.
  • Make the shopping cart difficult to change. Can customers easily update quantities or delete items? Can they easily go back to shopping without interfering with their cart and without having to navigate back a bunch of times? Also make sure customers can review the page before the final “Buy.”
  • Use a generic Thank You page. “Thank you for your purchase,” is fine, but it’s very impersonal. Add detail, such as a confirmation number, next steps, and customer service contact information.

Two-thirds of carts are never emptied and the items never purchased. If you can improve this, even a bit, then you’re making huge gains. And if you can improve it a lot, you’re going to win the thanks of your customers as they check out.

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