According to Google, 53% of website visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load. Speed is becoming ever-more-important when it comes to optimising your website, and there’s no reason why the checkout process shouldn’t be the same.
It’s not just site loading times we’re talking about here, it’s the whole checkout process from start to finish. In this week’s episode of our podcast Everything eCommerce, we spoke to Cormac Cahill of Klarna, who emphasised the importance of getting your checkout process as smooth as possible.
So how can you do this?
- Provide a number of payment methods
Data highlighted in an infographic from Milo shows that 56%¹ of respondents expect a variety of payment options on the checkout page. In makes sense and is one of the simplest ways to drive more sales, if the customer’s preferred checkout option is not available, that is a massive deterrence and they are more likely to look elsewhere.
One of the points Cormac raised was that they never receive negative feedback from customers who say there are ‘too many options’, rather, people like to see their choices represented.
A good way to do this is to look at your target audience, who are they and how do they like to shop? If you are marketing to a younger audience, then payment plans or ‘buy now, pay later’ options such as Klarna would be a good solution for you.
2. Allow users to checkout as a guest
A usability study by Smashing Magazine² found that the main reason users hate setting up an account is they expect to be flooded with promotional emails. When your main focus is getting someone to check out on your website, the last thing you want to be doing is putting up barriers.
By asking them to create an account before purchase, you’re creating another hoop for the customer to jump through. It means they will have a new username and password to remember, more personal details to fill in, and they are expecting tons of spammy promotional emails from you.
If you do want to encourage users to make an account, a good workaround could be to have two options at the beginning where they can set up an account or checkout as a guest, or prompt them to save their details for ease and make an account at the end of purchase, so it will be quicker to check out next time.
3. Make errors easy to fix
You can’t go through life without making silly mistakes, and checkout pages are no different. Common issues are things such as forgetting the ‘@’ symbol, adding a space in front or after certain information, or not meeting password requirements.
All of these things are very easily solved, but not understanding the issue can be a massive barrier to a sale. The best way to get around a problem like that is a simple fix, a comment next to the field in question explaining what went wrong and how to combat it is the most effective thing.
You can add an error message to the top, but this means the customer may not see it or may have to scroll up and down, causing the checkout process to take longer. By adding a simple message to the side of the field with the issue, you can ensure a quick fix.
4. Make your website simple and smooth
It seems obvious, but making your website process smooth and simple is a key way to speed up the checkout process. If there are tons of pop-ups, adverts and distractions, what you are ultimately doing is distracting your site visitor from making a purchase.
Creating a smooth experience includes keeping your branding the same. By using the same colours, fonts and creating an element of brand recognition through the services you use, you build trust and safety reassurance.
Make sure your calls to action are clear so that the customer knows where to click to checkout, add items to their basket and more. You want to make the entire process as smooth and painless as possible.
6. Don’t ask too many questions
Similarly to creating an account, asking your customer too many questions before the checkout page is just creating even more hurdles for them to jump over to be able to make a purchase.
Keep the questions you ask to the bare minimum, essentials such as name and address, asking their gender, job title and first pet’s name may be of use to you, but to them, it just creates a long-winded, annoying process.
What’s more, a report published by Forrester³ found that 11% of U.S. adults abandoned an online purchase because they either didn’t want to register or the site was asking for too much information, driving home the fact that this is a big deal for some people.
7. Reassurance on safety
A survey by eConsultancy⁴ found that 58% of respondents dropped out of the checkout page due to concerns about payment security, which is an issue that can be easily rectified.
Ensuring your comply with legal standards and have SSL encryption is the first place to start, but then you want to display this proudly to the world, ensuring your badges and certifications are clear to see in the checkout page.
Reassuring the customer that your checkout is safe goes hand in hand with branding, keeping your branding on point and your pages from not looking spammy does wonders for safety.
8. Live chat
A great way to ensure your payment process is as smooth as possible is by using a live chat feature before the customer gets to the checkout, and in the checkout itself.
A Forrester study showed that 53%⁵ of US adults won’t complete a purchase on-site if they don’t find quick answers straight away, which is an astonishing figure. By having a live chat option available, you speed up their whole consideration process. They’re looking for information on returns, dimensions or something else and they just can’t seem to locate it on the site, they notice a live chat feature and they get their questions answered in a matter of minutes.
By using a proactive strategy such as exit-intent pop-ups, you can target the customer when they need it most and ensure that someone is on hand to guide them through the checkout process. If they have issues while making the purchase itself, having someone there can be the difference between a sale or an abandoned basket.
At The Chat Shop we’ve found that using our chat gives an average uplift in sales conversion of between 5 and 15 times when compared to non-chat engaged customer journeys, click here to find out more.
Watch this episode of Everything eCommerce here.