In our last two post we provided you with tips on analytics and product page. Here we will discuss about the check out process. Don’t let this last hurdle of purchasing trip you up.
CHECK-OUT TIP 1: ALLOW GUESTS TO CHECK OUT
You need to be able to give very good reasons why forcing guests to register to purchase products is essential. Think of offline shopping. Do you have to open an account with a news agent to buy a newspaper? Of course not. Don’t make that mistake online. Allow guests to check out. But you also need to sell reasons why guests should register. It’s all about making it easy, now and in future.
CHECK-OUT TIP 2: ENCLOSE THE CHECK-OUT PROCESS
Once someone wants to check out, the process should be as fast and slick as possible. Remove distractions, including ads, navigation and offers that might distract them from what they are trying to accomplish, which is to pay. Some will say this stage is a great opportunity to up-sell or feature related products. I disagree. That can be done effectively on the product page or just after the product has been added to the basket. Distracting the visitor or encouraging them to choose something else before giving you their money is an invitation to them to abandon their cart.
CHECK-OUT TIP 3: ASK FOR FEEDBACK AFTER THE VISITOR HAS SUBMITTED THEIR ORDER
Once a visitor has converted, rather than show the standard confirmation page, why not also ask for some feedback on their experience? SurveyMonkey lets you quickly build an online survey, including questions such as:
- “On a scale of 1 to 10, were you able to easily find what you were looking for?”
- “Was there something in you particularly liked or disliked about our website?”
- “On a scale of 1 to 10, how easy was the check-out process?”
- “Please tell us what we can do to improve your next visit?”
This qualitative feedback is invaluable to e-commerce website owners. Sure, not everyone will fill out the survey, but several will be more than willing to voice their opinions. If you do this, though, remember to follow up to let people know what you’ve changed and why.
CHECK-OUT TIP 4: HANDLE ERRORS GRACEFULLY
Problems occur during the check-out stage. Cards are declined, people enter invalid email addresses and they forget to specify their preferred delivery method. To cover all eventualities, you should display messages that are:
- Contextual Put the message next to where the error occurred.
- Useful No “Error code 21″ messages please. Write friendly, useful error messages, such as, “Sorry, we believe your email address is invalid. Did you accidentally add an extra full stop or space?”
- Conventional Error messages should be red. People understand that red indicates a problem.
Luke Wroblewski has a great article on A List Apart about this.