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If you sell products from your website, you've no doubt experienced "shopping cart abandonment". What's that? Never heard of it? Let me clarify. This is what happens when someone comes to your website, browses, and actually clicks on products to purchase, adds them to their cartbut never completes the checkout process.
So why does this happen and what can you do about it? I'm so glad you asked. There actually have been studies done that show some of the reasons why people leave in such a rush. By avoiding these things in your check-out process you can help plug the leak, avoid abandonment, and rack up more sales.
Here we go:
1) Make it Clear: Ever bought something online and wondered where you were in the checkout process? Make sure you give crystal clear instructions as to what information is needed and why, and exactly where the customer is in the buying process. I've even seen some shopping cart systems that label the screens during checkout as "step 1 of 3", "step 2 of 3". Avoid confusion for a more confident assured buyer.
2) Shipping Charges and Method of Delivery: Don't hide the amount you charge for shipping. Nothing will make someone run away faster than waitinguntil the last screen and revealing inflated shipping charges. Tell them exactly how much it will be, don't make them guess or search for it. Also, if you offer multiple shipping methods show them their options. Options on a website are always good. Shoppers like options not surprises.
3) Saving Carts: How many times have you been in the process of buying something online and the phone rings or someone knocks on the door? Offering a "save cart for later" function is a wonderful way to get distracted shoppers to come back later and complete their purchase. Isn't that better then having the session time out and losing them completely?
4) Errors: If the buyer makes an error during the checkout process, make sure to clearly point out what is missing or wrong on the page and what theyneed to do to correct it. Nothing infuriates a buyer faster than to have a step of the checkout process fail and not be shown exactly what it is. Also, if they have to go back and correct something, make sure the information they already entered is still intact, usually done by using cookies. As an added step, you may want to offer a phone number or some sort of online help for those having ordering problems.
6) Too Many Hoops: Don't make buyers jump through too many hoops by limiting the number of steps in the checkout process. If you don't need certain information, don't ask for it. Simple and Sweet is better then long and tedious. K.I.S.S (Keep it simple stupid)
7) Payment Options: When it comes to the web, options are a good thing. Try to offer a number of different payment options such as mail-in, fax or even a phone option if you can take orders that way. There are still some people who don't feel safe entering their credit card information online.
8) Registration: Ever been to a website and wanted to make a purchase but couldn't until you registered, set up a user ID and password? How frustrating is that? Try not to force people to register before purchasing. It's annoying and adds an extra unnecessary step to the checkout process.
If they must register, make sure you point out the many benefits they'll receive if they do. For example, advance notice of any specials or sales.
9) Delivery Time: Unfortunately we live in an "instant society" where everyone wants everything "yesterday". Make it clear when products are added to the shopping cart exactly how long until they arrive at the customer's door. If it's 4 to 6 days, say so, don't make them wait every day with their nose pressed against the glass for "Mr. Mailman" or the UPS driver. Not a positive experience.
10) Load Time: Make sure your website pages aren't overly bloated and don't take too long to load. Waiting for the hourglass to disappear is sure to send shoppers clicking for their back button.
So there you have it,ten simple ways you can improve your visitor's shopping experience when visiting your website. These tips will not only put more money in your pocket, but make for a happier customer all the way around.