Online shopping has easily become an economy of its own. In fact, as reported in TechCrunch, JP Morgan predicts that e-commerce sales will grow to $680 billion in 2011, a 19% jump from 2010.
However, is your online store set up properly to ensure customers get the products they want and need? Here we provide you with 10 important eCommerce checkout process tips that can help you increase online sales.
Use Prominent "Add to Cart" and "Checkout" Buttons and Labels
One of the biggest complaints from customers about online shopping is the difficulty in finding the "Add To Cart" or even the "Checkout" buttons. Ensure that your "Add" buttons are prominently visible on top of or to the side of your product image and description.
Likewise, your "Checkout" button should even be a different and more prominent color. Red is most preferable.
Avoid confusing an online buyer with a label like "Purchase" or "Buy Now". These can make a shopper think they are immediately paying for the item. You may even consider clearly labeling with instructions like "Proceed to Checkout" so they know there are additional steps.
Keep a Running Total and Summary, Including Shipping
It is common for an online shopper to abandon their shopping cart during the checkout process when they cannot see what their total is. Always keep a running total of summary of purchase on every page, even while a customer continues to shop.
Additionally, keeping the shipping charges included with the total will help reduce abandonment, especially if you promote free shipping if customers spend above a certain dollar amount.
Show Item Description AND Image
A full description and image(s) are a given for your online catalog pages. However, even during the checkout process, allow your customers to see what they are purchasing. Include a small thumbnail image and a brief summary description that includes the name of product, description, catalog number, and quantity included.
Allow Changes During Checkout
It may help your sales if you allow customers to make changes to items during the checkout. Particularly, allow customers to make changes to quantity, delete unwanted items, change color of specific items, and even clear their shopping cart.
Use a Progress Indicator
Customers like knowing where they are in the process of checking out and purchasing products. Consider including a progress indicator which notes what process the customer is currently in, as well as what steps are left to complete the purchase.
Allow "Guest" Checkout
Many people are hesitant to register with any online business in fear that their private information will be misused for unwanted marketing, other communications, or even spam. If you allow an online shopper to check out simply as a "guest," they can still purchase your products without having to save information in your database.
Save Registration Information
On the flip side, if an online customer wants to register and keep their shipping, billing, and payment information, be sure you do save the information, and save it securely. There is no bigger frustration for a returning customer than to have to re-enter information that was already provided.
Give Clear Required Information Notifications
If a customer forgets to complete a field in your registration or guest checkout process, be sure you give a clear message indicating the required field. Highlighting or marking a red asterisk by the field can also help.
Allow Alternative Payment Methods
While taking payments via credit card are preferable, you can add more final sales to your online store if you accept alternative processing methods. Be sure they are reputable like PayPal or Google Checkout. These methods offer reasonable processing fees that can easily outweigh the additional sales you will experience.
Clearly Display Your Contact Information
If an online customer ever has a question along the checkout process, be sure they have the information to contact you. Include your phone number on every web page during the process.
Keeping your online checkout process easier is a smart way to increase your sales and avoid shopping cart abandonment. Be clear to the customer what they are purchasing. Let them know the totals, and give them a step-by-step process indicator so they will complete their purchase and enjoy your products.