A quicker checkout experience is a better one. It’s one that will lead to more sales, guaranteed. The longer it takes to make a purchase, the more likely you are to lose people in the process.
Let’s review a couple of ways to improve the experience from a speed perspective:
Don’t Force a Login
If I’m new to the site, don’t make me sign up. Allow me to checkout without logging in or providing any more personal information than is absolutely necessary. It takes longer and scares people away.
Only Ask for Information Once
One thing any good checkout experience needs is memory. You should be able to save your information so that a consumer can come back and purchase often, and the second purchase should be that much quicker than the first. Like an external hard drive or memory stick, the checkout system is expected to contain a lot of important information. If you lose it, you hope there is a good memory stick repair program there to recover it. Don’t forget who I am. I am your customer.
While its common practice, and often good marketing, to offer people additional items during the shopping cart to try to increase the revenue from each checkout, many companies overdo it. And when you try to add items to the sale in a way that is confusing or frustrating, you are going to lose the original sale. Is that worth the effort taken to add value?
Use Smarter Forms
The forms that customers need to fill out (personal information , shipping address, credit card info) should be smart. By that, I mean they should be flexible, able to accept multiple inputs. For example, if you are asking for my phone number, the form should be smart enough that I can enter it 555-555-5555 or (555) 555-5555 or 5555555555. If it asks for email address, it should know if my input is incorrect, ie. missing the @ or the .com. The easier the form is to fill out, the more likely someone gets through it quickly.
Don’t Add or Refresh Pages
A one page checkout is best. In some cases, there are multiple steps that need to be taken. Sometimes pages need to be added. The fewer steps, the better. But if multiple steps are needed, have them load on the same page. It will feel more modern and will flow much more quickly for all consumers. In addition, if you offer discount codes or allow people to modify their shopping carts during checkout, don’t force them to refresh the page or back out in order to see the changes reflected.
Offer Payment Options
Multiple payment options means more people will be able to checkout with their preferred method of payment. Using a traditional credit or debit card is most common. But don’t stop there. Allow people to pay with online accounts like PayPal and Google Checkout. Sign up with a company that accepts online checks and money orders.
Don’t Add On Charges Late in the Process
Many companies wait until the very end to add a shipping charge. That’s the last thing you want to do. It makes people hesitate right before they click submit. Tell them about any shipping charges up front so that it’s less of a concern at the end. And where possible, offer free or discounted shipping. Shipping costs are the top reason that consumers give for leaving a shopping cart.