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Reducing cart abandonment by improving your checkout process – 5 top tips

With so much competition in the world of e-commerce, having a site that’s easy to use, interesting and converts visitors into customers is essential.,

And one of the most important areas of any e-commerce website is the checkout. Confuse users and lose their trust and you lose the sale, guide them through an easy to use and secure process and the sale is much more likely, as is repeat business.
The team at Imaginet (a web design and development company) have extensive experience creating successful e-commerce websites. Using this experience we’ve put together a list of our top 5 tips for creating a great e-commerce checkout process that will help you increase your website’s conversion rate.

1.       Create a secure checkout process

Making sure your checkout process is as secure as possible should be your number one priority.

The first place to start is to purchase and setup a SSL Certificate. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encrypts critical data, such as credit card details, when it’s exchanged between your browser and the site you are connecting , ensuring it cannot be read, deciphered or decrypted by a third party. It also provides non-forgeable proof of the identity of the website you are connecting to.

Another option to consider is 3D secure verification, a service offered by Visa and MasterCard. This provides an extra password protected layer of security when using your credit card online. The debate is still out on this method though, due to its impact on conversion rates.

If you’re taking credit card payments and storing sensitive information, it’s important that you have PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance, ensuring everything you store is secure.

It’s also a good idea to visually highlight all the various security measures you provide by adding the relevant logos to your site.

2.       Make registering for an account optional

Forcing shoppers to create an account with you before they can checkout is a major barrier to a completed purchase. In their eyes it means another set of time consuming forms to fill out and a bit of a waste of their time.

A better idea would be to allow users to login or create an account but make this an optional extra. For new customers the option to create an account could be included at the end of the checkout process. Asking people if ‘they would like to add a password and so their details can be stored for their next visit’ or something similar.

3.       Keep it simple

Now shoppers on your site are at the checkout stage, you want to make it as easy and encouraging as possible for them to complete their purchase. Less is definitely more at this point.

There should be no flashing banners or non essential graphics, only relevant and useful information and images and keep information needed to complete the checkout to a minimum. It may be beneficial to remove most of the navigation too, only leaving some essentials.

Another good tip is to give shoppers the option to state that their delivery address is the same as their billing address at the click of a button.

4.       Communicate clearly

It’s important to communicate clearly and pre-empt any questions shoppers may have when they are in the checkout process. Some key points include:

•Postage costs and delivery information should be clear.
•As mentioned previously any security concerns should be addressed.
•Payment options clearly visible.
•Important returns information should be displayed, with a link to more detailed information and a link to your T&C’s.
•Use descriptive buttons e.g. ‘proceed to payment information’ instead of ‘next’.
•Tell visitors where they are in the checkout process.
•Label all input fields so that users know what information to add where.
•If the user misses out a required field provide clear information on what they missed and highlight that field.
5.       Make sure your shopping cart is bug free and pages load quickly

Any technical bugs or slow loading pages will increase your checkout abandonment rate, which is something you don’t want. The solution to this problem is to thoroughly test your whole checkout process and monitor page load times, making sure everything is running smoothly. After initial testing it is important to constantly monitor and test your site’s performance, especially if you make any updates or adjustments.

 Guest post written by Matt Gwynne