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Optimising your checkout

DON’T force customers to register. They hate having to do so and as a result many customers will abandon at this stage.

Not everyone wants to be remembered. After all, many of your gift buyers won’t be interested in making a purchase for themselves, so make it as easy as possible for them to get in and out of your online store.

You can reduce abandonment by anywhere from 20% to 50% just by having a guest checkout.

Asos encouraged 50% more customer to checkout by simply changing wording from ‘create an account’ to ‘new to ASOS’.

You also need to Signpost the stages. Make it obvious to the customer how many stages are involved in the checkout process.

Have a perpetual bag. Remind me what I’m buying and what the delivery and returns options are. Otherwise I might well change my mind as I have last minute pangs of doubt.

Enclose the checkout. I’ve made my mind up to buy. Why would you tempt me with other categories to go to? If this were in a store environment, this would the same as me getting to the checkout and your staff telling me there are lots of other great products to look at…before I’ve actually given you my money!

Don’t distract the user with any other irrelevant information. Too many sites still have erroneous and distracting info including promotions in the checkout.

Do some internal testing and go through the purchase process yourself a number of times to see how well or otherwise the site helps the user recover from errors. One of the key areas of site abandonment in the checkout process is where the user is left unclear as to what to do to move to the next stage.

Martin Newman is chief executive of ecommerce specialist Practicology


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