In many ways, we’ve come to take it for granted that online commerce will continue to grow exponentially, year after year. But online sales growth isn’t necessarily, and it’s not guaranteed. To keep attracting your share of online buyers, merchants need to make sure that their online ordering system is effective and efficient.
The checkout process itself plays a big role. It can either usher customers, swiftly and surely, through completion of their transactions or cause shoppers to abandon the process and exit your sales funnel altogether.
Even small tweaks can make big improvements in your results, say digital business planning consultants, Digital RoadMaps. But first you need to analyze your sales funnel. Using a tool like Google Analytics, determine how many unique visitors are coming to your site every month. Then take a look at how many are going so far as to browse, select something and add it to their cart.
But the final step is critical: How many aren’t completing the purchase? Those who do represent your conversion rate; those who don’t represent your abandonment rate. Figuring out the second number is where the real work begins. Increasing this number, even by a small amount, means increasing your revenue and profit.
Contributor Ramon Ray also writes on All Business that your shopping cart and your sales are directly linked. Customers respond to difficulty online much in the same way they do to long lines in brick-and-mortar stores. They decide not to purchase, leave and may never come back. One surefire way to see your checkout process through customers’ eyes is to survey them—something that Ray recommends.
Quick and easy are what customers are looking for in online purchases, period. The more streamlined your process, the more likely customers are to purchase. One of the best ways to keep your customers from abandoning your site is providing a one-page shopping cart system, where all things checkout-related are in one place. Fewer clicks and fewer pages equal higher conversion rates.
As you’re evaluating and perhaps upgrading your checkout process, you’ll want to include things like integration of multiple payment options, mobile optimization, analytics and syncing with accounting software like Quickbooks.
To help with reviewing your site, Entrepreneur suggests nine ways to make the payment process easy for online customers. While it’s tempting to tap PayPal, this article says that you really need to have full control over your entire checkout process for a sustained increase in sales. After all, checkout is where online customers take the next step beyond just window shopping.
Entrepreneur also provides valuable information on streamlining online payment for your customers. Be sure to click the link above for all the details. In the meantime, here’s a quick look at the nine tips:
- Provide multiple payment options.
- Allow payment without requiring an account.
- Keep your site design seamless through checkout.
- Don’t direct them away from your site to pay (one disadvantage of PayPal).
- Make it easy to fix errors.
- Don’t ask for extraneous information—essentials only.
- Include security and privacy reassurances.
- Minimize distractions (e.g., ads).
- Make sure your call(s) to action is clear and prominent.
The bottom line is this: You’ve worked hard to attract customers to your site and to keep them there with products and services they want. Don’t blow it by giving them checkout hurdles that cause them to abandon their purchase—and you.
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