If you’re an online store, you should be interested in helping your customers get through the checkout as quickly as they can, think of a supermarket, customers dont have to register and confirm a bunch of details before they pay for their goods. Many checkout processes have 4 or 5 stages punters go through before they give you their credit card details, each of these is an opportunity to close the window and not buy from you.
According to research, 15% of abandoned carts are because the checkout process was too complicated, so lets look at how we can streamline this process, and reduce abandoned carts.
A typical checkout process might look something like this:
If the customer has never bought from you before, don’t ask them to fill in a whole bunch of details, remove the “Register” option from the first page of the checkout and replace it with some clear text that new customers just need to enter email address & password, the same as registered users. We will use the rest of the checkout process to collect this information, instead of just repeating it.
After login, go straight to the order confirmation page, this page should show all the details required to complete the order. Show the billing address, shipping address and shipping options filled in with the values the customer used for their last order, if the user is a repeat customer, the chances are that this page is now correct, and they can go straight to the credit card details page. If they are a new customer, leave these details blank and disable the next stage of checkout until they are completed.
When the customer completes their billing address for the first time, automatically set the delivery address to be the same, don’t ask them if thats what they want to do, just do it. If you allow people to have seperate billing and delivery addresses on their first order, and accept the increased risk of fraud that involves, then they can always change it.
We now have a very slick checkout process, we’ve cut out all the unnecessary stages, even for first time customers.
You could argue that to further streamline the whole thing customers should not be required to login at all, but then you would have no way to retreive customer information, they would have to complete billing/shipping addresses for each order, which is not what you want at all. Plus, having their email address gives the added advantage of being able to email customers who abandon their cart before paying, there is some evidence that this approach can lead to increased sales as well.
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