It’s not enough to offer a great product or service online. Getting it in front of your intended audience requires a strategic plan consisting of a series of decisions made by you. For example, from the minute you decide to put your e-commerce business in front of the public, you’re thinking about how your actions will get you one step closer to your end goal which is to get your website visitors to complete a purchase and then return to buy from you again in the future.
With that in mind, simplifying the e-commerce purchasing process is among the most important things you do as a business owner. This one area of focus helps turn visitors into paying customers and preferably, loyal ones, too. Loyalty helps you navigate the difficult virtual landscape that so many businesses encounter as the needs of their customers change.
The following tips will help you determine the best course of action to take to simplify your e-commerce website’s purchasing process so you’ll appeal to more customers and profit from the transactions repeatedly. Let’s explore how to make this happen now.
#1 – How Intuitive and Navigational is Your Website?
Is your e-commerce site designed in a way that is intuitive and easy to navigate? Is it easy for visitors to understand where they need to go and what they need to do to complete the purchasing process?
Does the website seem to anticipate what the customer will do next before they do it? Intuitive web design influences purchasing decisions by helping the customer make critical decisions easily. It’s akin to a salesperson closing the deal and finalizing the sale.
Your website should also be accessible on multiple devices. According to WeAreSocial, in 2018, there was a four percent increase in mobile phone users worldwide, bringing the total to 5,135 billion people. The company’s report also found a seven percent increase in internet users in 2018 with the total jumping to 4,021 billion individuals.
People are on the go now more than ever before. They want a check-out process that accommodates their needs at the moment. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you can count on it being ignored often.
#2 – What Payment Options are Available for Customers?
Allowing customers to pay via debit and credit card is the norm for most e-commerce retailers. Adding options for alternate payment options such as PayPal and Venmo, as well as gift cards and even cryptocurrency helps ease concerns of the people who don’t like giving out their personal information online.
The right solution, like diversifying your payment gateways will simplify the checkout process, and streamlining the process increases your sales and retention. Even Henry Ford knew that streamlining processes will increase not only production but sales too, and he happily applied his solutions to car production. By finding the right solution, he increased car production from one car in 12 hours to one car in only 90 minutes!
So what’s the right solution for payment options? First and foremost, you should start using tools that help automatically detect the type of credit card based on the first few numbers entered. It can become very frustrating to type in a series of card numbers, expiration dates, verification codes, only to choose the wrong credit card type and having to do all over again. It may seem like such an insignificant detail but to your customers, it’s a big deal to have an automated process in place.
Shipping is another area where simplification is necessary. For some people, paying for it is a deal breaker. That’s why it’s important to offer free shipping incentives and have the checkout process default to the most inexpensive shipping option first – it gives customers one less decision to worry about. Noting how long that form of shipping will take to arrive at their doorstep is another nice feature to include because it gives your customers one less question left unanswered.
#3 – What Information is Required of Customers to Make a Purchase?
- What information do you really require from your customers?
- Can it be entered quickly or stored for later use?
- Can your customers sign into the account they created with their email address or as a guest if they’re short on time?
Allowing them to check to see if they have an account already by typing in their email address is another way to save customers time because they can request their login information and access your website through their registered contact information.
Some customers have never placed an online order before or may be apprehensive sharing their personal information with you. The language that you use in your copy should emphasize how private the connection is, how their data is encrypted, and detail the security steps that are taken to protect their sensitive info.
One of the easiest tricks in the book is to use free lookup tables designed to pre-fill information into address forms based on the zip code entered. When this information is placed at the top of the entry form, it becomes much more effortless to finish the request for information. The lookup table determines the city, state, and country based on the zip code entered which ultimately shaves seconds off the checkout process.
#4 – How Informative is the Checkout Process?
Does your checkout process have any type of indicators so that customers know which step of the checkout process they are in?
For people who are pressed for time, not knowing how long it will take to complete a purchase can be very discouraging. If you want to avoid abandoned shopping carts, you’ll come up with a plan that makes the customer 100% informed about the progress being made when an order is placed.
Your website should be transparent about the checkout process as a way to keep customers actively engaged throughout the transaction. When they grow restless or become frustrated, they leave the site without finishing the checkout process. Do yourself a favor by making sure you have clearly visible indicators or allowing the customer to know that the process is near completion.
#5 – How are the Customers Notified of Mistakes That Occurred During the Checkout Process?
- Which ways do you let customers know that they’ve made a mistake or error in the checkout process?
- Does a message pop up and alert them to the issue?
- What does the message say?
- Does it provide them with further instruction about how to overcome the obstacle that they’re facing?
If a customer gets frustrated because they keep running into roadblocks during the checkout process of the transaction, they may decide to leave your website or go to a competitor’s site for a faster purchasing experience. One technical error can cost you a tremendous sum of money if it goes undetected for any length of time. User errors without guidance can result in losing your customers too, so be aware that notifications matter.
#6 – How is Final Confirmation Announced?
Receiving notice that the transaction has been completed is something that should occur instantaneously after payment is confirmed. A short message directing customers to their inboxes for more information about their order is imperative. A final confirmation serves as a directive which allows the customer to leave your website to check their email and learn more about the status of their purchase.
The confirmation message sent to their inbox can be greater in length and explain more about the shipping or delivery process. The point is to get the customer to realize that their payment method went through and that it will only be a matter of time before they receive the product or service that they ordered. They’ll receive an emailed confirmation of the transaction that sums up that info for them.
#7 – Is a Thank You Message Generated After a Purchase is Made?
Among the most personal ways to relate to your customers is to thank them for their purchase. After all, they have many options to choose from when it comes to the businesses they buy from, and they ultimately chose your offer and website. An automated thank you message does two things:
- It lets them know that they are a valued part of your company’s success.
- It also serves as formal notification that the ordering process is complete and that there were no issues while checking out.
Redirecting them to their inbox for further instructions and delivery times is essential during this last step of finalizing their purchase.
#8 – Pay Attention to What Your Customers Have to Say About the Checkout Process
Apply what you’ve learned here to strengthen your business strategy by making it impossible for your e-commerce website visitors to leave without making a purchase. By providing them with step-by-step instructions that help them understand which stage of the checkout process that they’re in, you’re able to hold their interest and prevent them from abandoning their shopping cart without buying a thing.
Sending a survey out following purchase is a good way to get feedback about the checkout process by someone who has been through it. If you want to improve your website for the better, learning what needs to be fixed is imperative. Your customers hold the success of your future in their hands, literally, because, with the click of a mouse or swipe of a finger, they go from being a visitor to a consumer with the potential of making long-term purchases on your e-commerce site.