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Tips to a Flawless eCommerce Checkout Process

For an online retail business, a good checkout process is crucial to its survival. There’s no other way for customers to buy the products in a timely, efficient manner than the website’s checkout platform. This is why so many small business owners in the online retail space spend a lot of time and money making sure this process is nearly flawless. In order to avoid the possibility of losing customers due to bugs and issues, you need to take some time to make sure your own checkout process works well.

This means doing more than just setting it up in the first place and letting it run. There are several steps you can take to make sure this checkout process is as perfect as possible without spending a lot of money on reprogramming the code itself unless necessary. Here are a few tips you can follow to make your own checkout process as optimized and perfect as possible.

Review the Intended Customer Experience

Everything about a business, whether it is physical or digital, should revolve around the desired customer experience. Your business survival hinges on a great experience each and every time your customer shops. Problems and challenges within this experience are likely to lose customers and harm your bottom line in the long run.

A digital checkout process is no different. Before it is created, a checkout process needs to be planned out in detail. Ideally, you should also take steps to optimize the efficiency of this process wherever possible. This can include reducing the required number of clicks, simplifying the interface and optimizing the amount of time the customer spends checking out in the first place.
While this step is easier to do before the checkout infrastructure has been created, you can go back to refine an existing checkout process as well. This may require some reprogramming depending on the customer experience your checkout process currently promotes, but it will be worthwhile in the long run.

Working from this point does have one big advantage, however. With an existing checkout process, you already have the experience of customers going through it. This means you can get feedback to see what is working and what is not. Try creating a little digital survey, prompting responses from email or social media, or directly connecting with customers you know first-hand to get this feedback. Use it to refine whatever issues or flaws your current customers experience when they go to check out.

Simplify Where Possible

A digital checkout platform can be technologically perfect and still have a poor user experience. Many web developers have a tendency to overcomplicate the checkout process, loading it up with more features than necessary and potentially losing loyal customers. When it comes to streamlining the checkout process and the user experience, you need to simplify it as much as possible.

One approach to take is to reduce the number of steps involved in the process in the first place. You may find you have too many links, buttons, form boxes or even pages than you need.The amount of simplification does not stop with just the number of steps. The interface of the checkout platform is also an area you should review. Is it easy to understand? Is the font readable? Is it clear where customers should click and where they should go?

Simplification can reduce potential confusion when done correctly. Here again, it’s helpful to get as much feedback as possible from current or future customers. If you’re creating your checkout process for the first time, try to do some beta testing with friends and family members to get their reaction and feedback.

Optimize the Engine

A checkout process is very similar to a car: It has many working internal components that can be optimized for better performance. In the case of the checkout platform, these components are the code and database. All software applications, from programs to websites, use code to define and create the specific features, looks and functionality of the platform. Sometimes, this code can be overly complicated and complex, which will reduce speed and increase processing times. When this happens, a qualified developer needs to go back into the code and revise it to make it more streamlined.

The database that stores product and customer information will also play a role in increasing the performance of the checkout process. A well-structured database on fast servers will decrease page loading times so customers do not have to wait as long for each step of the process. For both the code and the database, this is one area that is best left to the professionals. Unless you have actual programming experience yourself, a professional web developer will be more experienced to streamline the infrastructure as much as possible. They should also be able to do this more quickly than on your own.

Keep Refining the Process

The idea of a flawless checkout experience is appealing but can be difficult to reach if you stop refining it. In other words, true perfection is an ongoing process of revision and refinement. If you stop after you have initially made some changes, you are likely to ignore further problems and issues that develop down the road. You will also miss more opportunities to refine the checkout experience your customers will have each and every time.

A part of this is due to the changing nature of the checkout process itself. While the basics remain the same, there are always new techniques and technologies on the horizon that will streamline the process even further. You may also find different ways to approach common challenges found within an eCommerce checkout platform.

Always spend a little time with the performance data you have available. Keep track of the customer experience using trackers like Google Analytics and other marketing services so you can see where your customers may be experiencing problems. Do not hesitate to make changes if you start to notice certain trends. The best thing you can do is monitor and maintain the health of your checkout process.

Guest Post: About the Author

Jim Rulison serves as the CEO for Media Loop LLC (formerly the National Center for Pain Inc). Jim oversees the day to day operations for all lead generation accounts, with a concentration in the healthcare industry. Before joining Media Loop, Jim was the CEO of PME Home Health and was the founder of one of the nation’s first virtual call centers. He lives in the Rochester New York area where he and his late wife raised their two children. Jim spends his free time with his family and enjoying cooking and his two dogs.

How Can You Optimize Your eCommerce Store to Increase Sales?

You’ve put a ton of work into your online store and even started getting a decent amount of traffic to it. But, when it comes to sales, you aren’t meeting your goals. Does this sound like you? If so, don’t worry — Many online stores owners are facing the same problem. You need to optimize your marketing efforts to acquire more customers, and this article show you how.

First, You Need to Determine When Shoppers Leave Your Site

While there are some general optimizations that will benefit allonline stores, the areas where you need to make improvements to your site are determined by user behavior. You need to know precisely when a shopper leaves your website. Upon determining at what point website traffic navigates away, you will have an idea what elements must be improved.

So, you’ll have to monitor your website traffic. From real data, you can acquire invaluable understanding. Here are the indicators you want to look for and what you can do to improve your sales potential.

A High Bounce Rate and How to Solve it

A high bounce rate (above 56%) indicates that your page design or load speed is severely lacking. The problem for your shoppers is immediate, so they leave right away — and most of them won’t come back. So, the first thing you need to do if your bounce rate isn’t at least average, is run a page speed test.

Google PageSpeed Insights can provide you with page load speed and optimization ratings for mobile and desktop browsers. Follow the advice given, step-by-step, right to an optimized user experience upon arrival to your online store.

If you find that your website is fully-optimized and your bounce rate stays in the high range, it may be time to get some feedback on your design and/ or images; the aesthetic appeal of your site might be non-existent or lacking (this is a tough but extremely commonpill to swallow).

Tip: Find a neutral focus group to test your design and give you unbiased feedback on your website design. Most of the time, your staff, friends, and family are going to tell you what you want to hear, whether the aesthetics of your site are terrible or not.

Site Traffic Drops off on Product Pages and What This Means

After arriving at your home page, interested, qualified leads will likely move to your product pages. If this is where they move away, there could be something wrong with your product descriptions. Crafting optimized product descriptionswill have a powerful effect on your sales.

SignMission’s now hiring banner product description provides a great example of everything necessary for converting a page visitor. Here’s why it works:

  • Right off the bat, it tells the reader what to do with the product: “Advertise your employment needs…”
  • Next, it showcases the main benefits: durable, pre-grommeted mounting holes, indoor and outdoor use, fade-resistant, made in the USA, outdoor, heavy duty, 13 oz vinyl.
  • Then, it explains where the product can be used: job fairs, grand openings, roadside, and more.
  • Plus, it seems to be super SEO-friendly with wise use of subheadings and lists.
  • Finally, it makes wise use of grammar and power words.

If you wrote the product descriptions for your online store and this is where visitors are moving away, it’s time to study up on psychological sales triggers, power words, and maybe even grammar. There’s a lot that goes into effective product descriptions.

Tip: If you hire someone to help you rewrite your product descriptions, make sure that you check references. You’ll probably be better off hiring someone with experience in your niche because they will already know the language if your target market.

What if Shoppers Drop off on Category Pages?

You may think that when your traffic moves away upon landing on your category pages, it’s for the same reason as product pages and you need to update descriptions; this couldbe part of the cause, but it’s definitely not the most likely. Instead, when shoppers leave after landing on category pages, it’s probably because your navigation needs some work. The simpler your navigation menu is to use, the longer shoppers will browse.

MightySkins’ provides a great example of an eCommerce site with good navigation. From one category page you can choose to create your own popsocket skin, buy a pre-designed skin, use the dropdown menu to see a list of the most popular products, or do a search. In the sidebar, they provide product images of other popular products with images. Follow their lead to encourage clear opportunities for conversions on category pages.

Tip: Try to make your main conversion point stand out on your top menu. If website traffic is drawn to the “Shop” button, you’re likely to get traffic to your money pages.

Are Your Shoppers Abandoning Their Carts at Checkout?

. Shopping cart abandonment is one of the main conversion killers eCommerce stores face. You’ll need a streamlined checkout experience if you want shoppers to see their purchases through. So, learn why online shoppers abandon their cartsand check to see if your experience makes the grade.

Here’s what an optimized checkout process looks like:

  • It never presents shoppers with unexpected costs.
  • The price of your products, including shipping, is competitive.
  • Site is functioning properly as far as page speed and bandwidth.
  • Utilizes minimal security measures while maintaining trustworthiness.
  • Presents sufficient and affordable (free when possible) delivery options.
  • Shows relevant currency information.

Tip: If you sell the same inventory on and offline, you should use a credit card reader that connects to your online store. This way, you’ll have an easier time with inventory management.

Final Thoughts

An optimized online store leads to higher conversions, hence a greater ROI. If you’re in the business of selling online, use these tips to improve your business’ financial situation. Most of these tips can be implemented right away, so don’t wait to make the right move – start now.

Guest post: About the Author

Ashley Kimler is part of the superhero team atHeroic Search in Tulsa. She’s been working in the digital marketing industry for over a decade. Follow @ashleykimlerand @heroicsearchon Twitter to see what she and her team share next.