I have recently been researching the phenomena of checkout conversions. I know I talked about this in one of my old blogs, but there is something important that I missed which I think is worth mentioning. I’m talking about checkout distractions. If you have an ecommerce site that relies on converting people via a checkout then I think this is something that you should take note of.
I’ll use a real world example. You go into a TV store to look for a brand new television. You find the one you want. You take the box to the checkout so you can pay and be on your way. Would you expect to be beckoned by a staff member to the back of the store to be shown other televisions? Of course not, you have already done your shopping; you are inches away from making a purchase, why would you want any distractions? No stores do this. When someone has browsed your website, added items to their cart and clicked the checkout button you need to remove any distractions that could steer them away from making the final sale. This is called a checkout portal.
In horse racing they put something called “blinkers” on horses so they can only see the finish line and not be distracted by any other horses. I’m not saying your customers are horses, but you need to have the same mentality.
That’s great that you have a pumping facebook page, but the checkout is not the place to promote it. Some people will make it to the final stage of the checkout process, are moments away from pulling out their credit card when they suddenly see a link to your facebook page. Now you risk the possibility of the customer abandoning the cart to see what other customers of yours are saying on your company’s facebook page. This is something they may not have thought about if they had not seen the external facebook link on your website. Same goes for Twitter and Google+. Don’t give your customers an excuse to abandon the cart.
Remove the menu bar module. They have already made it this far, don’t put other ideas in their heads. All the big players in the ecommerce world remove the main menu bar during the checkout process. This also goes for showing ads or special promotions you may be having, you don’t need to sell them on your product, they are already sold.
Get rid of the search bar. Remember what I said about putting the blinkers on your customers during the checkout? A search bar is an opportunity for someone to abandon their cart. Remember that when someone abandons their cart, the chances of them returning diminish considerably. A typical shopping cart abandonment rate for a good site is around 65%.
What Should You Have
By now you’re probably thinking you should basically remove everything from your checkout, bar the logo. Not true, the checkout is where the customer will be experiencing buyer’s remorse, is the transaction safe? Will hackers take hold of their credit card and identity? These are the type of things you need to be focusing on alleviating from the customers mind. Take this opportunity to polish your security certificates, eg, “this site is secured by Nortons, COMODO, etc”. Have you been in business for over 10 years? Let this be known! Had over 10,000 customers? That’s great, let this be known too. Add any bits of information that you think will ease the customer’s mind, without steering them away from the sale too much. Aid not hinder.
Check out some examples below:
This is what Dick Smith Electronics website looks like before the checkout.
Look what happens to the top menu bar when it’s time to checkout.
Jessops photographics website while shopping.
Now look at what Jessops looks like the moment you click the checkout button.