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For any online retailer, transporting a consumer seamlessly from the shopping to buying stage brings its challenges.
Checkout, the pivotal moment to secure the sale, is still an area where many retailers struggle to provide a customer-centric experience.
So, how can you prevent valuable online customers from straying from their shopping baskets?
1. Keep it clear and simple
Many customers are time poor, easily distracted, and perhaps most notably, have a wide-range of other brands vying for their attention.
A complex or lengthy checkout process could send them running to your competitor. Today’s average checkout process is five pages long.
Too many steps will frustrate the customer, which may result in an abandoned basket and lost revenue.
Implementing a step-indicator, which gives customers a clear view of their progress, will help manage their expectations during the entire process.
2. Minimise queuing time
Bricks and mortar shops try to prevent customers from waiting in a lengthy queue to make a purchase.
The same attitude must be applied online. A ‘guest checkout’ option reduces processing time, enabling customers to complete the purchase without being required to register or set up an account.
A third (33%) of retailers don’t offer this, which has a direct impact on the number of sales they convert.
Of course, capturing customer data via registration is important to enable engaging communications and personalised offers in the future.
You should consider presenting both options and offer incentives for customers to complete the longer registration process.
3. Avoid last minute, unexpected surprises
At this critical stage in the customer journey, you should do everything to encourage the sale, and avoid presenting the customer with any unexpected costs at the last minute.
The continued growth of promo codes, providing free shipping or money off, are a powerful way to encourage customers to purchase.
Reduce the risk of disappointment at checkout by allowing customers to apply codes early in the process. This may also create additional revenue as customers realise they can get more for their money.
Mulberry's single page checkout
You also need to avoid exposing customers to sticker shock. More than a third (38%) of online retailers are guilty of this.
Hitting customers with total costs at the end of the checkout process could put them off the purchase if the price is higher than they expected.
Whilst the majority of retailers display shipping costs on the first or second page of checkout, there remain a few who still don’t reveal the rates until page five.
Display a preview of the shopping basket and associated costs, including shipping costs, as early as possible during the checkout process and provide the opportunity to adjust their preference.
4. Remind customers what they are missing
There are many other reasons shoppers may abandon their shopping basket, and even if you address the majority you will still face abandoned baskets.
However, that does not mean the sale is lost. Commerce marketing automation makes it much easier to follow up with the customer to re-engage them.
Sending automated abandoned basket messages is an effective way to recapture the customer’s interest and remind them why they visited your site in the first place.
In fact, a basket reminder strategy can recover as much as 25% of abandoned revenue. Yet, a surprisingly high number of retailers (59%) don’t do this at all.
A small number (22%) send only one reminder, even though experience shows that a series of messages is more effective.
If you keep customers happy at checkout, and personalise the messages to those that abandon their baskets, you can go a long way toward becoming the retailer that customers come back to again and again.