Online Checkout – The Key Elements of a Winning Strategy

We’re all aware of the boom in eCommerce during the Covid-19 pandemic and if you’re an e-tailer yourself, you will no doubt have experienced the highs and lows associated with business growth, stock shortages and other factors affecting the industry recently. Whether you already had an eCommerce website as Covid hit, or you were one of the thousands of traditional retailers who had to pivot their business and get online quickly, you will know how fickle online shoppers can be. So, if your business is suffering from cart abandonment or your sales just aren’t as high as you’d like despite healthy website traffic, we’ve put together some tips on how to develop a winning online checkout strategy.

Research shows that over 70% of consumers rely more on online shopping now than ever before, bringing a smooth online shopping and checkout experience to the forefront of customer expectations. Cart abandonment is an issue for any e-tailer; with billions of pounds being lost every week, nearly 50% of shoppers say they will not return to an online store after a poor checkout experience. As a business, it’s a hard pill to swallow when you look at the sales you have missed out on and a poor checkout experience is the number one cause.  The average value of abandoned carts in the UK is believed to be a staggering £45 per week per person – that’s over £2,000 a year.

So why do people abandon their carts? Overall, it’s down to poor experience but delve a little deeper and you find more detail on the most common reasons for cart abandonment including:

  • Unclear postage costs
  • Mandatory account creation
  • Overly complex process

It therefore makes sense to ensure that you mitigate against these issues where possible by being clear on any additional costs, introducing a guest checkout function and simplifying your checkout. However there’s more to it than that.

So what’s the winning formula?

Data shows that the most influential factors in a positive checkout experience are:

  • Clear product pricing and postage costs
  • Email validation
  • Customer reviews
  • Address lookup functionality
  • Saving details from previous purchases
  • A clear and simple journey

The first few points are reasonably straightforward, but there is a knack to achieving the optimal journey so let’s look at the final point in more detail.

There is an industry phrase known as ‘appropriate friction’. While there is a trend towards reducing friction as much as possible i.e. to reduce the number of clicks required to make a purchase, there is a point when friction becomes a good thing. Research demonstrates that around 56% of people actually prefer a slightly slower checkout process so that they don’t feel rushed into making their purchase. Even more interesting is that nearly 80% of people would prefer the checkout process to mirror that of the familiar in-store experience, adding weight to the concept of appropriate friction. The key point here is that making the process too quick could be a bad thing, so it’s important to strike the right balance between convenience and customer confidence.

So, looking to the future, what can you do to maximise your online sales and reduce cart abandonment?  If you want to model your checkout process on a successful example, take a look at the websites of major supermarkets who top of the leader board with over 45% of people citing them as the best experience of all online stores. Ensure that your checkout process is simple yet ticks all the boxes for account security, transparent pricing and costs, and validates emails and shipping details. Adding a customer review function will instil confidence in your products and your service (and your brand!) and mirroring your in-store shopping experience offers a feeling of familiarity to your loyal customers. Finally, keep up to date with the latest technology and payment options and you’ve got a winning formula.

Whether you’re an e-tailer or an omnichannel retailer, having the right retail management software and the most up-to-date hardware behind the scenes is vital to the success of your business. Once you’ve nailed your online customer checkout and started winning back those abandoned carts, will your retail management software be able to cope with the increase in demand? And does your eCommerce software integrate with your other systems such as your accounting software and marketplaces? If your eCommerce store doesn’t link seamlessly with all aspects of your business, give our expert team a call on 0800 138 0050 for free advice on how to achieve full omnichannel management capability or contact us here.

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