One of the reasons that people shop online is the convenience involved. It is desirable to be able to shop at any time, and to be able to pay for products and services with ease. When you are running an online business, it is important to ensure that customers can purchase your products and services with ease and with confidence in your security. One of the most important ways to ensure that online customers have a pleasant experience is to engage in shopping cart checkout optimization.
You want your shopping cart application to be easy to use and navigate, as well as secure. Here is a checklist of some of hallmarks of an optimized shopping cart checkout:
No one likes complicated forms and several steps. Aim for simplicity in your shopping cart application. Instead of having multiple forms that require a number of steps to fill out, make sure that you have just what you need to complete the purchase.
You also want to de-clutter your checkout process. Reduce the number of items in sidebars, and get rid of numerous exit options. The checkout process should be simple, and should contain fewer distractions. Make sure there is a guided progression through the checkout process, and that everything is clearly marked and the checkout is simple. It should take not more than four steps to checkout (although two or three is better).
Your customers should have access to different payment options. They should be able to use a credit card, or to use a third-party payment service. This can include PayPal, Amazon Pay Now, Google Checkout or Bill Me Later. All of these services allow customers to simply use these means to pay, rather than always having to type in their credit card numbers. Many customers are more comfortable with these third-party payment transactions. However, having the credit card option available is important as well.
Make sure that your checkout process is speedy. Your customers don’t want to watch a slow loading page when it comes to checking out. These days, there are few things more frustrating to an online shopper than waiting for a page to load. Make sure that you have a web hosting plan that can handle the volume of customers that you have, and that you have a reliable host with minimal down time. This may mean that you have to pay a little more for your web hosting services, but it is usually worth it to keep satisfied customers.
Make sure that there is confirmation for your customers. One of the steps should be a final review of the order before placing it. This allows the customer a chance to make sure that everything is correct. Then, after the order is placed, make sure there is a confirmation page generated so that the customer knows what to do if a problem arises. You want the customer to feel comfortable with the purchase.
Online shoppers like to make sure that they are using a secure site. They want to know that you are protecting their information from would-be identity thieves and fraudsters. In order to make sure that your customers are comfortable using your business web site, you should go through the effort of getting independent security verification. Get this verification, and be sure to display it prominently on your page.
The same is true of the SSL logo you are using. Secure socket layer provides encryption of data so that information is protected. Savvy shoppers want to see that you have SSL protection, and that your security has been verified by an independent party. Prominently displaying these logos and badges during checkout can instill confidence in you and your products and services.
Your checkout process is the last chance you have to make a good impression on an online customer. You want an optimized process that is simple and secure. You want your customers to come away with a good impression, knowing that you value their time, and that you are committed to their online security. Correctly configuring your checkout process is an important part of that.