How to Optimize Your Ecommerce Value Proposition
By Tom Wintaugh
Simple strategies to turn checkout into a conversion engine.
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It’s natural to think that once a customer gets to the checkout page, most of the work converting their sale is already done. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A difficult or confusing checkout process can quickly drive potential customers away, resulting in lost sales and revenue. Furthermore, checkout that looks or feels complicated, outdated, or untrustworthy can permanently spoil a potential customer’s relationship with a brand. In this blog, we'll explore the most important aspects of customer checkout, and how it can lead to more conversions for your ecommerce store.
Coming at the end of a purchasing journey, the customer checkout page is an important last impression which reflects and defines the shopping experience for users. A seamless checkout process is in a sense your “closing argument” for the sale, and its success directly affects the outcome. Here are the primary reasons why a smooth checkout experience is essential for every ecommerce business:
Reduces Cart Abandonment: You want to make it as easy as possible for customers to move through the checkout process, giving them every reason to complete the sale (and no reasons not to).
A complicated checkout process can cause frustration which leads to more abandoned carts and incomplete transactions. Streamlining your checkout process and making it as simple as possible can help reduce cart abandonment rates and drive more conversions.
Increases Customer Satisfaction: Customers who have had positive, easy experiences procuring goods from your site are more likely to return and make additional purchases, leading to higher revenue. A smooth checkout experience should be effectively invisible to customers—once they have selected a product and begin completing a purchase, the remaining steps should be effortless and intuitive, allowing them to focus on the product and not the process.
Boosts Brand Loyalty: Those positive associations can last for a very long time, influencing purchasing decisions long in the future. That's what customer loyalty is all about.
A great customer checkout experience can leave customers with a good impression about the value of your business and products. Satisfied customers are then more likely to recommend your site, resulting in more sales and revenue for your business.
No matter what style of checkout page you offer or which payment providers you partner with, there are several themes you must deliver on in order to create a customer checkout experience that leads to more conversions. These “golden rules” of checkout should inform how you implement the experience on your site.
A quick and easy checkout process can contribute significantly to increased conversions. Customers are more likely to complete their purchase if the process is simple, straightforward, and most importantly, fast. Never let slow page loading speed cost you a sale at checkout. You can read more about the crucial value of site speed here.
Offering multiple payment options is essential for reaching the greatest number of customers with the unique payment solutions that they prefer. Whether it’s a range of providers, a “buy now pay later” financing option, or billing to account, customers have different preferences when it comes to payments, so offering various payment options can help meet more shoppers’ needs and lead to more conversion.
Some customers prefer not to create an account, and a guest checkout option can make the process more appealing and lead to more sales for these shoppers. Being flexible with customer preferences is crucial for retaining that business long term.
Clear shipping and return policies give shoppers the confidence to make purchases, so they know exactly what their options are if an item doesn’t work out. Customers want to know what to expect when it comes to shipping and returns, so providing this information can help build trust and increase conversions. Managing expectations about fulfillment also ensures that customers are not in the dark about when their orders will arrive, resulting in less drain on customer service resources and more ROI.
More than 40% of all ecommerce customers use their mobile devices to shop, so providing a seamless checkout experience on mobile can lead to more sales. Specifically optimizing your checkout process for mobile devices is a must if you wish to capture that business.
A complicated or confusing checkout process can lead to lost sales and decreased customer satisfaction that will affect customers’ impression of your brand going forward. By offering a quick and easy checkout process, multiple payment options, guest checkout, clear shipping and return policies, and mobile optimization, you are setting the stage for increased conversions and brand loyalty that extends far beyond the completed transaction.
Katy Ellquist, Miva’s Digital Marketing Strategist, is an accomplished writer, marketer, and social media analyst who has created sophisticated content campaigns for a broad range of professional clients. She brings to Miva a complex understanding of ecommerce trends and techniques, building upon extensive digital agency experience and a prior role as direct liaison to Miva’s top accounts. Katy is a regular contributor to the Miva blog, covering essential ecommerce topics like design & development strategy, site optimization, and omnichannel selling, with the goal of increasing the actionable knowledgebase of the entire Miva community.
Tom is a Content Marketing Specialist at Miva.