eCommerce Weekly Checklist: Shopping Cart Key Elements

The Problem/Opportunity:

Your website’s shopping cart is the most important element of your site. This is where you turn your site visitor into a customer. Unfortunately, most visitors add products to the cart and never finish the check out process.  In the ecommerce world, this is called shopping cart abandonment rate and bounce rate. If you are not sure that your site is having this problem, you can find out from your web analytics. The metric you are looking for is the funnel conversion data.

The Solution:

Your goal is to try to help your visitor convert into a customer. You want to eliminate and minimize any obstacles that might stand in the way of your visitor following through and completing the check out process.  Below are some tactics that can help:

  • Display shipping cost early
    One of the easiest and most often overlooked pieces of information to display up front is shipping cost. My personal opinion is that shipping cost and types of shipping options should be displayed on the product page before the customer even adds the product to the shopping cart.  By showing this information early, you will reduce your cart abandonment because many abandoned carts result from visitors simply wanting to see how much shipping will cost.
  • No registration required
    Many visitors like the immediate gratification and anonymity of checking out without registration (quick checkout). Take advantage of these “impulse buyers” by allowing them to checkout without a lengthy registration process. You may not capture all their data just now, but you’ll be more likely to convert them.
  • Progress indicator on each page
    Visitors are short on time. They want to know how long this will take. Is this a 3-step check out process or 5-step? The more steps, the higher the risk of abandonmentYour potential customers want to know upfront how much time they have to spend on a given activity. Your goal is to inform them early so they can commit sooner than later.
  • Ask only for important fields
    Most people hate filling out forms. Although it is important to get a thorough customer profile, you don’t want to make the form so long that it turns the customer off. Like we mentioned above, visitors are short on time.  Only ask for information that you really need to complete the order.
  • Continue to “check out” is obvious
    It is sometimes surprising the number of buttons displayed on shopping cart pages. Sometimes all the buttons are the same size, shape and color. With all the other noise on a page, you must ensure that your “checkout” button is obvious.  If you have a long checkout page, have it appear in multiple locations on the page.
  • Display 800 number and store policy 

Sometimes, visitors still have unanswered questions. Sometimes, they just need a little assurance that your company is legitimate and will really ship their order. Don’t hide or make it difficult to find your toll-free number. Provide links to your “store policy” and “about you” pages.

  • Keep your checkout page simple

The fewer links and navigation you have on your checkout page, the less distraction there is to deter your visitor from wrapping up their checkout process. Eliminate or reduce non-essential top and left navigation links when appropriate.

In the Long Run:

Reducing your shopping cart abandonment is a must if you want to increase your top line revenue. Conduct conversion testing to tweak and optimize your checkout pages.  Taking the steps to ensure that your checkout process is as effortless as possible will reward you with a lower shopping cart abandonment rate, lower bounce rate and most of all — higher sales.

Getting to “eCommerce heaven” is a marathon, not a sprint – but you can get better every week.

By: Shirley Tan

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eCommerce Weekly Checklist: Shopping Cart Key Elements

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