Getting your ducks in a row…

11 06 2010

One of my pet peeves is a badly designed checkout process.

It’s a terrible thing to spend hours searching for the products you want, get them all in your shopping basket in the right size and colour and then have to re-search for the product when it incomprehensively disappears from the basket or puts in 10 of the same product.  Then when you try to find your basket again, it’s completely vanished!  After searching the site for your basket, you find it.  Oh, you mean this miniscule icon in the bottom left hand corner that doesn’t even resemble a basket?!

Once you’ve gone through all this trauma, just wanting to pay, you’re hit with pages and pages of garbled checkout.  Enter your address.  A seemingly simple command but nowadays customers want goods delivered to their work address where they’ll be able to sign for their package, or to a friend or family members house as a gift.  You continue through the payment process only for your payment to fail because your delivery and billing address do not match.  Arrrggghh! Just let me pay!

The checkout process is such a fundamental part of running an online business.  Mess this up and your dropout rates will be sky-high.  Theres some pretty obvious things you can do to avoid high dropout rates at the checkout.

1. Keep things simple, don’t overload your pages.

2. Have a clear link to the shoppers basket on every page of your site.

3. Provide your shopper with an order summary before asking them to pay- Nothing makes customers cancel the process like confusion over how much they will be paying.

4. Keep your payment pages down to a minimum -The less pages, the less obstacles the shopper has to overcome in order to pay you.

5. Inform your customers of how far they are in the checkout process and whats coming next with a bread crumb trail If you have 3D Secure set up, it’s a good idea to let them know what it is and when they will encounter it.

So on my quest to find the Sage Pay Business of the Month for June, I’ve decided to focus on the checkout process and one e-commerce site that’s got it all wrapped up is Bombay Duck.

Their payment process is simple, uncluttered and comprehensive.  You don’t have to be a genius to manoeuvre through the site and their customised pages incorporate all of their branding so you don’t realise you have been redirected to Sage Pay to collect your sensitive data.  What’s even better is that if you are an existing customer, you can simply log in and find all of your address details stored so you don’t have to re-enter them every time you want to pay!

I’m sure my bank manager wishes my drop-out rates were higher but with companies like Bombay Duck making the checkout process so easy, it would be rude not to buy!

Congratulations to Bombay Duck for being Sage Pay’s June Business of the Month!

If you’d like to know more about optimising your checkout pages, download our E-Business Benchmark Report here.




One response

14 10 2011
Robert Bush

This is a great article. I’ve been looking for more quality content that I could use for an ebook I’m writing on Small Business Tips. If you don’t mind I would like to use this article as content for my ebook and my Small Business Tips blog. I will make sure I keep it the same and will show you as the author and include any links that you have. Thanks so much and I enjoyed the article.

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