For businesses that have identified their potential customers, targeted their marketing, have a brilliantly designed website and have managed to get potential customers onto their website, the next crucial part of the process is to make sure the customers then buy the product or service!
Problems with website checkout processes constitute the principal loss of income for the majority of e-commerce sites, with lengthy processes and pressures on customer’s time being the main issues. Research from Web Conversion specialists Lost Ferret has found that on many occasions checkout abandonment rates have exceeded 80%, meaning only 2 out of 10 people who visit the checkout will actually buy anything.
Allies Computing Ltd, creators of the PostCoder® range of addressing software ideal for adding address lookup to web forms, offer some simple tips that you can employ on your website to ensure that potential customers don’t abandon you at the checkout:
1. Remove registration from the checkout process – Research from Econsultancy indicates that registration pages at the beginning of the checkout process contribute to checkout abandonment as this can be time-consuming, off-putting and often tedious for those who have forgotten their username or password.
2. Don’t ask customers to duplicate information – if a customer has keyed in their name and email address, make sure this data is populated automatically as the default value if the information is needed in another part of the order process, for example for billing and delivery.
3. Use additional services to make it easier for the customer, such as automated address lookup. This can reduce keystrokes and save time by up to 80%.
4. Don’t collect data you don’t need – have a valid business reason to collect the data
5. Make sure the layout is simple and clear, with any steps to purchasing labelled and progress clearly visible. If you have more than 5 steps, you probably have too many.
6. List all the relevant information such as delivery costs and times, on the main part of the website to ensure there is no interruption to the buying process and no nasty surprises when payment is finally required. Hidden charges are another reason customers may abandon the checkout.
Is your website already in good order? A quick review and testing will identify any holes in your processes to make certain you are not loosing out on valuable sales.
East Anglia’s leading independent DIY home improvement company, Godfrey DIY, has seen significant improvements to their website conversions as a result of using an online address validation tool. Barry Godfrey, Managing Director of Godfrey DIY says "Now we have address lookup functionality added to our site I am very confident that we have minimised the possibility of customer drop-off at the checkout. I regard it as a very effective tool in protecting us against failed deliveries due to addressing errors."
By taking simple steps to improve the usability of your website’s order pages, the impact on sales could be quite significant so it’s definitely worth some consideration when next reviewing your website.
See http://www.postcoder.com/tt for more information.
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