Pop quiz: How many pages does it take for your customer to go from carting a product to submitting an order?
You probably answered somewhere between two to three pages. I bet it's really more like five to six pages. We recently surveyed online marketers and 28 percent believed they have two checkout pages and 39 percent said three. In a separate study, we analyzed the carting process of 100 retailers (randomly selected from over 350 brands) and found an average of 5.6 pages existed between cart and checkout. I don't think our respondents were being misleading, but many marketers underestimate the number of pages customers must view before they see: "Thanks, your order has been received."
It's easy enough to step through your checkout process and count the pages. You know the drill. Cart a product, sign in to your account, enter billing and shipping info, review your order, and submit.
In addition to identifying the sheer quantity of pages, auditing the process will help you discover and eliminate inefficiencies so you can reduce abandonment. We all know the primary contributors to cart abandonment: sticker shock when shipping and taxes are shown, technical issues, saving an item for later…
But beware! There is a trap door hidden in the checkout process many marketers overlook that can take your customer out of the purchasing process…way out!
One of the first pages a customer sees during checkout is the option to sign in to her account or to check out as a guest. You will have a mix of returning customers who have existing accounts and first-time buyers who have created an account but have not yet purchased. These are two highly engaged audiences. But, what if the customer can't remember her username or password?
I recently experienced this while shopping and was forced through seven steps before I could get back to the shopping cart and complete my order. Here are the hoops I had to jump through to get back to my cart and a few tips for making the process easier for your customer.
Audit your checkout process at least once per quarter and evaluate each step that takes your customers away from the shopping cart. Streamlining the checkout process will reduce shopping cart abandonment and increase sales, not to mention sparing you and your customer the unpleasant experience of falling through a trap door.
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Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
As an expert in email, mobile, and social strategies, Jim Davidson brings over 13 years of experience in online marketing, managing email and cross-channel programs for top retail clients. From strategic vision to implementation, Jim has led clients to successfully meet aggressive revenue and performance goals. As Bronto's manager of marketing research, he regularly publishes industry-focused white papers, research reports, and contributes to the Bronto Blog. Jim's articles frequently appear in leading retail, e-commerce, and marketing publications.
March 19, 2014