Losing customers at checkout is unfortunately a common problem for many online businesses. There is no quick answer as to why this happens, as it is different for each individual ecommerce store which means there is no quick fix to the issue either. Fortunately there are common issues that tend to turn customers away at that very last moment, finding the ones applicable to a specific website however takes a little bit of work. Below are some of the more common reasons shoppers lose interest at checkout, if any of these issues seem familiar it may be time to make some changes.
Not having good page load times
If you’re lucky, customers will put up with slow page loading times when looking for a product. This is less likely if they are browsing however. Regardless of this they will be a lot less likely to be happy to deal with loading times when it comes to payment, as many checkouts will time a customer out if they take too long and this is the part of the shopping process that shoppers like to get finished as quickly as possible. To avoid the loss of traffic due to long waits be sure to test and optimise your page loading times, remembering that they can always be improved.
Incompatible with mobile
More and more people are doing everything on their mobile that they used to do on their computer. Meaning that a large majority of shoppers can be found browsing and making purchases on this platform. Unsurprisingly this means that if a website or more importantly a checkout system is not compatible with mobile, the users are likely to give up and shop elsewhere before they’ve even properly begun payment. It is key to think that convenience is what drives online shoppers and creating a fully responsive, mobile compatible website is crucial to fitting into that convenient bracket many ecommerce customers are looking for.
Difficult store to checkout navigation
Once people are done shopping they want to check out right? But if they have trouble finding where to do so, it becomes a frustration. Customers have most likely spent a decent amount of their time tracking down their required items, they are not likely to want to spend even more time searching high and low for the checkout. If they are forced to, they will likely leave. Fixing this is simple, having a decent sized obvious checkout logo at the top of every page is a start. Offering the shopper the option to check out or continue shopping when they add items to basket is also helpful, when shopping for multiple items it may appear more times than it needs to, but it lets the customer know where the checkout is if it’s needed and in the long run decreases confusion.
No testimonials / reviews
Online shopping can be difficult, how can customers be sure what they are going to receive when they can only see it on the screen? Are they going to like the size, the colour or even the material of their purchased items once they arrive? There is no way for a shopper to be able to guarantee these things, they simply have to take the stores word for it and hope they’re happy. Unfortunately some will get to the checkout and let these insecurities force them to leave. The best way to combat this is down to what is offered before checkout. Letting customers review products and leave customer testimonials allows a shopper to read about others first hand experiences with products and judge their likelihood to buy on their comments as good reviews give a large boost in confidence.
Not allowing customers to save their cart
Sometimes an immediate purchase is not on the mind of an online shopper, they may simply be browsing for the best prices, or even checking the price of a product for future reference. When this happens it can be helpful to be able to save the products they have searched for in their cart so when they return later to make a sale, they do not have to look through the whole site to find it again. Being able to save cart contents is attractive to customers because it is also convenient, which is what online shopping is meant to be all about. If a customer does not want to come back and search through a site full of products again, they are most likely to go to a shop that won’t make them do so instead. Save loss of customers by offering them a save cart option, even if it means they will have to sign up for an account to do so, it will save them time in the long run and higher the chances of them returning.
Having a lack of images
Nothing provokes an unsure customer to leave the checkout page more than wanting to be sure their order is correct, paranoia that they may accidentally have the wrong items or even the wrong quantity of items selected can niggle away at a shopper with their card in hand. This usually results in the leaving the checkout page to go back to their basket, once or even multiple times depending on the person. This can be easily solved by displaying their selected items clearly at checkout. Providing small images of the product they have selected along with quantities can greatly put a customer’s mind at rest whilst speeding up their checkout process, making it more likely they will end up following through with the order as they are reassured.
Not providing security logos
A huge issue customers have had since the dawn of online shopping is the worry that a website is not secure. Stories about stolen information and fraud have circled the internet for years and not all of them are false. Therefore if a customer feels a site does not look safe or reputable then they are likely to leave and shop somewhere else that they know they can trust. The key to stopping this is to clearly display any legitimate safety logos you have, be sure to be certified as a safe website. The comfort of seeing those small security symbols at the bottom of a store can do wonders for customer to business trust.
Impractical checkout stages
Checkouts can be a bore, by this point customers are usually just looking forward to the excitement of receiving their product. Depending on the demographic of customer an ecommerce site is focusing on depends how long they are willing to spend checking out and filling in details. The longer and more complicated a check out the more likely customers will take their business elsewhere purely out of frustration. This is especially true when customers find you through SKU Feeds channels, as they are likely to have had no prior experience with your brand to encourage loyalty throughout checkout. Finding out what kind of checkout suits customers can be tricky but is worth finding out, playing around with multiple and single step checkouts and analysing the sales and drop off results will tell a lot about the optimum process for shoppers.
The issue with checkout traffic loss isn’t always to do with an issue with the checkout itself. It can be due to lack of availability of communication. For example, if a shopper has a last minute question they would like to verify before making a purchase they are likely to use the contact information or chat boxes available on the site to check. However if this information or service is not there, who do they talk to? This can lead to lack of trust with a company, as there is no way to contact if there are any issues with the product before or even after purchasing it. This can be easily avoided by clearly displaying a valid customer service phone number and email address on every page, or even having a 24/7 manned pop up chat service to give them a peace of mind.
Finally finding the best deal online after hours of searching to then get to the checkout and be hit with a surprise delivery charge or handling fee can and usually is the tipping point for a lot of customers. This is usually for two reasons, the first being that shoppers are simply not willing to pay the excess charge on top of the price of their product and the second is usually because the fact that these costs were hidden up until the moment of payment makes them lose trust in the company. This lack of trust will usually not only get in the way of this purchase, but also future purchases they may have made with the company. The easy way to prevent this is to be as upfront as possible about costs, mention a shipping charge or a handling charge beforehand. If necessary even include delivery charges in the cost of items. Do whatever it takes to ensure customers have had a chance to be fully informed on all costs before they proceed to checkout.
No customer wants to pay huge amount of shipping, especially if they have already spent a large amount on the item, or even if the shipping costs more than the item itself. Large shipping charges put many people off as cheap or free delivery has become quite common within online shopping. If a customer is met with shipping charges they do not like the look of, the likelihood is that they are going to become another lost customer. This can be stopped by doing everything possible to reduce shipping costs, whether it means changing packaging, courrier or not delivering out of the country or to certain countries specifically until a better option is available.
Non interactive cart page
Shoppers getting to a checkout and deciding an item no longer wanted? It happens, and it happens a lot whether the sacrifice is due to unexpected shipping costs or simply a change of heart when customers decide they no longer want something during checkout they will want to remove it. Not making this possible without having to go back to cart and start again can be frustrating, and many will simply not be interested in doing it again, leading to another failed purchase. The simple fix to this issue is to simply make it so shoppers can edit their order as they please, as long as it is anytime before payment. This will keep indecisive Customers happy and at the same time help secure a sale, even if a smaller one than originally expected.
We’ve already established that checkout processes can be long, even longer if customers are being forced to sign up before they order. Not every shopper wants to give out their personal details, let alone spend extra time doing so. Many will abandon shopping if they do not want to give their information out, no questions asked. Offering guest checkouts whilst advertising the perks of signing up, such as tracked delivery and notifications about their order is a much healthier way to get sign ups, as it allows the customer to make the decision to join on their own, some websites now even offer sign up after checkout. This gives off much less pressure on to the customer to sign up, and now that their purchase is over, they are more likely to be willing to give their time to do so.
Neglecting to offer multiple payment methods
Not everyone likes to pay the same way. Many people no longer trust online card transactions, many simply dislike adding in their card details every time and prefer to use methods such as PayPal instead. These are the kind of people that stand to be lost when multiple payment methods are not made available. Why would they shop in a way they don’t like or trust when they could search a little longer and find what they want elsewhere? The truth is they wouldn’t. Retaining these customers by offering multiple payment methods could greatly reduce drop offs at checkout, as by doing so it is appealing to a large range of people. The more people a site is accessible to, the more people there are to shop on it.
No option for refunds and guarantees
As mentioned before, online shopping comes with a lot of uncertainty, there is no way for a customer to be 100% sure what they are getting. So not offering refunds and guarantees can scare away a customer. The lack of these options leads to customer insecurity of what will happen if the item turns up different to expected or damaged. It can even spark questions as to why these services aren’t being offered, is there a reason why this company will not take their products back? These are questions that damage a company’s reputation, the easy way to stop them is to simply offer this guarantee. Even if the returns policy is only valid under certain conditions it helps to have one, and a guarantee puts the shoppers mind at rest about the quality of the product too. Building up trust between company and customer that little bit more.
Some loss of customer interest can never be fixed by adaptation. It helps to accept that occasionally customers are simply browsing or may get distracted from the device they are using to access the store and will not make a purchase. But this isn’t an issue, as long as most other shoppers are happy with the service they are receiving and are following through with their checkout.