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Keeping Customers Loyal – Tips for a Successful Checkout Process

Everyone knows it: Shortly before paying in the online store, the browser tab is closed again or the shopping cart is deleted. There are many different reasons for this. But why exactly do customers still refrain from buying at the checkout? How can the probability of a successful purchase be increased? 10 tips to ensure that the right button is clicked.

6 Min.

"When a customer arrives at checkout, they have added at least one product to their cart and are ready to buy. Payment and the official purchase are then just a matter of form." This misconception leads many online stores to neglect the checkout process, resulting in purchase cancellations. In fact, the checkout process is often a barrier to the customer experience. For some online stores, four out of five prospective customers still bounce at this moment. For this reason, it makes sense to pay special attention to the checkout and its design. This begins as soon as the customer is on the filled shopping cart page. Then he decides whether to click on the buy button or whether he would rather leave the items at the checkout. These tips and tricks can significantly reduce the abandonment rate:

Hard Facts: Conditions Surrounding the Order

Before checking the user-friendliness of the checkout process, it is worthwhile to first think through the "hard facts" again. General conditions for the purchase, such as the payment method or shipping, can already be reasons for abandoning a purchase.

1. Free choice of payment options

Special attention should be paid to the payment method: One in three online purchases is abandoned because the desired payment method is not available. Some people may not have a credit card or PayPal - these customers are already lost if there is no alternative such as SEPA direct debit or purchase on account. Therefore, it is the task of store operators to offer as many payment options as possible. One way of eliminating this trigger for purchase cancellations is offered by Unzer, with the help of which all common payment methods can be integrated quickly and easily.

2. Consciously select the dispatch enterprise

Buyers are also very critical when it comes to shipping items. Therefore, the delivering company should be trustworthy and have a good image. The opposite may be the case if, for example, there have been negative press reports about it or strikes have been reported. Customers may also have had bad experiences, which is why it may make sense to offer several shipping methods from which the customer can choose. This will prevent the purchase from being cancelled due to the shipping company.

3. Do not make customers wait too long

Who hasn't experienced this? Once we have chosen a product, we want to have it in our hands as soon as possible. But if a customer learns in the checkout that the delivery time is relatively long or longer than with another company that offers the product, he cancels and possibly switches there. Especially before holidays, the delivery time can become a decisive criterion.

Soft Facts: Ease of Use

In addition to terms and conditions, "soft facts" such as usability and the presentation of the online store are very often reasons why customers abandon a purchase. It is important to ensure clear communication in this respect.

4. Take the customer by the hand

The overriding rule is to avoid confusion and operating problems. The checkout process should take the user by the hand at all times. It is advantageous to clearly communicate at which point what needs to be done. Ideally, the design is modern and appealing but not distracting.

5. A clear flow

For clarity, it is a good idea to display a progress bar, for example. There, the customer can see on the one hand how long the process will take and on the other hand what he has already completed. It is important that the steps do not take too long. With a display of the various checkout categories, the customer can also quickly switch areas if something needs to be corrected. As a rule of thumb, the process should consist of a maximum of five steps. This type of checkout is known as checkout tunneling, whereas the opposite, i.e. requesting all the necessary data at once, is known as one-page checkout. The latter can lead to information overload for the customer.

6. Only the necessary data

The most annoying part of an online order for customers is entering the data into the forms. Prospective buyers often bail out at the last second because too much personal data is requested. It therefore makes sense for store operators to think carefully about which and how much data is really needed. In addition, the reason for the data request can be stated, e.g. entering an e-mail address to inform about the order status, etc. Remedy with new customers can also create the possibility to make a purchase as a guest. After all, not every new customer wants to register (for the first order). Another convenience for customers is also the support of the auto-complete function. With the appropriate designation of the form fields, this function of the browser can be activated, for example, for the address and other contact data. This significantly speeds up the process of entering data.

7. Leave nothing unclear

Even in optimized online stores, it can happen that a customer is unclear about something or is stuck. It is also possible that he still has a question about his product choice. If he doesn't get help in a convenient way at this moment, he may decide not to buy. For this reason, contact options should be clearly visible. Ideally, this should be a tool that enables an immediate response. This could be a live chat or providing a phone number.

8. Avoid distractions

In the process of checkout, a buyer is supposed to concentrate entirely on the purchase of his selected products. Therefore, care should be taken not to distract him with advertisements or the like. If he is led to another page, he may not come back. After the checkout, however, advertising banners or cross-selling offers can be quite useful.

9. Technology up to scratch

The basic requirement for a website, which is sometimes lost sight of in everyday work, is that the technology is working properly. If there is a malfunction during checkout - for example, the website crashes - or something doesn't work, such as a button, it is not possible for the customer to complete the payment process. He may also not feel like re-entering data. For this reason, one's own website should be regularly tested for functionality and, if necessary, contact should be sought with the developer. Another fundamental requirement is to be able to purchase products on all end devices. Smartphones and apps are used particularly frequently for this purpose. Here, it must be checked whether the user experience of the online store can be used intuitively with all end devices.

10. Use all possibilities for trust

Another way to create trust with the customer is to integrate so-called trust elements. The checkout area is a good place for seals of approval, for example. This can also underpin the seriousness of the online store.

The following therefore applies: good purchase conditions or a user-friendly checkout process alone are usually not enough for successful sales in the online store. The most promising is the combination of a successful customer journey and the purchase conditions.

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