Six secrets to maximising ecommerce checkout success

It turns out that on average 77 per cent of customers abandon their carts on ecommerce  sites and for a whole variety of reasons. The study covered 2,000 shoppers and was conducted by eDigitalResearch in conjunction with the IMRG, the prestigious trade association for online retailing.

This is all incredibly frustrating: shoppers have found your site, they have shown interest in your products by placing them in their cart, yet they have not completed the transaction.

Secret one: Transparent delivery cost

The number one issue is delivery cost. We all know that goods have to be delivered, and that this costs money, so do shoppers. With light goods that cost little to post, the delivery cost can be wrapped up in the price. But when this is not the case, you need to be as up-front as possible. Hidden shipping costs are the leading cause of basket abandonment; they annoy shoppers and convey the feeling that you are being underhand. So the first secret is to be as transparent as possible.

Secret two: Delivery time

18 per cent of people who abandoned their carts did so because of the amount of time they would need to wait before delivery. So the secret is to make major efforts to deliver as quickly as possible. How can you streamline your order processing to shave a few hours off? This may enable a decent proportion of orders to be delivered a day earlier.

Secret three: Delivery tracking

Customers like to know what day their delivery is coming on, and this is particularly true if the time is extended. Therefore, provide real-time tracking information. If you have already committed to tighter delivery targets, telling customers pro-actively if you will miss your target will also help hugely. It’s a secret that many retailers miss.

Secret four: Be in stock

The truth is that ever higher standards in ecommerce stores have made shoppers ever less tolerant of delay. Make stock control (particularly of high turnover items) a priority. If you are out of stock, they may not just fail to buy today, they may never come back.

Secret five: Reassure on security

Even today, nearly 20 years into the ecommerce revolution, security remains a big concern for many online shoppers. You should provide reassurance on security issues by explaining your security, providing details of the company including pictures and full contact details. The secret is – don’t keep anything a secret!

Secret six: Don’t skimp on product information

When your buyer reaches checkout, you don’t want them to have any doubt that your product meets their needs. Therefore, make sure that you have sufficient factual information, high resolution images and videos. A study conducted by ecommerce retailer Ariat discovered that after viewing a product video, prospects converted at a 160% higher rate. Customers’ reviews are another potent way of improving conversion, with increases of up to 18% frequently reported.

Opportunity knocks

It is claimed that £6bn in lost business arises from abandoned carts. That’s a lot of money, and these secrets should help you to get a share.


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Chris Barling

Chris Barling co-founded ecommerce software supplier, SellerDeck (formerly Actinic Software) in 1996. He has over 30 years’ experience at the corporate end of the IT industry. He is a prolific writer for a large range of small business media and has also published three books on ecommerce.
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Chris Barling co-founded ecommerce software supplier, SellerDeck (formerly Actinic Software) in 1996. He has over 30 years’ experience at the corporate end of the IT industry. He is a prolific writer for a large range of small business media and has also published three books on ecommerce.