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It’s an ever-increasing problem in the world of e-commerce …

Businesses design excellent products and successfully attract large numbers to their website, but still struggle to achieve the revenue they would like. Usually the key ingredient that is missing is an effective e-commerce checkout experience.

An excellent checkout process can truly make your brand, and unfortunately an unsuccessful one can break it. Avoid these all-too-common mistakes in your business’ checkout process.

1) Requiring Users to Create an Account

At some point, you are going to have a customer who is excited to buy your product but not quite ready to commit to registering their information to create an account.

Maybe this customer is short on time in that moment, or perhaps the customer is worried about receiving too many emails after registration. Either way, you don’t want to lose that sale by requiring account registration before a purchase.

It might seem counterintuitive to let users skip the account registration process because it is beneficial to grow your number of registered users, however, nearly a third of people who abandon their shopping carts say it is because sites want them to create an account. That’s a lot of potential sales left on the table because of this easily avoidable mistake

It’s important to give customers options.

Have a clearly visible guest checkout option, allowing those who are uninterested in registering an account to still complete the purchase. At the end of the checkout process, offer the option to save the customer’s information. If your customer has had a good experience, chances are high that they will agree to share their information with you after all.

2) Asking for Way too Much Information

At any given moment, there are hundreds of things competing for your customers’ time. One of the most detrimental mistakes you can make is asking for too much time from the people interested in your product. The more time required during the check-out process, the more likely customers are to be lost to other distractions during the critical moment of purchase.

Far too many websites require more information from their customers than is completely necessary. This makes checking-out a tedious process as customers have to repeatedly type out shipping addresses, billing addresses, phone numbers, emails, credit card info, and more.

Carefully look at the information you ask your customers to give during checkout and determine if every part of it is absolutely necessary. If there is anything that can be eliminated, do it! Your customers will appreciate the time they save.

There will be some information you have to obtain, even if it is tedious. If the product is being shipped, of course you need an address. You can minimize time spent filling out the vital info by allowing auto fill responses.

Information such as shipping addresses and email addresses are saved in many people’s web browsers. Make sure your website settings allow for auto fill to be used, and your customers will be grateful.

3) A Lengthy, Complicated Checkout Page

It should be one of your top priorities to not confuse your customer. Not only will you lose a sale, but a confused customer is unlikely to revisit your brand in the future. To keep customers feeling positive about your brand, your checkout page should be short and simple.

Single page checkout is one of the easiest ways to simplify the checkout process. There’s little chance for confusion because there is only one step. People visiting your site on a mobile device especially appreciate this method, as mobile devices often add extra time for page loading. With only one page to load, there is lower chance of frustrating wait times.

If you choose not to do a single page checkout system, you should at least include a progress bar to keep customers informed as they move through the checkout process.

A progress bar shows customers how many steps have been completed and how many are still left until the checkout process is complete. No one likes to be unclear as to how much time they are going to have to spend on a task. The progress bar can eliminate the uncertainty.

4) Causing Anxiety About Security

With frequent news stories about hacked websites and exposed sensitive information, it is understandable that people are anxious to protect their information. Unfortunately, the e-commerce checkout process has been known to increase anxiety related to this issue.

Payment security concerns are a frequent reason customers abandon their potential purchases. Because of this, it is vital to reassure customers that you are protecting their information by highlighting the security measures you are taking throughout the checkout process.

The best way to do this is to offer multiple payment method options. Your customers will likely already be familiar with their own trusted payment method. There are a variety of options, and it is important to not limit those choices for customers.

Options such as Paypal, Verified by Visa, and MasterCard Secure Code give users peace of mind, as they are able to use a brand they trust to make their purchase.

5) Surprise Costs at Checkout

A good business does not try to trick its customers. People like to know what they will be paying for before they make the purchase. It’s a bad idea to include surprise expenses at the very end of the checkout process.

According to research from the Baymard Institute, 53% of abandoned online shopping cart items are abandoned due to unexpectedly high extra costs, such as shipping, taxes, and other fees. Another 20% of people abandoned their shopping cart due to be unable to see or calculate the total order cost upfront.

Some costs are unavoidable …

You don’t have a lot of control over sales tax, and shipping expenses can be difficult to keep affordable, but eliminating any unnecessary extra fees will help build trust with your customers and leave them satisfied after checkout rather than surprised and confused. These satisfied customers are more likely to make more purchases in the future.

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