It was a couple days away from Christmas, and luckily I’d bought all my gifts. However, instead of visiting stores for my gift shopping, I’d done most of my shopping online. I’m one of those 20-somethings you could call a millennial, and like a lot of my peers, I prefer online shopping for a few reasons:
- I know I’ll find exactly what I’m looking for with a simple online search.
- It’s easy to discover crazy new products catering to my niche interests.
- I can get all my shopping done in my pajamas while binge-watching Breaking Bad.
So after giving my credit card information to a ton of sites and browsing the products of many more, there are a few things that I noticed that can make online shopping a worse experience than going to the store.
Does your e-commerce store do any of these things?
Annoying: Making me re-enter my billing address when it’s the same as shipping
Most of the time, I have gifts shipped to my address. I like to wrap presents myself, and sometimes there’s something cool that I have shipped in the same order that I wanted to keep for myself. So once I’ve entered my address once, why do some websites make me enter it again? Most e-commerce sites now have an option I can click to say the address is the same. If that’s not an option on your site, check with your shopping cart provider to see if you can make it one.
Annoying: Adding shipping costs to the total after I’ve entered my credit card information
At a retail store, when you’re told the total of your purchase and hand over your payment, that’s the end of the transaction. Online, once I’ve entered my payment information, I often find that the total I was told wasn’t the full price, because shipping costs are added afterwards. This makes me feel trapped—you already have my information, so I feel like I’m unable to leave the transaction even if I can’t afford the final price.
Calculate the shipping once the address is given (or have an upfront flat shipping fee) and don’t ask for payment until your customer knows all the costs. Sure, I might finish the transaction anyways, but doing this is guaranteeing I will never be a repeat customer.
Annoying: Asking me to create an account to purchase
I honestly don’t understand why any online shopping website does this. Data shows that 30% of users will abandon their shopping cart if they’re asked to log in to make a purchase, and for the other 70%, we’re really annoyed by it. If I can find your product on a website that doesn’t require more information from me, then I’m going there instead. You might be looking to gain more data and insight on your customer database, but to your customers, you’re asking us to create a password we’ll never remember and accept emails promoting products we don’t want long after we’ve made this purchase.
Annoying: The checkout URL does not start with ‘https’
I’m an internet-savvy person, and so are most people I know. So when a website asks me to put personal information on a page that is not secure, there are all sorts of alarms going off in my head. The biggest notification of this is whether the URL for the page starts with ‘http’ or ‘https.’ If it’s http, and not secure, my browser will likely warn me if I don’t catch it myself. Secure SSL processing should be the most basic security feature your website provides. If your checkout page isn’t secure, then I’m hitting backspace 100% of the time and warning my friends to stay away. Don’t make this mistake!
Awesome: Email newsletters with coupons and suggestions
If I like your website enough to sign up for an email newsletter, you should be taking advantage of that! It makes my shopping easier when I get an email advertising the perfect gift for Mom or Dad, or showing what I can get for free right now with rewards points. Can you offer a coupon code, or show me sale prices? Even better—like most of my peers, I’m always looking for the best way to stretch a dollar.
Make the title of your email interesting by telling me what discount I can get or what special product is being offered, and I’m much less likely to quit. Maybe I didn’t even know I wanted to buy X, but when it’s 20% off or free shipping, I definitely do!
It’s not too late!
The Christmas shopping season is over, but it’s not too late to take a look at your e-commerce website’s checkout process. Figure out where your customers are leaving and see if you’re unintentionally causing an annoyance. If you find you need to switch online shopping cart providers to provide better service, Instabill can help you choose a shopping cart provider that fits your e-commerce store’s needs. A smooth checkout process makes your customers happy, and happy customers will come back again and again!