6 Steps to Prevent People from Checking Out of your Check-Out Process

shopping cart for websitesIt’s the Internet, and we’ve all got tiny attention spans. There are cat videos that need watching, after all. That’s why if you have an e-commerce site it’s vitally important to get customers all the way through your check-out process as quickly and painlessly as possible. You’ve already done the heavy lifting—through your search engine marketing they’ve reached your site and put something in their cart. If they get away now, well…that’s just bad planning.

Here are 6 things you can do to help ensure that your visitors follow through on the buying process:

  • Don’t make people create an account in order to check out.
    Some people simply aren’t comfortable with giving out all their personal information simply to buy something. Here’s the thing, though—they’re already giving you all the information anyway. By all means, give them the option; something like “If you want to save all this information to make it easier next time, just enter a password.” But requiring an account is most likely going to cost you sales, pure and simple. And it’s not going to give you any customer information you won’t already be getting.
  • Pre-populate fields whenever you can.
    If someone is a return customer, does have an account, and is logged in, don’t make them enter in information that you could be filling in for them. This is the whole reason people create accounts, after all—to streamline their check-out process. By not pre-populating fields like name and address, you could frustrate your customers.
  • Have a “check out now” button prominently displayed as soon as someone adds something to their cart.
    Sure, they may want to shop some more, and that’s okay (and perhaps preferable), too. They don’t have to click the button right then. But they had better have the option.
  • Let people know where they are in the process.
    Display, at the top each page, what step number they are on out of the total number of steps in the check-out process (e.g. “Step 2 of 4”). And a shorter process is better than a longer one, because above all you want to make it easy for people to check out.
  • Keep it simple.
    Checking out should be as mindless as possible. At this point, the last thing you want is people having to think. Because they might think about how they don’t really need to buy anything after all.
  • Make it hard to get out of the check-out process.
    Once they are in that pipeline, remove any distractions. Amazon does this very well. While you can get back to shopping there while checking out, it’s not easy. You want to make the easiest course of action be checking out. People like easy.

Keep these ideas in mind when designing your check-out process. It’s an integral part of optimizing conversions on your web site, and an area where too many e-commerce sites don’t seem to put in nearly enough thought.