According to recent e-commerce reports, more than half of potential customers simply leave a website with items in their online shopping carts. MarketLive reported 62 percent, SeeWhy listed 83 percent and MarketingSherpa said 59.8 percent.
A plan was put in place by Smashing Magazine two years ago to determine if e-commerce sites are making some fundamental mistakes in the web design, guidelines or rules that were making it difficult for customers to purchase their items. A usability study was established to strictly focus on what the consumer's perception was at checkout.
From the cart to the completed order, how was their entire experience. Using a “think aloud” protocol, information from the computer screen was documented and notes regarding the subject’s behavior was then analyzed later.
In all, test subjects accessed 15 e-commerce sites and were given approximately 500 scenarios to test theories of what entices and deters shoppers en route to their final purchases. For starters, checkout processes need to be linear. When there are steps within steps, this can confuse even the savviest of online shoppers. The good news is streamlining is easy.
When it comes to form field labels, use descriptions. Without them these fields can be a bit ambiguous. During the testing, many users found this area to be the most troublesome and a clear reason many abandoned their shopping carts. E-commerce sites should provide a clear explanation for fields using short descriptions or even examples next to each label.
E-commerce sites should also avoid contextual words like “continue” or “back” and visually reinforce any sensitive information fields clearly on the payment page. In today's world of identity theft and hackers, customers want to know that their credit card information is secure and safe, even if there is no real safety component enforced on the site.
Overall, the study showed that website creators need to be clear, precise and remove any and all confusion for the customer. Don't assume that the user is not intelligent but cater to all age levels and education levels. Using one columns for different fields and removing the “apply” button is a quick fix for eliminating confusion.
If a customer manages to survive the site and is almost finished, to be toppled with more confusion, the deal is gone. Shipping information should always be set as the default for the billing address, which gives the customer the option of changing that particular information. And last, but not least, is to really take care of error indicators. Test subjects found understanding error messages on several e-commerce sites a big deterrent to continue their shopping.
Quick ways to optimize your shopping cart for increased conversion:
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