Ecommerce Design Tips: How to design a sucessful checkout process

Here are a couple of nifty concepts that will help you define a successful checkout process:
1. Tell them what are they doing and what they should expect next
Best designs are the ones which guide your customers through the entire process. You typically will mention all the steps involved in the transaction and then tell customers which step they are in (and what they can expect later).
2. I need more Information…
Is there anyway customers can reach you? Does your ‘About’ page talks about your address/support phone number? How do you expect customers to put their money on your service, when you do not seem to be approachable.
3. Product Information
Do you give away complete product inforation? Do you show them the correct price (Indian OTAs: are you listening?) ? What about shipping price – do you want to surprise your customers at the end of the checkout process with an inflated shipping price?
In general, visually appealing information helps users in making a decision – but the crux is showing accurate and updated data.
4. Delivery Mechanism
How and when will the product be delivered? Do I need to take a print out of the invoice or the sms coupon is good enough? Come out clearly on the last mile statement.
It’s the last mile where customers abandon you.

To summarize, typical checkout information should have
• Final Price – No mismatch between the one you showed earlier and the final price.
• Delivery details
• Billing details – for instance, if you have paid by Paypal and your account isn’t verified, how much time will it take to accept the payment?
• Any special instructions
5. Secured Seal?
Show them the secured seal prominently and reaffirm the customer’s notion that it’s alright to do business with your site.
6. Are you incorporating discount offers/coupons?
So you have a biigg discount coupon text box on your site – do you know how it can hurt those who do not have the coupon?
They hit Google and search for either a discount coupon, ask their friends for the same; or most probably, look for another service who are selling at a cheaper price than you.
Do not let your customers feel that they are paying a ‘higher’ price for the product/service while others are paying lesser – learn a lesson from Google Adwords flow where coupon code is embedded ‘somewhere’ and is only meant for those who have one!.
7. Too many mandatory fields? If everything is mandatory, then…
Simplest of all, but this needs major thinking. If you are asking customers to fill in a long list of information like billing/shipping address, email, phone blah, you just aren’t using the information customer has already shared with you.
8. Refund Policy?
Do you have one? If not, how will customer refund your product/service.
All time Stupidity:
Couple of things which are a serious no-no:
• Different logins for website and the support site.
Believe it or not – some sites do (like answerable.com) and the whole experience sucks so badly that you will regret doing business with them (like I do).
• Running adsense or other ads on your ecommerce site.
Only kids do it.
• Live chat always offline?
Most of the smaller ecommerce sites pay a lip-service to live chat. The service is offline, when you need it the most.
• Automated support
While it’s important to automate the support, it’s equally important to understand the context of customer query. How many ecommerce sites are able to do that?
Of course, one needs to keep the entire checkout process simple and intuitive, but the most important factor is to make the entire process as intuitive as buying stuff from a shopping mall.
What’s your opinion?
Source: pluggd.in

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