Shopping cart abandonment costs 75% or more of potential revenue to an online business. This article looks at ways to make your online checkout process more efficient so that customers do not drop off part-way through the checkout process.  

A previous article covered the following four points to avoid shopping cart abandonment.  

How many steps are in your checkout process?
Never do the “survey” in your checkout process
The importance of that “lock”
Speed of the pages

Let us look at some more points to minimize the shopping cart abandonment…  

About us, refund and privacy policy  

The footer in your checkout pages must have, at a minimum, links to ‘About Us’, ‘Refund Policy’ and ‘Privacy Policy’. These must link to the respective pages that describe them clearly.  

The ‘About Us’ links should give the customer a clear idea about the legitimacy of your business and include the Physical address, Business ID number (if any) Phone and Email address to contact.  

Your refund policy must state clearly and unambiguously the circumstances and methods by which you will issue a refund. Be sure that you stick precisely with what you state here.  

Your privacy policy must state the ways in which you use the information collected during the checkout process. You must make it very clear that no personal information will be passed or sold to third parties. You must also state that the customer’s email address will only be used to communicate with them on matters related to the order. An exception is if you have included an opt-in button for email newsletters and other promotions.  

Have all these links to open in a new window (target=_blank) rather than letting the user wander away from the checkout page.  

No fancy advertisements and gimmicks  

The checkout pages are not the ones to advertise your other products. Avoid all images and text linking to other products here.  

Even the “companion products” must not appear here. A good shopping cart software can be setup to recommend appropriate companion products on the “contents of your cart” page, but never on the checkout pages. Trying to persuade the customer to buy more when they are already at the checkout is likely to result in losing them altogether.  

No third party links on checkout pages  

Needless to say, checkout pages are not the place to advertise third party products and services. You do not want the customer to take a fancy at someone else’s product and go there to check it out before completing your order. Avoid placing anything – including advertisements that may bring you some revenue from click-through or impressions. A completed order for your product will be worth several times than whatever you can get from those ads.  

Full Visibility and Back links  

Back links for the customer to go back a page to double check the selection – or change it – is important. You must also show the full details of the ordered items on the current page. The top part of every checkout page must show the contents of the shopping cart. This enables the customer to have full visibility of the items ordered.  

Complete information about amounts to be charged  

The checkout page prior to going to the payment page must clearly show the full amounts payable, including shipping and handling. If the shipping charges cannot be determined before the customer enters the shipping address, then a button to calculate the shipping and re-displaying the page is a must. Never let the customer go to the payment page blindly.  

More points to follow  

There are several more points you must consider to avoid the checkout abandonment. If followed correctly, you can be assured that – with the same level of traffic to your site – the income can be at least doubled. Unfortunately, due to the length limitation of this article, I have to put the rest of the points in another article. Please watch this space for more.  

Arapaut Sivaprasad, Ph.D. is the founder of WebGenie Software (http://www.webgenie.com) and has been at the forefront of many innovative technologies in the IT sector.

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