5 eCommerce Checkout Mistakes That Drive Away Sales

If you thought e-commerce was simple, think again. There are a million and one things that can go wrong, even if you think you know what you’re doing. I laid out the most common e-commerce marketing mistakes in a previous post, but today I wanted to highlight a much more specific area of e-commerce mistakes with laser-like focus: the checkout page.

It’s a crying shame to lose revenue from near-customers who have made it as far as the checkout page because all of your labors amount to nothing. It’s the digital marketing equivalent of tripping at the finish line and losing the race. So today we’re going to take a closer look at five mistakes you can avoid to prevent chasing off customers at the checkout page to increase your bottom line.

Forcing Users to Take Additional Action

At a glance, it may seem like a good idea to require users to take additional action before they complete their purchase – yet it’s deceptively counter-intuitive. On the one hand, it seems like the customer has incentive to perform whatever small call to action you’ve placed in their path to completing their purchase. On the other hand, throwing up roadblocks prevents leads from clicking the almighty checkout button, which is a cardinal sin.

Forcing a user to create an account, subscribe to a mailing list or click a share button is a great way to infuriate them, and it makes you appear less reputable. Some scammy domains will appear to be legitimate websites, but force users to download a virus (like a coupon code or other gimmick) before checking out, and you don’t want to be perceived as a similar site.

Furthermore, people are more averse to handing out their phone numbers and email addresses than ever before because of the dark magic of automated marketing bots which bomb contact lists with more spam than a Hawaiian luau. Even something as simple as an email verification step will deter some portion of leads from making a purchase.

100-Step Checkout Procedures

OK, maybe “100 steps” is a gross exaggeration, but there is a lot that needs to happen behind the scenes for a secure transaction to succeed. Not only does the payment card system need to run through its own steps, but you likely have a few steps of your own like data sanitization, checking to see each field of a form is filled in and asking the user to verify and submit a purchase.

But don’t let things get out of hand. It shouldn’t be a lengthy process to get to the checkout page. Instead, you should make it as short, sweet and simple to reach as possible. The fewer steps there are, the less of a chore it will feel like to you customers. Remember that customers want to follow the path of least resistance, so you should find a way to streamline the checkout process as much as possible.

No Reputation or Credibility Logos on the Checkout Page

These days, the average user is getting pretty savvy. Sure, there are some poor unfortunate souls who don’t know their way around a web browse, but due to new generations being raised with the Internet and modern technology, most people know how to spot legitimate and trustworthy websites...as well as untrustworthy sites.

Not only do people know how to look for the padlock indicating a secure HTTPS connection, they also know what a valid certificate is. Even if a user doesn’t know what a certificate is, their web browser will throw a flag if the certificate is invalid and steer the user away from the web page. In addition to HTTPS and other security measures, you need to place seals of authenticity and certification on your checkout pages to give users the peace of mind your business is legitimate and on the up-and-up.

If you’re backed by the Better Business Bureau, then its time to toot your own horn. If you’re secured with a big brand name like McAfee or Norton, then let your customers know it! It may seem like an insignificant matter, but trust is never a small thing. These seals will help provide your customers with the assurance they won’t be the next victims of identity theft after they click the checkout button.

Too Few Payment Systems

There seems to be a never ending stream of new forms of emerging currency. Bitcoin used to be cutting edge and widely unused. But now Bitcoin has become so mainstream even big brands accept them, including Expedia, Microsoft (through the Xbox’s online game marketplace), Shopify, Paypal and more. There’s even talk of Amazon accepting Bitcoin in the near future. Furthermore, there has been an explosion of competing crypto currencies in the last few years.

I’m not saying you need to hop on the digital currency bandwagon, but accepting them would certainly appeal to a wider audience of potential customers. At the very least, you need to accommodate the vast majority of customers by accepting all the major mainstay payment systems. These days, I would even recommend considering PayPal as well.

Some say purely digital payment methods outside traditional banking systems are the way of the future. Whether or not that’s true, accepting PayPal and other purely digital forms of tender will help cast a wider net and appeal to a greater portion of your visitors.

Failing to Mention Additional Costs

Last but not least, you need to be very honest and forthcoming with your customers about the price of your product or service. Extra shipping costs, hidden fees and sales tax are a real pain in the neck and can drastically inflate the cost of the product. For instance, how many customers you do think would abandon their cart if they went to purchase a keyboard advertised for $9.99, only to find out that the shipping cost is $20.00?

Final Thoughts

By avoiding these costly ecommerce checkout mistakes you will reduce the number of customers who abandon their purchase at the final step. Plus, it will make a more pleasant user experience for everyone, which helps increase customer satisfaction. After all, it would be a tragedy to lose a purchase for a silly reason that’s easily corrected, like adding a few seals of approval on the checkout page.

About the Author:

Will Hanke owns Saint Louis' top independent Internet Marketing firm, Red Canoe Media. In addition to helping some of St Louis' most recognizable brands with their online marketing strategy, Will also is an Amazon bestselling author, speaker and teacher.

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