The e-commerce world is only getting more competitive. Setting up an online storefront and selling products and services directly to customers is easy to do these days, especially with CMS platforms like WordPress and Joomla being easy to use, with many e-commerce plugins available for them.
The competitive market means there is little room for errors. Ensuring a smooth user experience and a pleasant customer journey is one of the ways you can take your online store to success. Customers can go all the way to the checkout page and then decide to abandon their carts because of the slightest disruption in the user experience.
Dropped carts and incomplete purchases are exactly the kinds of problems you want to avoid. They are reducing the return you make on your digital marketing investments by a substantial margin.
There are several common e-commerce mistakes that you need to avoid to win more sales, and we are going to review them – and how to fix those mistakes – in this article.
No Mobile Checkout
Even when you are targeting users who generally use desktop computers and laptops, having a mobile-optimised checkout page is still a must. More than 60% of today’s internet users rely on their mobile devices for accessing online stores and websites in general. Failing to optimise the checkout page for mobile users is a big mistake you cannot afford to make.
This is an easy mistake to fix, especially when you consider that the rest of the site must also be mobile-friendly to create the biggest splash on the market. Pay closer attention to the checkout page when optimising your site for mobile users and make sure the whole customer experience remains enjoyable and consistent, even when accessed using low- to mid-end mobile devices.
Slow Loading Checkout Page
Another common mistake when it comes to e-commerce checkout is a slow loading time. While this is a common mistake many site owners still make, it is also a mistake you cannot afford to make in a market as competitive as it is today.
Slow loading times mean customers need to wait longer to be able to complete their purchases. That waiting time could lead to the customers getting distracted. It could even lead to something worse: the customers losing interest because the page doesn’t load quickly enough.
What you need is a server capable of delivering your e-commerce site quickly and correctly every time. Invest more time (and money) into choosing a good web hosting service. A cloud-based hosting backed by a good internet backbone and fast storage options is the solution you need.
Lack of Form Validation
On-the-fly form validation is more of a necessity than an option. The worst thing you can do with your checkout form is not providing sufficient form validation. Imagine going through a long checkout form, hitting the Submit or Checkout button, and returning to the same page to find errors in some fields. Isn’t it annoying?
Form validation needs to be handled delicately. You want to provide clear and sufficient warnings as users fill out your checkout form, but you don’t want the warnings to come up too soon either. A good way to set up your form validation is letting the validation run once users move on to the next field.
This approach offers the best balance between good customer experience and a smooth user experience. Users can easily see if they made mistakes filling the checkout form before hitting the Submit button, but they will not be annoyed by warnings coming up before finishing the field and moving on to the next one.
Insufficient Shipping Information
Shipping is a big part of the e-commerce experience. Users expect to see multiple shipping options and the costs of using them displayed clearly during – or even before – the checkout process. Unfortunately, many e-commerce sites still make mistakes when it comes to displaying and calculating shipping and handling costs.
Don’t wait until the very last minute before displaying shipping costs. Take a look at the most successful e-commerce sites today and you will notice that all of them now show shipping estimates on the product page. Customers know exactly how much it will cost to ship the products before adding them to the shopping cart.
Another big mistake to avoid is not stating your shipping limitations clearly. If you don’t ship to certain countries or you only cater to customers near you, make sure you let customers know beforehand. Having customers going all the way to the checkout page only to find that the products cannot be shipped to them is bad for business.
Overly Complicated Checkout
We know how tempting it is to get as much customer information as possible during the checkout process. After all, customers are inclined to provide those details, so their purchases can be processed. However, this is exactly the kind of temptation that you need to avoid, simply because it only leads to another big e-commerce checkout mistake.
Make your checkout process too complicated and you will lose customers faster than you can anticipate. Anything beyond a three-step checkout process is unacceptable. Some e-commerce sites now try to shorten and simplify their checkout process so that they can substantially reduce dropped carts; it is a strategy that works.
What you want is a checkout process that can be completed quickly. A one-page checkout process is ideal; a two-step one is the norm these days. There is a time for gathering customer information and further details about them, but the checkout process is NOT that time.
Don’t Forget Guest Checkout!
Sticking with the checkout process, you also want to allow customers to make purchases as guests. We know. We know. Having them sign up for an account is better, isn’t it? Yes, but only if you make creating an account an option and not mandatory.
Instead of forcing potential customers to sign up, add a checkbox that allows customers to automatically create an account. Again, registering should be an option and not mandatory. Customers who really plan to make future purchases will definitely choose to create an account. You are building a stronger user base and you will not lose sales in the process.
So, do you still make the common e-commerce checkout mistakes we discussed in this article? If the answer is a YES, then you need to start fixing those mistakes immediately. Use the tips and insights we covered in this article to further refine your checkout process and take your e-commerce business a step further.