Improving website user experience (UX) is a continuous process, as technology, product interests, and consumer behavior is constantly evolving. To get it right, marketers analyze every aspect of their customers’ journey to pinpoint areas to reduce friction and improve the digital experience. In fact, The CMO Survey found that 54% of Marketers focused on improving the customer experience throughout COVID-19.
Today’s customers expect to find products or information on a website quickly and without error, and simple irritants will cause them to click away to an alternative. Taking painstaking care to improve and elevate customers’ experience at every touchpoint is critical – a single bad web experience makes visitors 88% less likely to return (Equation Research).
If you’re overwhelmed by the endless customer experience challenge, one e-commerce area for immediate gratification and improved conversions and revenue is the shopping cart and checkout process. It is a pivotal moment for your customer and business: they’re eager to buy; emotions and urgency are high. It’s also prone for abandonment – Statista found that 88% percent of online shopping orders were abandoned.
Reduce abandonment and recoup lost sales by improving your customers’ cart experience. We’re sharing four optimizations to reduce friction and capture revenue.
1. Secret Shop Your Cart Experience
First, take a literal walk in your customers’ shoes – secret shop the cart experience.
Have team members add-an-item to the cart and walk through every step of the checkout process, identifying areas where a customer may grow frustrated. Take note of the number of steps you’re requiring customers to take to complete the checkout from start to finish. Identify areas you can reduce the steps, or consolidate the information into fewer fields or webpages, to streamline and expedite the process.
Measure the webpage load time, as a slow loading web experience guarantees an increase in customer churn and cart abandonment. Take note of any broken weblinks or images – a quick fix you can make immediately. Think through the information your customers’ need – are shipping costs and delivery times clear? Are there any hidden costs added at the end that may turn off customers and dissuade them from completing their purchase?
Take this a step farther with usability testing. Tools like Mouseflow record users’ interactions across your website, and pinpoint areas of confusion or abandonment. They’ll reveal areas of your cart experience that you thought were straightforward, but users are confused and not taking the steps you’d anticipated. Mouseflow may reveal important calls-to-action being ignored, users not scrolling past set points of a page, or where they get frustrated in the cart process.
This data tells you what to fix, fast, to ensure users have a clear and direct experience from browse to buy.
2. Improve Clarity and Transparency
Particularly for new customers, the shopping cart process can be fraught with indecision. You can put your customers at ease by using messaging and visuals to make the cart simple, intuitive, and trustworthy.
Visual cues and imagery enhance the shopping cart experience and help users interact without frustration. Add thumbnails of cart products, so users remain motivated and excited by the products they’re purchasing. User interface (UI) elements, like buttons or editable fields, should be prominent and in an on-brand, actionable color. If possible, put the checkout button both at the top and bottom of the page, or make it sticky, so it’s always in view and users never have to look for it.
Make quantity fields editable, so users can add or delete items, without leaving the page. The flexibility to easily modify cart items places customers in greater control of the cart. Add popular security seals, like Verisign and BizRate, to cement credibility and security, and put shoppers at ease.
Use visual indicators to measure progress, so users know how many steps or pages are left to complete the purchase. Also, double check any error messaging (like a required field that needs to be completed), to ensure copy is helpful and clear. (Nothing is more irritating than trying to complete a purchase and the checkout won’t submit!)
Finally, provide a summary of users’ order to check and confirm. This summary should include the items and quantities in the cart, the price, product customizations like colors or size, shipping costs and expectations, taxes, discounts applied, and the total cost.
After the customer completes their purchase, offer to email or print an order summary for safekeeping. Include links to returns or customer service if they have any questions. Anticipate their needs or future frictions and provide the information necessary to make it a smooth one.
3. Elevate the Shopping Cart Experience
Once you’ve identified frustrations and improved transparency, take a look at how you can make the shopping cart experience better for your customers (and more lucrative for your business).
Streamline the cart experience by autofilling known information, like the customers’ address and billing information. Autofilling reduces the manual steps the customer must take to checkout, expediting the process and increasing the likelihood they complete their purchase.
Add product recommendations to motivate last-minute purchases and increase average order value. For B2B customers restocking inventory or consumer goods likely to be repeat purchases (like groceries or beauty products) add a “Recent Orders” content section that makes it easy for users to reorder.
For new visitors, use AI-algorithms to show personalized items that complement the products already in their cart or popular best sellers. Personalization can be based on website interactions (such as order history) visitor profiles, and intelligent algorithms to suggest products of interest. Even better? These algorithms continuously analyze actions and results, getting smarter over time and more likely to return the most compelling items for each user. Like the candy aisle at the grocery store, product recommendations drive impulse purchases and help users discover products they may have overlooked.
Consider adding consumer-friendly payment methods, like PayPal or Apple Pay. These services make it easier for customers to buy from you, without needing to pull out their credit card. They are credible and secure, improving users’ confidence that they can order without worry.
4. Tie in Marketing
Even with the best UX, cart abandonment happens. Savvy marketers don’t view cart abandonment as a total lost, but an opportunity to re-engage and recoup lost revenue.
Abandoned cart emails are commonplace, but effective. Users were motivated enough to add your products to the cart, sometimes, a highly effective abandoned cart email is exactly what is needed to send that user over the finish line. Elevate your abandoned cart emails by adding imagery of the abandoned items, to remind the recipient of what interested them in the first place.
Add product recommendations to re-engage them around a complimentary or similar product, in case the original item has lost luster. If you have the margins available, add an incentive or discount to encourage recipients to return to the website and complete their cart.
Retargeting ads via social and pay-per-click advertising are another effective way to entice visitors to return and complete their purchase. These ads can display the abandoned products to drive repeat traffic, and later, can change to other items that customer may want to re-engage them with your brand. These personalized and targeting campaigns are an important part of every integrated digital strategy.
Reduce Cart Confusion and Abandonment
Paying close attention to your abandonment data, bounce rates, user feedback, and user testing, are all ways you can incrementally improve the UX. Return to your shopping cart experience regularly to see how you can reduce friction and elevate engagement.
Always strive for simple, clear, concise, and compelling, while looking for unobtrusive ways to increase average order value. Then, if abandonment happens anyway, employ email and pay-per-click advertising to re-engage cart abandoners and recoup lost revenue.