There are many pitfalls to running an eCommerce website. Making a winning eCommerce shopping experience means easy to order, fast (and free) delivery, and actually delivering what was ordered.
While the shopping experience itself may seem like the most important element of running an eCommerce business, the most attractive online store in the world won’t make up for a difficult checkout process, suboptimal shipping or inaccurate fulfillment practices. An online shopper is no more likely to buy a product once it’s in their shopping cart – the Baymard Institute lists the current online shopping cart abandonment rate at just more than 67 percent – but once it’s there, it’s your website’s job to do everything possible to make sure the product is paid for and sent out efficiently.
Worse Than Waiting in line
It may seem like there’s nothing worse than waiting in the checkout line at the end of a shopping trip. But what if the cashier asked you to fill out a 10 page form let you swipe your card or hand over some cash? Exactly. This is exactly what can drive away your customers online.
Make sure your shoppers have multiple payment options – major credit cards and PayPal are recommended, although Google’s new Wallet system is quickly gaining popularity – and that you break the process into a few simple steps.
- Personal information such as name, address, email, etc.
- Payment method and information, including billing information or PayPal login as needed.
- Shipping options, with rates and dates, as well as shipping address information.
- Confirmation, giving customers a chance to look over their order one more time.
Too many steps can make this process needlessly complicated for customers, and you can lose your sale. Requiring registration before checkout, persistent pop-ups asking for coupon codes and being forced to retype the same information several times – if a customer’s home, billing and shipping addresses are all the same, they shouldn’t have to type it three times – are more than enough to aggravate a customer into going somewhere else.
Ship It Right
Assuming your payment process is clear and easy and the client confirms their purchase, the ball is in your court.
According to Entrepreneur.com, 42 percent of online shoppers will abandon their shopping cart if the shipping time is too slow. Eighty percent stated that a free shipping option was extremely important in their shopping experience – and with the success of programs like Amazon Prime, is anyone really surprised? Your eCommerce website should be clear with shipping from the start. Offering free shipping for orders over a certain dollar amount can work to great success for simultaneously garnering higher sales (people will be inclined to order more) and lowering cart abandonment rates.
Free shipping for orders over a certain amount can increased sales! Read more: http://t.co/hPjiNzav02
— David Leonhardt (@amabaie) January 5, 2014
Choosing one shipment method for the ecommerce order fulfilment process, be it UPS, FedEx or the good old USPS, is usually the best option. However, if you intend to offer international shipping, keep that in mind when making your selection, as not all shipment services will ship everywhere you have a customer base.
A Fulfilling Experience
While half of shoppers will leave if shipping is too slow, just under one-third will never buy from a particular eCommerce site again if the order they receive is incorrect. This is where organization proves to be the most important aspect of working in eCommerce. If you mix up an order during fulfillment, chances are you’ve sent the wrong product to two customers, not just one. Yikes! Fulfillment methods need to be customized to suit your unique situation. But regardless of how you run your business, out of your home or as supplement to a brick and mortar location,you need to keep a clear inventory, and track orders using software tailored to the process.
Don’t forget that you’re offering a product; when it all comes down to it the most important thing is to make sure it gets where it needs to go quickly and efficiently. Be concise, efficient and organized, and your website will have a winning shopping experience.Written by David Leonhardt
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