"Here is the harsh reality of e-commerce websites: according to recent e-commerce studies, at least 59.8% of potential customers abandon their shopping cart (MarketingSherpa puts it at 59.8%, SeeWhy at 83% and MarketLive at 62.14%). The main question is why do customers abandon their shopping cart so often?"
Fundamental Guidelines Of E-Commerce Checkout Design condenses a large study into usability into 11 really useful guidelines to make your checkout experience much more likely to convert.
Here's a condensed, tl;dr version:
But I totally recommend reading the whole thing - it's not that long and chock full of useful insights
- 1. Your Checkout Process Should Be Completely Linear
- Non-linear "steps within steps" confuse people
- 2. Add Descriptions To Form Field Labels
- Just because it's obvious to you what it means, doesn't mean it is to somebody else. be unambiguous
- 3. Avoid Contextual Words Like “Continue”
- continue... shopping? or continue... on to the next step. Also don't use "back" or "proceed"
- 4. Visually Reinforce All Sensitive Fields On The Payment Page
- People are leery of putting their CC details into a page that looks thrown together
- 5. Don’t Use An “Apply” Button In Your Form
- it's often not pressed, even when necessary, or mistaken for the main form-submit. use AJAX instead
- 6. Format Field For Expiration Date Exactly As It Appears On Credit Card
- needs no explanation
- 7. Use Only One Column For Form Fields
- multiple, competing interpretations are present for multi-column pages -> all necessary or alternatives?
- 8. Use Shipping Address As Billing Address By Default
- dammit, make people's lives easier, not more difficult. most people ship and bill to the same address
- 9. Use Clear Error Indications
- you'll just have to see the article to get a plethora of ideas of what not to to here
- 10. Registration Should Be Optional
- yes, a thousand times yes! I don't need to register with your company if I buy something from a bricks+mortar store, why force me to online?
- 11. Don’t Require Seemingly Unnecessary Information
- I don't want to be spammed by you, don't force me to give you fake data it'll only hurt both of us
The study found that all of these things led to people abandoning their shopping carts before converting... so they're worth looking into even if you don't care about people and just want to improve your bottom line. but hey, you could also improve people's lives and make their experiences less confusing, less frustrating and smoother. and isn't that what technology is meant to be for?