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How is your mobile and web checkout affecting your customer experience?

e-commerce checkout CX

In 2007, Apple redefined the retail experience when it removed checkout counters from its stores in favor of arming its on-floor customer experience (CX) representatives with portable point-of-sale systems. It was an innovative move that differentiated the brand while also eliminating the long lines that had begun to snake around the sales floor — exactly the sort of thing that deters customers from checking out.

Right now, eCommerce brands are sitting at a similar tipping point. With the pandemic seeing brick-and-mortars intermittently close throughout 2020 and into 2021, both seasoned and new online shoppers have begun relying more heavily on e-retail. According to Shopify’s 2020 report on the future of eCommerce, its penetration in the U.S. saw 10 years’ growth during the first three months of the pandemic.

Despite this exponential growth and most consumers’ familiarity with online and mobile shopping platforms, the checkout process continues to be rife with pain points.

“The greatest threat — and one of the greatest threats for the past two or three years — is still this user experience baseline,” Christian Holst, co-founder of the Baymard Institute, told Shopify. According to aggregated research from his organization specializing in studying online experiences, two-thirds of consumers are still abandoning cart purchases.

Online and mobile checkout processes are due for an infusion of innovation and efficiency. Here are four ways your eCommerce checkout on mobile and web could be affecting your customer experience and negatively impacting your sales.

1. Your website is difficult to navigate

When visiting your site, the average consumer is going to expect digital commerce to mirror their in-store experience, especially when they know what they’re looking for. According to another study from Shopify, 40% of buyers say an easy-to-navigate website positively impacts their online shopping experience.

Getting from cart to checkout should be streamlined and logical, not complicated. And yet, research from the Baymard Institute found only 58% of the top-grossing eCommerce sites in Europe and the U.S. have a “good” or “acceptable” checkout user experience.

Creating a great experience at this key juncture of the customer journey means striking a balance between getting the customer through to checkout, and giving them incentives to engage more with your products or services. Heavy-handed upselling or add-on purchases can push consumers away or complicate the process. Moreover, slow loading or clunky mobile sites can deter purchases. Whether your customer is on a mobile device or a computer, a smooth cart-to-checkout transition can help offset cart abandonment.

2. You’re making your customers set up an account to buy

At the advent of eCommerce, it was a given that making an online purchase required an account. Now, creating an account is a deterrent. According to data from lead generation software provider OptinMonster, 34% of shoppers abandon carts because there is no guest checkout option.

That means making the “purchase as a guest” option just as visible as the “register” button. While it may seem counterintuitive to forgo collecting a consumer’s information at checkout, having a guest option shows the consumer you value their business more than you value their data — and ultimately, that trust can keep them coming back.

3. Your payment options aren’t up to date

Consumers want a variety of options for payment from accepting debit and credit cards, to digital wallets like Apple Pay or Google Pay, to payment plans for big-ticket items. It’s easy for a consumer to walk away from a purchase if they don’t see their preferred method, so offering as many payment options as possible certainly casts a wider net.

But another hang-up is the payment process itself. As consumers are becoming more comfortable with saving credit card data into their browsers and phones, it’s essential for retailers to make sure the fields they’re using for their credit card data have a standard format that matches the autofill feature of common browsers. In other words, you don’t want your customer frustrated that their credit card isn’t working because the expiry date from their autofill doesn’t match the expiry date format to complete the purchase.

And above all, ensure your payment process is just as easy and streamlined on mobile as it is on the web. According to SalesCycle’s 2020 eCommerce stats report, while 65% of visits to eCommerce sites were from mobile devices, just 53% of sales were completed there, which could mean shoppers are finding it easier to make purchases on their desktops.

4. Your shipping plans and options are deterring your customers

Shipping is a serious pain point for eCommerce shoppers. More than half (55%) of those surveyed by OptinMonster say they’ve abandoned carts because of unexpected shipping costs, taxes or fees.

But offering free shipping to customers on the company dime isn’t feasible for all businesses. So, rather than offering “free” shipping, why not use it as an opportunity to deliver a great experience by creating more choices for your customer?

Flat-rate shipping — where you take your average shipping cost and round it up slightly to help even out the cost of shipping across your customers — can be the next best thing to free shipping. Some consumers will pay more and some will pay less, but if you’re transparent about these costs, the customer knows what to expect. As well, having a buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) option also enables local customers to skirt the costs of shipping, making the purchase more attractive to them.

In the end, it’s all about giving your customers options.

A good digital experience is a streamlined experience

The unifying thread among checkout pain points is a lack of being streamlined. The smoother the customers’ experience is, the more likely they are to build a longer-term relationship with your brand.

How you communicate with your customers is key to this relationship. The process should feel intuitive. And if any questions arise, the customer should be able to get a quick answer through a chatbot or live agent.

The global pandemic has given new weight to the importance of digital experiences for customers. For eCommerce, that means a whole new segment of first-time buyers. But the journey to converting those into long-term customers starts with getting them through the mobile or web checkout.

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