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A Simple Recipe to Improve Conversion

Posted By Melissa Burdon On May 18, 2007 @ 9:21 am In Articles,Customer Experience,Improving Conversion | 15 Comments

cooking_class.jpg [1]Have you looked at the drop-off rates from your lead-generation forms or shopping cart recently? Do you ever wonder why visitors who enter your conversion process, who seem ready to convert, end up dropping off?

Way too often, we come across websites with an extensive and very difficult checkout. As a customer, how many times have you had to jump through extra hoops just to give your credit card info and receive confirmation that your order has been processed? Too many to count, right?

The more barriers that your visitor faces throughout his checkout process, the more likely you’re going to lose the opportunity to make a sale or generate a lead.

I ran into checkout stumbling blocks this morning while I was signing up for a cooking class online at SurLaTable.com [2]. Sure, it’s a nice-looking site, but I had to jump through hoops–seven steps in all–and it felt like work, just figuring out how to finalize the sale. If I weren’t so web savvy, I’m sure I’d have given up.

Here are some tips for an easy checkout, regardless of what you’ve got cooking online:

1) Just a Dash of Information: Only ask for information you absolutely require in order to process and order to gain a lead. The more you ask a visitor to fill out, the more frustrating the experience. Remember, you can always ask for more information after they have become a sale and/or lead… but do yourselves a favor and get that credit card info first!

2) A Nice Required Field Reduction: Compile as many fields into a single page as possible above the fold without overwhelming the visitor. When I was signing up for the cooking class, I ran into several different pages that only presented one single field for me to fill out, requiring me to click on a button each time to move forward throughout checkout. Every time you make the visitor click to move forward, you’re presenting an opportunity to lose them.

3) Share Your Recipe with Others: Give your visitors a status indicator to tell him where he located within his checkout process so that he has some idea of how long this process is going to take and how many steps are involved.

4) Chill Before Serving: Don’t make me sign-up with a username and password before I convert; this simply presents another opportunity to drop off. Once you have my credit card info, or whenever I’ve officially become a customer or lead, you can give me a confirmation page or an email with a form that lets me enter a username or password–but not sooner. The “get the cash” first rule still applies, even if it’s my own.

People come to your site hoping to find whatever it is they’re looking for. So, be sure to use fresh ingredients and remember: everything tastes better in moderation.

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URL to article: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2007/05/18/a-simple-recipe-to-improve-conversion/

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[1] Image: http://www.grokdotcom.com/wp-content/uploads/Melissa/cooking_class.jpg

[2] SurLaTable.com: http://www.surlatable.com/category/culinary.do

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