Whether you’re completely redesigning your site or working to improve it by testing and making incremental changes, don’t overlook the value of the shopping cart and checkout.
It’s interesting to notice that most everyone looks at the shopping cart and checkout as something to throw into the mix once the entire site has been designed and developed. It’s simply an afterthought to most. They spend so much time laying out the foundation of the landing pages, category and product pages, that when it comes time to finding a shopping cart solution, they just take what they can get most quickly.
At FutureNow, we start our process by looking at the buying experience that late stage visitors are going through and using data to help us understand where the stumbling blocks exist for the late stage visitor. In most cases, when we first dig into the data, we find a problem or two in the shopping cart or checkout. In a lot of cases, testing and making changes in the shopping cart and/or checkout results in an incredibly valuable win.
Recently we noticed some high exit rates in the shopping cart and checkout steps for one of our newer clients, ThePartyWorks.com. They sell complete party packs for various themed parties: plates, cups, balloons, etc. Although ThePartyWorks has some work to do to improve performance of their landing pages, category pages and product pages, the low hanging fruit is in their shopping cart and checkout. The visitors getting to the cart are ready to buy, with money in hand, so improving their experience in the cart and checkout should result in some easy wins and extra revenue for ThePartyWorks.
You probably hear about best practices on checkout pages, but I’ve seen some of these best practices work for some clients but not for others. It’s important to come up with the hypothesis for WHY something might not be working effectively (based on the data you are looking at) and then test it to take that first step towards continuous improvement.
ThePartyWorks originally featured a two step checkout process where shipping, billing and payment info was gathered on the first step and then the visitor needed to click in order to choose their shipping option on the second step.
The more times you make the visitor click in order to give you their money, the more opportunity there is to lose them. There were several stumbling blocks. One big setback was that they were asking for the visitor’s payment information before giving them the opportunity to review their order. The visitor was then asked to choose their shipping option which is a backwards way of presenting the shopping experience.
We recommended that they feature a one- page checkout instead, with reassurances, and shipping options on this one page. We helped mock this up and create an experience we believed would work more effectively to persuade the visitor to take action and place their order. This is the one page checkout they tested their original process against.
The results were strong. ThePartyWorks realized a 28.9% improvement in funnel conversion rate from shopping cart to final confirmation of an order.
Next, we’ll be focusing on how to improve the experience in their shopping cart.
Don’t underestimate the opportunity that lies in creating a strong shopping cart and checkout experience. The smartest place to invest initial optimization dollars is in the shopping cart and checkout. If you’re interested in improving the performance of your website, we can help. We’ll be able to assess where to focus optimization efforts and get the highest return on your investment the most quickly. Ask how we can help and how we can help you make more money online.