Out of the box the Magento checkout process does a great job, but there are certainly areas where it can be improved. Working as a freelance Magento developer, ensuring that websites I build make it as easy as possible for users to checkout is one of the most important factors of a successful online ecommerce website.
Users online are very sensitive people so putting any obstacles in their way during checkout will probably involve them shouting a few swear words and clicking the close browser button, leaving your website without spending a penny. Below I’ve listed my top 10 tips on how you can ensure that your users have the best possible user experience during checkout.
1. Enclose & Simplify Your Checkout Page
Once a customer lands on the checkout page, you can be pretty sure that the only thing they want to do is place an order with as less clicks and key pushes as possible. Enclosing & simplifying your checkout page by removing any unecessary content will make your checkout look a breeze to fill out and encourage your users to do so.
Once way some of the big boys in ecommerce do this is to strip out anything that isn’t related to the checkout process in anyway. See below a comparison between the JohnLewis.com home page and checkout page.
2. Make the checkout progress clear as day
Your customers do not enjoy checking out on your website but understand that they have to do it. Displaying clearly to the customer what stage of the checkout they are at and how far there is too go will give them the piece of mind that this isn’t a long, drawn out and painful process. Keeping steps to no more than 5 is also essential here allowing the user to clearly see there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Put yourself in the users boat for a second. If you fill out a long winded form and click the next button only to be hit with another form just as long with no indication of how far is too go, you would more likely leave due to the fact that you cant be bothered to fill out another huge form. Car insurance is a prime example of this and looking at the way Confused and MoneySupermarket are displaying there forms now would back up this tip for checkout success.
3. Clear & Precise Form Validation
It’s only human that on the off chance a user will try to move onto the next stage of your checkout without filling out a required field or not filling out valid information in specified fields such as email and telephone number. How you handle this is very important to the progress of your users during your checkout process.
If your system checks the information and finds something wrong make sure that it is clearly highlighted to the user which field has the error and an explanation to what they need to do is next. We want to help them out as best we can making their checkout experience as easy as possible. Magento handles errors ok out of the box but there is massive room for improvement here as to be honest I can’t stand the look and feel of the warning, error and success messages as well as the lovely red line that surrounds fields that need the attention of the user. It does a job but I wouldn’t say it enhances the user experience in anyway.
4. Trust, Security & Piece Of Mind
As a Magento website owner it is your responsibility to ensure that your users are safe when entering personal data into your website. Users want to know that when they submit their details, they aren’t going to be sold to a third party who will spam them 5 times a day with emails or cold call them. A simple message to promising your users that you don’t forward their details and store them securely can improve conversions.
Another thing that in my opinion is compulsory for all ecommerce websites is an SSL certificate. You will be amazed at how many clients come to me with Magento websites that have been setup to not securely display checkout pages to their customers through the use of an SSL certificate. That little padlock in the address bar will have an effect on your conversion rate so make sure its there.
Finally on this subject, displaying secure payment icons throughout your checkout process, and your website for that matter, will give users piece of mind that they are in safe hands when purchasing from y0ur website.
5. Offer Guest Checkout
My final tip for this article is a pretty simple one, offer your customers the chance to checkout as a guest. Personal details are very important to the majority of users and if they don’t have the option to choose whether or not you can save their details they will automatically think you are going to do evil things with their data. Just recently I saw a massive increase in conversions during the checkout process for one of my clients, just by turning this feature on. If only everything with Magento was that easy!
I could talk for hours about how to improve your checkout process, so if you want to hear more about how you can get more people checking out on your Magento website then why not drop me a line? Until the next time….