There are a lot of aspects that you should focus on when creating your online store. You will need to consider everything carefully, from how to build a stunning website, showcase your products, guarantee the conversion rate to provide post-purchase support service. Because every single small element could affect the success of your online business significantly.
The survival of online businesses depends on a lot of factors. But more importantly, they should share the sole purpose of satisfying customers. Without customers, the existence of your business is basically meaningless. Unfortunately, the bitter fact indicates that more than 90% of online business start-ups fail in the first 100 days. Meeting the demands of customers is never an easy task. It requires a lot of time and effort to come up with the finest solutions.
Broaden your brand awareness and intrigue customers to browse your store is the first huge successful attempt that your business has already achieved. However, it’s definitely not all that you want. At the end of the day, how many percents of those browsing and add-to-carts convert to placing orders or completed purchases is what you actually care about.
- Problems most Online Businesses are Facing
- Reasons for Cart Abandonment During Checkout
- Solutions for Better Conversion Rates
- How Optimization Checkout Page Differs Between WooCommerce & Shopify
- Don’t let money slip away
Problems Most of Online Businesses Are Facing
First thing first, if you expect customers to buy your products, you should know how to lead them to your online stores. Several businesses fail in this step merely because they focused too much on the quick money. They forgot to welcome their customers to the store for browsing and convince customers of the products’ quality. Customers usually believe in what they see rather than what they’re told about how good your products are. There are many reasons you would lose customers to competitors but the following two would be the most significant.
Site performance is too slow
The first impression counts. You don’t get the second chance to make the first impression. That’s why when doing online business you need to consider carefully which hosting service to operate your online store website.
According to Forrester Research, “page must load immediately,” since nearly 60% of customers will leave a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. It’s even worse when 80% of those customers will never come back to your site. In other words, the hosting that your store is using needs to be powerful enough to handle the number of customers visiting your site, especially in peak hours.
With a slow site’s loading speed, you are losing a large number of customers in the very first step. This is a nightmare when the market is full of competitors who are just waiting for your mistake to steal your customers. Therefore, investing in a better hosting service can bring back lots of benefits in the long run.
Poor front-end visuals and design
There must be a reason why a lot of businesses spend a huge amount of money to invest in graphic designers and web designers. Just like back then, you had to pay for a decent marketing agent to arrange and display products for your stores in such a way that makes them appealing to your customers as much as possible. When switching to online businesses, the visuality of your store is the first and only thing customers would pay a lot of attention to.
Precise design with enticing color combinations will keep customers stay on your website and browse for more relevant products. According to a study, 92.6% of people agree that visuals affect their purchase decision. In the same report, within an initial 90 seconds viewing, people will make an intuitive judgment about a website or product based on its color and design.
By providing a beautiful landing page, a unique splash page, and a detailed and clear homepage, you are welcoming your potential customers with a sufficiently attractive front door. But how to show an exit door that once the potential customers walk out, they can turn into loyal customers is another question that you should find a suitable answer.
Reasons for Cart Abandonments During Checkout
After improving your website as a whole, it’s time for you to take a closer look at your checkout page. This is a decisive page. What you’ve been investing from scratch up to now can be nothing if your checkout page is not customer-friendly or in other words, ineffectual design.
Predictably, the number of cart abandonment increases continuously over the years. If you notice, the growth of cart abandonment is directly proportional to the development of smart devices, especially mobile phones. The current report from Statista reveals that in the period from 2006 to 2019, the percentage of customers around the world abandoning their carts raised gradually, in general.
Even though the percentage had dropped slightly in some years, it is still a noticeable number. The chance that your product is abandoned is over 60%. You never want this number to be that high, but it’s true, and sadly, doesn’t have any signs of dropping down.
There’re lots of reasons for this situation, fortunately Baymard Institute had conducted enormous studies of all E-commerce aspects to filter out the possibilities of why this happened in the chart below. Reasonably, all the primary reasons are coming from the unprofessional checkout page or checkout process.
Too many unnecessary steps
When customers move to the stage where they fill the checkout information, they already reach a higher level of engagement. Hence, it’s very important not to miss this opportunity. However, sometimes even without your notice, you ask a lot of questions in your checking page that aren’t meaningful to you and the customers.
Customers looking for online stores are mostly the ones that have a high expectation for simplicity and convenience. The more complicated your checkout page is designed, the higher chance customers will abandon their carts. Research from the Baymard website points out approximately 21% of people asked will leave their orders if the checkout process is too long or too complicated. It is reasonable since customers already spend a certain time on browsing. When they decide to proceed to the checkout page, it means they just want to get the products as fast as possible.
Unable checkout as guest
Another aspect that can be classified into a complicated checkout process is asking customers to create an account to place orders.
Putting information to the fields on the checkout page is already not an enjoyable process. Asking customers to fill in the account creation form isn’t different from torturing them. That’s why 30% of people refuse to continue their orders due to the account creation requirement. Not only will they have to repeat the process of providing their personal information but also it’ll take them a longer time to finish their checkout.
In addition, asking customers to become the site’s members in order to checkout makes them feel like being manipulated. When shopping online, customers tend to have full control over what sites they want to browse and purchase, or what time and how they want to buy those products. They might be interested in your website a little bit and want to purchase one item to test first. Signing up to be a member in this situation is a little too much for them since they haven’t associated with the website yet.
Hidden cost information
Some businesses even hide a few parts of the checkout process which actually shows the extra cost or the add-up cost customers have to pay at the end. Maybe you do it by chance, but sometimes, other businesses do it on purpose. This neither helps customers nor your business as well. Over 20% of customers isolate their carts if they couldn’t see the total cost up-front. If you think hiding extra cost is a brilliant strategy, then you should reconsider.
Customers might feel deceived and don’t want to continue their purchase if your website isn’t clear, especially when it relates to money. Since there are many other available alternative options for customers to choose when shopping online, you should determine what’s best to keep them stay and come back instead of leaving unpleasantly.
Unreliable payment methods
Nowadays, customers are tech savvy and they already knew that Internet criminals have increased significantly. That’s why they will judge the credibility of your website by a lot of factors. It could be brick-and-mortar history, provided contact information, customer reviews and more.
Therefore, if the payment method is not reliable, customers might not want to place their orders anymore. Roughly 17% of people admitted that they don’t trust certain sites with their card information. Lack of payment options and untrusted payment methods are some of the top reasons for cart abandonment.
While other reasons will only affect customers’ feelings, this reason might even mess up their life. With their sensitive credit cards information, who knows what online criminals can do? Customers have every right to refuse the transactions with untrustworthy sites.
Solutions For Better Conversion Rates
From the above reasons and countless failures that other online businesses have been facing, you should start reconsidering the checkout customization of your website immediately. It’s the best way to get the hanging money to come to your wallet much faster in an effective way.
Optimize the Checkout Process By Reducing Steps
To shorten the checkout process, you should determine what kind of products you’re providing. If you sell digital products only, then there’s no use in adding customers’ addresses, phone numbers, and billing address fields to your checkout page. You’d only need customers to fill in their email addresses to receive the products’ downloadable link right away.
In case your store provides both digital and tangible products, you might need to decide which information to put in required and optional fields. For example, customers are obligated to fill in their billing address section, but you can set optional for Address 2 and Company. For all those optional fields, the customers can leave them blank and continue with the checkout process.
Making your process short and simple will score customers a lot. Otherwise, they will change their minds or even get frustrated with a long and complicated process.
Be Transparent with the Total Cost Estimates
To eliminate surprises and confusion from customers when they see the final price, you should add some options that show the additional costs. Besides the original price, there will be some extra cost including shipping cost, tax, and sometimes gift wrap cost.
One of the most popular ways that a lot of successful online stores are applying is to provide a delivery calculator. By filling the zip code or postcode, customers will be able to see the estimated shipping fee.
Some stores, however, implement fixed shipping rates as an alternative choice. By using geotag, the delivery rates will be automatically added to customer carts. This proves convenient for everyone. Customers don’t need to fill in one more field in the long checkout process. Plus, it helps your store look more professional.
On special occasions, your stores might want to offer gift wrapping which is a well-known service of Amazon.
You should add all the costs in the total price column for customers’ reference. The customers will be impressed with those stores having a precise design in cost estimation.
Enable Guest Checkout
Realizing the significant drop in conversion rate, several online stores have started to allow customers to check out as guests. When your shoppers log in and check out, the boxes for the first name and last name will be filled automatically. If those customers have already checked out before, they won’t need to re-fill those required fields.
Many shoppers find it acceptable to check out as guests and manually fill in required boxes. This will make more sense in the customers’ first purchases. Enabling guest checkout also shows that your store is open to everyone which will expand your market and help reach more potential customers.
Show cart visibility and save cart
Most of the online shops show cart visibility to enhance the customers’ experience. Imagine how the grocery carts in the supermarkets have helped millions of customers to store their items. It’s more convenient and easier for them to walk down every aisle and look for more products. If they have to carry those items on their hands, they will soon lose the excitement and desire to shop for more.
The cart in your online stores works just the same. While showing cart and the number of items in it, you facilitate customers to track the chosen products while browsing for more. According to Forrester Research, 24% of shoppers only wanted to add products to cart for future consideration. Since there’s no limitation of the digital cart, customers can put as many items as they want and decide to pick which ones to check out later.
Plus, the option to save customers’ carts will help your business stand out as well-designed in this fierce online market. As more than 80% of customers will open multiple tabs to compare price, style, and shipping fees between different stores before making a decision. By saving shopper’s carts, you will have more chances to turn them into profits, especially when customers accidentally close your website’s tab. When they reopen and still see their favorite items waiting in the shopping cart, they will be encouraged to finally make a purchase.
Offer more payment options and show security badges
With the dramatic increase of new local and global banks, customers’ sources are distributed quite scatteredly. Therefore, if your stores can offer a variety of payment methods, you will meet the demand of around 56% online shoppers according to Comscore’s “Customer Experience Study”.
In general, you should offer some basic options such as Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Discover as your safe shot. For online banks, Paypal, Stripe, Apple Pay, Western Union, and MoneyGram are some of the reliable names you can add to the list.
In addition, showing customers your security badges is also a good way to consolidate their belief. In the current market, there are a lot of trust badges but not all of them got a good judgment from customers.
Norton and McAfee are the two most secure badges that customers want to see on the checkout page. Providing one of these badges or both if possible as part of the checkout page will also help reduce the cart abandonment rate significantly.
How Checkout Page Optimization Differs Between WooCommerce and Shopify
The CMS platform you choose to build your online store will affect how you make a decision for an e-commerce supporting tool. WordPress and Shopify are the two most reliable tools in the market to set up a website for selling products.
WordPress now has more than 68% market share in the Web market and is becoming the most favorite platform among numerous competitors. It’s all thanks to its low installation cost, huge opportunities for developers, and a variety of plugins in its repository.
If you are using WordPress to empower your website, you must be in the know of WooCommerce. Officially released in 2011, over the years, this open-source eCommerce plugin for WordPress has grown dramatically. Almost any store using WordPress is also utilizing WooCommerce for easier product selling.
How about other stores that don’t use WordPress? Shopify is probably a decent alternative for your business. No matter what business you’re in or what size it is, this eCommerce platform allows everyone to build their online stores and sell products.
Customize Checkout Page in WooCommerce
The newest update released to test the interaction of customers about the new block-based WooCommerce Cart and Checkout is a significant leap in managing WooCommerce more effectively.
In the older versions, the WooCommerce checkout process consists of numerous steps such as asking for basic information, billing and payment details. Realizing the pros and cons of multistep checkout would bring, WooCommerce has switched to one-page checkout.
This totally makes sense since after filling the information in one section, customers have to move to the next sections and repeat that long filling process. The more times they have to click on the Next button, the more chances you give them to rethink their purchase decision. Therefore, one-page checkout encourages customers to finish the transaction fast and in one place.
Add or remove fields
The new WooCommerce block-based editor lets you change checkout fields with the live preview. This is a huge improvement from what they provided before. Back then, customizing WooCommerce checkout fields has got to do with custom coding. By adding codes, you are able to delete or create a new field on your checkout page.
This might not be a big deal to developers, but it’s definitely a nightmare for those who are not techies. Apart from the code complexity, not being able to preview will easily make you confused and even mess up other settings.
The new UI of WooCommerce block-based checkout is much more user-friendly and smarter in controlling checkout fields. Now, customers can see the demo pictures of their selected products.
The “Express Checkout” button for a faster process is also available. At the moment, this function only works with Apple Pay, but WooCommerce informs that they will extend more options in the future. This new function also moves the shipping address to the top so that customers can save it as the default address, which makes it more convenient. If your store only provides virtual products, you should remove some unnecessary options such as phone, company, apartment, suite, etc.
Add payment method and shipment rate
Instead of installing other plugins or other WooCommerce shipping extensions, now you can customize the payment method and shipment rate right inside the updated WooCommerce settings.
If you want to add more conditions to your shipment setting, simply configure the shipping option in WooCommerce settings under the shipping tab. WooCommerce enables you to set the shipping zone, calculate the shipping cost, and show it on the checkout page for customers’ reference. This makes the optimization of the checkout page more powerful.
Switching to the Payment tab in WooCommerce settings, you will see different payment methods available for the checkout page. WooCommerce only shows the installed payment types on your website. So if you want to add more options, you have to install them first.
Limiting your payment methods is the same as limiting customers to check out your products. That should be the reason why WooCommerce added this new feature to its default settings in the new version.
Let customers checkout as guest
You might think it’s not necessary to ask customers to log in to be able to checkout. It increases the risk of high cart abandonment rate as well. But there must be a reason WooCommerce has put that option in its default settings in the very first days.
If you want to control whether customers need to login to be able to order or not, you can look for that function in WooCommerce Account & Privacy. By ticking the box to allow customers to place orders without an account, you already optimize one step for your shoppers. This brings a better shopping experience for customers as well as a better brand image.
Customize Checkout Page in Shopify
Quite different from WordPress and WooCommerce, you can create a website with most of the necessary options to sell products using Shopify only.
Compared to the previous versions of WooCommerce, Shopify seems to have lots of advantages in setting the checkout page. With WooCommerce, you either have to use code or install other plugins to handle the checkout customization. Meanwhile, Shopify provides those features in its settings that even non-tech savvy users can utilize effortlessly.
WooCommerce is catching up with the user-friendly interface of Shopify by releasing its new block-based editor. However, what Shopify has been providing is easier and more convenient for users, especially newbies.
The options in the Shopify checkout settings are more flexible than WooCommerce’s. It separates each information section based on relevant fields. For example, in the form options, fields like full name, company address, address line 2 and phone number are available for you to customize the requirements. They could be hidden, optional, or required. You can also style your checkout page with provided design features.
It will be easier for you to manage the options that should be on the checkout page depending on the product types you are selling. Making unnecessary fields optional or removing them are the best-proven ways to clean up your checkout process.
Shopify even adds other useful functions for your checkout pages such as email marketing, and checkout language. Right when customers are about to leave, you might want to enable the feature “show the sign-up option at checkout.” Some promotions can come with the sign-up option. No matter what, this may turn your guests into loyal customers who will look for your websites in their next purchases. Also, you can set the language for your checkout page right inside the Shopify settings.
Shipping and delivery
The Shopify shipping settings show you detailed and handy options to estimate the shipping fee. It helps you manage the shipping rates with different provided domestic and global rates.
Conveniently, Shopify even offers you a function to print out a shipping label for your orders. The three most popular delivery companies available are USPS, UPS, and DHL Express. Beside showing clear cost estimation, providing customers shipment labels will facilitate customers to track their orders more effectively.
In case the products are heavy and need a careful delivery, you may need to set different sizes of packages for customers to select. Different sizes will have different prices. Customers can understand what shipment method they should use to make sure it’s convenient and cost-effective.
If WordPress and WooCommerce only offer Paypal and Stripe as the default payment options, Shopify provides more than that.
If you use Shopify for your online store, you don’t need to worry much about the limited payment options on the checkout page. Shopify payment already involves Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, JCB, and even Apple and Google Pay.
You might want to choose other third-party providers that you prefer, but pay attention to which providers are reliable and well-known among the online shoppers’ community. Amazon Pay is also available in Shopify.
Shopify even facilitates you to handle the post-purchase action. You can let the tool capture the payment immediately after customers finish their transactions. Or you might just allow it to authorize the payment and you will manually capture them in the authorization period.
Don’t Let Money Slip Away
Despite the fact that the numbers of online shoppers are increasing dramatically, there are still a lot of factors that affect their decision in choosing what store to visit. Statistics show that the primary reasons are from the checkout process.
Understanding what upset your customers when shopping online, you should change your strategy to keep them on your website for as long as possible. Optimizing your checkout process is the best solution. In other words, you should fix where the problem originates.
Too many steps, unclear total cost, limitation in payment methods, and checkout restriction are the main reasons contributing to the drop in conversion rate. In order to solve this, you need to make necessary changes in your checkout setting based on what platform you are using. WooCommerce’s latest version allows you to control more aspects in the checkout process with a better user interface. At the same time, Shopify specializes in E-commerce businesses. Hence, it offers most of the necessary fields to optimize the checkout process.
Both WooCommerce and Shopify sometimes need support from other plugins and softwares to serve different purposes. If you want an all-in-one package, you should put Shopify in the top priority consideration.
On the other hand, if you already have a website and want to transform it into an online store, WooCommerce will be more suitable for you. Apparently, each of them will have its pros and cons, but when it comes to checkout optimization, Shopify seems to have an advantage over WooCommerce.