Is Your Checkout Process Scaring Customers Away?

Posted on Apr 7, 2016 3:00:00 PM by Marisa Samek

After watching Step Up 2, Anne finally decides she is going to fulfill her lifelong dream of learning how to pop’n lock. She arrives at your dance studio, Pop’n Lockerz, and timidly approaches the front desk to ask for more information about your beginner classes. What makes the difference between Anne leaving your studio empty-handed and Anne bounding out of the studio, signed up for an entire session of classes without even a trial class?

Stop_Losing_Customers_Last_Minute_1.jpgThe difference can be whittled down to 3 factors:

  1. Simplicity: Your offering is easy to understand and doesn’t present the buyer with too many choices
  2. Transparency: There are no hidden costs. What you see is what you get
  3. Trust: You give off genuine vibes that make the consumer believe that you have their best interests in mind

With consumers making more and more purchases online, it’s important to understand how to use these 3 factors effectively. Imagine if Anne were buying these classes on In the offline space where people are less likely to walk away from a purchase face-to-face, online shopping provides a unique challenge. Recent studies have shown that cart abandonment rates for online shopping are over 68%. To be clear: Cart abandonment is not when you leave a screaming toddler at the grocery store because you just can’t take it anymore.  Cart abandonment is when a visitor to your site carefully selects the items she is going to purchase, she proceeds to checkout, but right at that crucial moment when she should hit “buy”, she navigates away from your site and off into the cyber abyss.

The same things that matter offline, matter online. Here’s how to use Simplicity, Transparency, and Trust to make sure visitors to your dance studio, summer camp, or swim team’s website proceed to checkout instead of getting intimidated by your interface and navigating into the hands of the competition.

How simple is your checkout process?

  • Is your “proceed to checkout” or "register now" button easy to find?  (See what our client Kyle Shewfelt Gymnastics does. This makes people want to sign up!)
  • Do you require visitors to fill out long forms? Make sure if you’re asking a question, there is a reason.
  • Are your products and services well organized and, if there are many categories, do you have a good “search” box?

How transparent is your checkout process?

  • Are you hitting purchasers with hefty hidden fees right before they click “buy”? Studies show that this tactic is the second-highest contributor to cart abandonment. Make sure that what visitors see is what they get.
  • Asking your visitors to create an account to purchase something from your site also scares them off. Creating an account isn't the problem. The problem is surprising visitors with this extra step right at the moment they expect to make a purchase.  If they are required to create an account, make sure you let your visitors know all the steps in advance. By making things clear in advance, you settle all expectations and avoid losing buyers due to unaccounted commitments.

How trustworthy is your site?

  • Do your services appear legitimate to someone who has never set foot in your organization? Providing articulate, compelling, and professional descriptions (along with photographs) of your services can boost customers' trust that your organization is legit. 
  • Do you have a security certificate? 
  • Here are more ways to inspire your customers' trust online

If people are navigating away from your site without purchasing anything, don’t worry, all is not lost. Stats also show that emails sent to customers soon after they have abandoned a cart is likely to be read (AKA "high open-rate"). So don’t hesitate to reach out! Send follow-up emails to people who have quit on you unexpectedly either asking them what’s up or even offering to set up a call with them to walk them through your pop n lock classes over the phone.