The perfect check-out

Although the check-out process is not a determining factor in our conversion ? because the client has already made the decision to complete the process – no-one wants to lose an almost-sure sale because of a bad check-out experience.

Our experience has taught us that the keys to ensuring a top-notch check-out process are:

  1. Clear and permanent help (e.g.: Overstock provides an online assistant or returns our calls to help with the check-out process)
  2. Without interrupting the purchase process, with the option to ?continue shopping?.
    (For example: GAP solves the problem with a simple, highlighted drop-down menu),
  3. With intelligent sales pressure strategies. (For example: Overstock plays with available stock and time).
  4. It must be nimble, fast and fluid (one of which is Target.com with a clean, clear offer).
  5. It should tell us where we are in the process. (A good idea is to use icons and a time-line, like Sears),
  6. It should tell us what the next step is, to give the idea that we are absolutely safe and in control.
  7. The product we are purchasing should be clear and visible at all times.
  8. The total cost, including transport, should be made clear. (For example: Overstock details coupon discounts, postage costs and product price.)
  9. Product availability should always be made clear. Indicating whether it is one of the last ones left, or if there are no problems with stocks is a key point for the customer to perceive total transparency.
  10. It should allow us to define how urgent shipping is. It is important to give alternatives for the user so that he/she has more control over the process and can choose everything from the preferred delivery time to the urgency with which it is required and, as a result, the costs in question. (For example: Sears offers the possibility of choosing a time for delivery.)
  11. Content should be easily added/edited in the shopping basket. This is just one more indicator of how important it is for the consumer to feel that he/she has control over the process, that he/she can move through it with a degree of freedom. It should also be easy to add related products, accessories, etc.
  12. It should offer as many payment options as possible.
  13. It should allow a person to shop without registering until the last minute. In spite of the fact that, in the real world, no salesman asks the purchaser for details until he/she has purchased the item(s), the online world continues to encourage defects like this. The user should be able to buy and, if he/she so wishes, to register, but once he/she has completed the purchase and implicitly during the shopping process.
  14. As a more longer-term objective, the shopper should be able to start the check-out process, interrupt it at any time and take it up again, with no loss of the information entered. This aspect has not yet been ideally developed in most of the stores analysed.
  15. The shopping process is not the right time to ask the user for all the details about his/her life. Forms should request solely and exclusively the data needed to validate the purchase. Often, an excessive request for detail can cause a user to abandon the check-out process.

Sears has some of the best check-outs on the market:

The obstacles repeated time after time, and which we need to avoid are:

– The obligation to register before we can even buy anything.

– A lack of transparency and clarity with regard to product availability.

– The inability to define how urgent shipping is.

– Not explaining the advantages of registering to shop for something.

– An inability to interrupt the process at any time and return later to complete it.

– Requesting too many details on the form.

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