Making a sale online, just like making a sale in real life, involves a lot of trial and error. For the entrepreneur, this can mean failed promotions, bad discounts that do not give you the revenue you expect or a shopping cart that needs continuous improvement.
By now, you should have received some sort of feedback about your shopping cart. Either your sales are dismal, or customers have outright complained or made suggestions. It helps to give your professional web design team the feedback your site has garnered from customers or from your analytic reports. Chances are, you can work in a few tweaks that can help not just fix your shopping cart problems but also pump up your sales.
- Place a BUY NOW button near products that allow customers to go straight to payment. This button should be separated from the Add to Cart option. Just give your customers the option to purchase the item, now, if they want to.
- Make your buttons bigger, especially buttons that signify call to actions such as Buy Now, Purchase Now or Add to Cart. Make it easier for your customer to buy -- do not force them to hunt all over the page for a button smaller than the mouse. Big and bold work just fine.
- Consider the items your customers see above the fold, or before they scroll down when they hit the shopping cart.
- Create a shopping cart process that does not require customers to scroll down at all.
- Remove "forced" sign-outs or timed sign-outs. Nothing frustrates a customer more than having to sign in again and again because a server has timed you out. It is like having a salesperson constantly whispering "buy" over your shoulder while you shop. Instead, install other security gateways.
- Consider breaking your process into steps that are appropriate for your type of website. Although single step shopping cart checkouts are all the rage on ecommerce sites now, many of them are clunky, require too much information and are too long. This also delays gratification for your customers by creating a long gap between selection and purchase, which can delay the pleasure of making that purchase and force your customers to reconsider. They might start thinking that they really do not need the item.
- Pinpoint where your customer makes an error when they do. Do not force a customer to hunt down where they have made a mistake. Have your software return error messages like: passwords do not match or date of birth is needed to continue when they do.
- For heaven's sake, do not force your customers to retype everything on the form when they do make mistakes. Allow your site to repopulate items customers have already typed in.
- Actually, you should not ask them to retype information they have already given you. Because it is useless and irritating. Make sure your checkout process is succinct, not redundant.
- Offer guest check-outs. But why? You ask. I want my customers to subscribe to me. Yes, you do. But not everyone wants to subscribe. Some customers are thrilled to sign up for your website because it is exactly what they are looking for. Others just do not want to, for various reasons. Which is fine, but that should not be a reason for you to lose a sale.
- Offer to link their accounts with their social network. For many people, it is simply easier to log-in to Facebook, because they check it every single day.
- Send them a gentle reminder if they leave the shopping cart unfinished. Your shopper left a full shopping cart -- but maybe not voluntarily. Send them a gentle prod if you do have an email address. They might have left something in the oven. Or a neighbor dropped by unexpectedly. You never know.
- A remove from cart option. Why? Because sometimes people just like to drag stuff to their cart so they can compare prices or because they are browsing. Giving them the option to remove single items streamlines the selection process and allows them to move on to the buying stage without delay.
- Add more payment options. Because some people just like to do it their way.
Finally, remember that there is no single tweak or option. It is a combination of your product, business plan, customer and tests. No single method works -- at least, not alone.