As a web designer, you have no doubt come across some aspects of e-commerce in your career. The process of checking out is without question the most important part of any e-commerce site, as this is where the deal is clinched. A badly designed checkout system, can and does lose customers, and therefore it is essential that your design is on the money. These web design tips for designing a good checkout system, should give you some useful pointers to get it right.
When designing your checkout, make sure that the customer does not have to register until the checkout process. This is the best place to put the registering of a new customer because they have already had time to browse through what is on offer, and therefore be less likely to look elsewhere.
This is also true when someone first enters the site. If they have to complete forms before they get a chance to see what is on offer, they are more likely to go to a site where they do not.
Ensure that all stock information is accurate and easily displayed. Customers want to know if what they want is in stock or not, and when they can expect it to be so if it is not. Do not try to hide this information from them. Repeat sales are unlikely if you do.
On the same theme, make it easy for customers to be able to modify orders. It is very easy to make mistakes when you are online shopping, especially if your connection is slow. Remember the golden rule: Anything that makes it easy for the customer is a good thing.
If possible try and provide real time support. Customers may have questions they need to ask, or may have encountered an unforeseen problem. Also, it annoys customers if they have to wait a day or two for an email to get answered. Remember that in a conventional shop, there are people to ask and goods are sold on the day, you must try and provide an equivalent web based facility where you can.
For this reason, keep the ‘back’ button fully functional. The last thing you want to see as a customer is some kind of error message, and all the progress in the ordering process lost. This can make customers question how badly they want a product if they have to start all over again because of a click on the ‘back’ button. It is good practice to ensure that the progress, where possible is saved so customers can modify orders more easily, and never have to start the order process from scratch.
If you can, provide pictures of the items bought as well as titles and headings. This looks better, customers can ensure they have bought what they wanted and not made a mistake, and gives a better professional image, which all helps for repeat sales. This is also good practise, because it saves time for both you and the customer, if the wrong product has been bought in error. It is still possible for a customer to do this, but by showing a picture of the product, it is less likely to occur.
We hope these web design tips for designing a good checkout system help you to maximise sales, and minimise stress for both you and the customer. They have been written from a customer point of view, and it is worth making the extra effort as it will help your brand image, and increase your sales. In part 2, we will be looking at further tips to designing a web checkout system.