In previous posts we examined the main pages that are usually found in an eCommerce websites: the home page, the category page, the shopping cart page, and the checkout page. This time we will examine the final page and the purchase confirmation and monitoring emails.
Generally speaking, many of the criteria which we discussed when we spoke about store pages are aimed at capturing the attention of potential customers, increasing their level of interest, and finally, triggering the purchase decision. All these criteria combine to guide users towards conversion, where conversion means making a sale. However, in most eCommerce stores, the goal should go beyond making a single sale. The goal is to turn users into usual customers who make recurrent purchases.
eCommerce: the perfect purchase end?
To achieve this goal, many tools must be used, as well as design and layout criteria that have an impact on all the store pages, as we discussed in previous posts. Generally speaking, and to summarise, the goal is to provide the best possible user experience, and this is the main role of the purchase end page and the purchase confirmation and monitoring emails.
We should bear in mind that, even we are talking about eCommerce, this kind of commerce usually concerns physical assets, and a sale doesn’t really end until the customer has the product in his or her hands. There is also the fact that payment is usually made in advance, so that there is a period when the customer has neither the product nor the money, which can give rise to a certain feeling of uncertainty. For an optima purchase experience, this feeling must be minimised, generating the maximum possible peace of mind and security. This can be achieved by sharing all the possible data at this time:
- Purchase ID: it’s important for the user to know that the payment has been correctly made, that your store has correctly processed the order, and that everything is in order. Even if it is only a number or code, by showing it to your customer you are showing that you collected his or her data and the customer can check the order at any time.
- Purchase summary: the customer can verify that the data in the order made match those he or she has. It also makes it possible to detect errors, as, if an error has been made, the costs of solving it can rise considerable once the logistics process has started.
- Payment method and amount paid: one of the main fears of Internet users has to do with payment. By this means you can confirm that the financial transaction was correct.
- Delivery data: you confirm that the address and estimated delivery date are those that the user expected when making the order.
- Invoice data: in addition to confirming these data for legal reasons, specifying the invoicing address separately from the delivery address helps to prevent potential confusions when they are not the same.
- Order status: the user should be given the possibility of knowing what the order status is, which helps to generate security and confidence. The main statuses would be “being prepared”, “dispatched”, and “delivered”.
- Product tracking: even though in all likelihood this is not available at first in the sale confirmation page, once the order status is “dispatched”, a new doubt arises: “Where are my products?” You can help hugely to counter this feeling by providing ongoing information on the delivery status and product location. This information can be usually viewed in your logistics operator system, but you can display the link and/or code required, when available, in your confirmation page.
As can be inferred from the elements described, not all of them are available immediately after the purchase is completed. For this reason, you should facilitate access to this page in later visits, for example, through links from the shopping history in a page associated with each customer’s account. In addition, users may want to save this information for later viewing, so you can add a button to print the page. Providing the option a summary as a document, usually in PDF format, is also a good idea.
Another way for users to save this information with as little effort as possible, improving their experience of your store, is to automatically deliver a purchase confirmation email. In this email, in addition to providing the information described, you can include a link that leads directly to the confirmation page. Thus, given that part of the information will vary depending on the order status, the customer will be able to easily access his or her confirmation page from the email message.
If you want to improve the shopping experience as much as possible, you can’t expect users to always access the page to view their order status. A change in order status is an information that is important enough to send an active notification through an order monitoring email. In this way, you will keep your customer constantly informed about the status of his or her order (and products) at all times, sharing all the information available as soon as possible, thus avoiding or minimising any negative feelings which might arise between payment and product delivery.