The purchase process in an online store is crucial in overall eCommerce global sales strategy. In the end, it’s like a traditional or offline shop. Having a great advertising campaign aimed at attracting consumers to your shop will be of little use if once they are there you don’t know how to handle them and guide them towards what you want: closing a sale.
Reducing shopping cart abandonment in eCommerce: the purchase process
Generally speaking, almost all online stores divide the purchase process into the following steps
- Adding the product to the shopping cart
- Obtaining the delivery data
- Specifying the payment method
- Confirming the order
However, the purchase process starts much sooner. A customer doesn’t just walk into your online store and just add product X to the shopping cart. Before that, many things happen which may lead or not to adding an item to the shopping cart. There is no recipe to create the perfect eCommerce product page, but if you follow a number of guidelines, you can come close to something that yields better results. Even so, you shouldn’t neglect all the previous steps taken by the customer before getting there. T
The product itself is sold on the product page. That’s where users should find all the data required to make the decision to buy: features, images, price, tax, delivery charges, etc. If anything’s missing, the user will have reasons to go somewhere else. As always, what’s hard is striking the right balance. Having a supershort page is not a good idea, but nor is giving too much information.
Another key aspect is the data you will need to send the order to the customer. Some studies claim that most shops ask users for between 21 and 28 pieces of data. Do you really need so much information? If customers must fill in endless forms the may well give up, which is another significant source of abandonment. The obvious thing to do would be ask for the data required to deliver the order, and perhaps try to complete it later on. If every user new to Facebook had to give all the possible data during the registration period (education, hobbies, jobs. etc.) I don’t think it would have been quite as successful.
The payment method is another significant aspect. Many users want to pay in a certain way, and if they are unable to, they prefer to look for another store. The more payment methods you accept (credit cards, PayPal, transfers, payment on delivery, etc.), the more users you will reach. You will have to consider the benefits and disadvantages of each payment method: some can be more advantageous in terms of fees, others inspire more trust in customers, others are more fraud-prone, etc.
The order confirmation page should be peaceful space, where users can find all the information on the process completed at a glance. When I say “peaceful”, I mean that it shouldn’t be a page where you find surprises: “Oh… so VAT wasn’t included in the price”. Details like this are one of the main reasons for abandonment. Users can feel disappointed, or even deceived, if the conditions turn out not be those they had thought when they made their purchases, and giving them a change to reconsider is not a good idea.
To summarise: the purchase process starts even before a user visits your shop. Once the user is in the store, part of your work is done, but you must complete it. To do so, you shouldn’t overwhelm users with too much information or with endless forms to process the order. You should provide flexibility in payment methods, and of course, you shouldn’t omit any relevant data which will pop out at the end of the process, particularly if they involve the total cost of the purchase or the delivery period.