Pushing consumers over the purchase line

The customer is there, ready to checkout and suddenly … they’ve clicked off and not completed the transaction. There’s lots of hurdles for a successful eCommerce website to fall at. Viewing a consumer journey from awareness right through to purchase is essential to start identifying what may be stopping conversions and how those obstacles can be tackled. A site that’s taken into account the whole user’s experience from start to end will be able to create a user flow without any rocky patches. It’s a constant process to ensure your site will consistently meet the evolving expectations of online consumers. These straight-forward, no-nonsense points will help you to either identify or rule out potential obstacles that are limiting the performance of your site.

Sell the product

Sound simple? In some senses it is, but there’s nothing like getting a pair of fresh eyes on a website to see what’s missing. In a time when crisp and minimal websites have been in vogue a lot of brands have stripped down the information available to users. The thing is, if your customer hasn’t bought from you before and doesn’t know what your product is like in the flesh, they are going to want to know everything. That means give enough detail and make sure the important information is clearly demarcated. Tell users just why your product is the best, but don’t forget they also need to know if it contains allergens, if it’s machine washable, and whether the ingredients are sustainably sourced.

Real life

Online stores versus brick-and-mortar still come up against this major barrier, but there are ways of tackling it. The first is accepting that excellent photography is non-negotiable. Don’t settle for second-rate product shots if your customer won’t settle for second-rate products. Think outside the box. There have been some great innovations in the eCommerce sector including Specsavers’ Virtual Try OnASOS’s catwalk videos and Amazon’s Wardrobe feature on Prime. Remove as much of the risk and uncertainty as possible. You want users to get on and purchase so give them all they need to feel confident that the product will be as good in real-life as you say.


Checking out now.

Another major purchase barrier for people is checkout flow. Consumers are busier than ever before. They want things to be purchased and delivered quickly and easily. Cashless shopping is an example of the way that brands are adapting to the quick timeframes that the modern consumer expects. Amazon has introduced a handful of cashless stores where the consumer places items in their basket and walks out without going through a checkout line. Easy peasy. Take a leaf out of the Amazon Go book and remember that checkout flow on eCommerce sites is key. You want a clear, quick and friendly checkout. No excessive pages, long forms or confusing navigation. Your user doesn’t want to get lost while purchasing and you don’t want them to either. You want them to end up at the destination of ‘Order Received’ as painlessly as possible.

Experiencing the flow.

User experiences that flow seamlessly are the dream. No extra steps, no getting lost in ineffective pages, and no wasted time. An eCommerce site that is doing its job well is one that guides the user from first landing through to purchase without irritation or frustration. Think simple: home page > product page > basket > checkout. Where eCommerce sites often fail is when they try too hard to be different. Forget quirky and cool and think simple and streamlined. The more opportunity the consumer has to navigate away, the more likely they will. Another aspect of eCommerce that is often overlooked is that the website should match the product. There is nothing more jarring than a premium product on a website that looks less than professional. If you are expecting consumers to spend their hard earned cash with you, make sure you show that you’re worth it. Your website’s quality is just as important as that of your product.

You need me.

The reason that walking into a supermarket on a Saturday morning leaves you wanting freshly baked croissants is because they pump the air from their bakery at the back all over the general public as they enter the shop. Reminding your users why they need the product will prevent them from clicking away before they have made the desired conversion. It’s far easier to walk away from a screen than a sales person so remind your consumer how your product is going to benefit them at every stage of their journey. Simple things like a thumbnail image in the cart will give them the reassurance to click that checkout button.

Push the button.

Buttons have identities. The thought behind how a button looks on a website is key as to whether it stands out and shows the user easily what clicking that will do. eCommerce sites often fall down in this area, failing to promote consistency in their button usage and ensuring that the ‘buy now’ or ‘add to basket’ buttons have an obvious identity that screams their function.