It’s kind of strange to realize it, but online shopping still doesn’t seem to feel as accessible as real-world shopping, especially when a friendly ecommerce checkout page is conspicuously lacking or inadequate. There’s the obvious barriers that are unavoidable: customers can’t touch, run, or try on a product virtually; slinging your personal details about online always carries a small risk, and so on.
The thing you have to remember about your target market is that they want to feel comfortable with the experience. You should have everything be visible and easy to manage. Don’t throw a bunch of confusing popups in the customer’s face or make them wonder how to go through the steps correctly.
1. Show what currency you take up front. Whatever credit cards, PayPal, or Bitcoins you accept, have all the little icons there together so the customer knows ahead of time that their money’s good here.
2. Make your instructions clear. And being “clear” doesn’t always mean going along with whatever the interface gurus dictate as the fashion this week. Simple steps, simple instructions, and tooltips along with each field the customer has to enter. Keep things minimal – trying to sell more things to the user while they’re trying to buy something already is just obnoxious. In terms of simplicity, a friendly ecommerce checkout page should look as close to the Google search home page as practical.
3. Breadcrumbs. Show the steps in a timeline somewhere at the top of the page. Then have the page track which step they’re at and show it visibly. Keep in mind that the real world has distractions – phones ring, text messages come in, and the user might get distracted in mid-process and then forget where they were.
4. Focus on security. Have everything verified, have a secure log-in page, and be up-front about what security measures your site uses. Use a third-party verification service to help in this regard. Remember, all it takes is one complaint about a stolen credit card number and your site’s reputation is toast.
5. Support more than one browser. Users of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox now outnumber Internet Explorer users. Mac users also have Safari, and then there’s mobile browsers, tablets, iPads, and all manner of gizmos to think about. If you make your site comply with W3C standards as much as possible, you’ll ensure that everybody has an equal opportunity to do business with you and will also be many steps ahead in having a friendly ecommerce checkout page.
6. Make the process simple and unobtrusive. If you must require the user to register, make it as simple as possible. When designing a friendly ecommerce checkout page, avoid making customers feel like they have to give you their life history just to buy something.
7. Close with a ‘thank you’ page and a confirming email that their order is shipping. Don’t just suddenly go mute as soon as you have their money.