How to set up a simple check-out for your online customers
You have decided there is no better time than now to convert your site into something more than just a mere online display window for your products and services. It’s time to take the step towards making these available to your customers and prospects directly online.
But where do you start? How do you go about ensuring you are providing risk-free, simple alternatives for your paying customers?
How do you make the payment process simple enough so that they are not discouraged or overwhelmed by the complexity of the process and give up before completing the purchase?
If you haven’t reached the stage where you have hundreds or thousands of products to offer, your best alternatives might be Paypal and Google Checkout. If, on the other hand, you are ready to exhibit a very wide range of products for sale on your site, you’ll need a shopping cart and this will include paying merchant account fees, credit card fees and processing fees.
Simplicity and transparency
In any case, transparency, simplicity and safety should be your goals when setting up a checkout portal in your website. Hold your customers’ hand and make sure you explain the steps involved, your payment options, instructions, errors, etc, very clearly throughout the process. You only want to let go off that hand to issue a "Thank you" note after their purchase.
1. No login information
The more barriers to the final purchase, the easier for your customers to find a similar product or service elsewhere. Don't ask them to fill more forms than they need to or remember more login credential than they need to. They'll thank you for it.
2. Simple, logical flow
Shoppers need to know at all times where they find themselves in the checkout process. If they don’t know how much longer it’s going to take them, they’ll get frustrated. If they see they have to go through a tedious six steps process, they’ll get frustrated too and your chances to lose them in the process will increase. So, try to make your payment flow no longer than three steps and use a graph to indicate where they are at. The most commonly accepted and expected flow these days is one that takes them from their contact information, to shipping information and finally billing information (including credit card and payment details).
3. Display instructions in the appropriate pages
There is no point in creating a devoted payment instruction page because by the time people get to step three and need to refer back to that page, they’ll give up before going back there. You need to accompany each step with the corresponding set of instructions to facilitate the process there and then.
4. Display payment icons clearly various times
Make sure your payment options appear before customers begin their check-out. They will be seriously aggravated if they finalize the process and realize you don’t accept their preferred payment option.
5. Assist clients with security codes
Not everyone knows where they can find the CVV/CID codes in their security cards. Make it easy for them and explain what these are and where they are located.
6. Clearly state processing times
If you will not be processing orders after a certain time, make sure you let them know (especially if they have ticked the overnight shipping option).
7. Make errors visible
If an error occurs your customers need to understand what the error was immediately so they have a chance to rectify it easily. Try to display a description of the error highlighted or boxed in a bright color both at the top of the page and exactly where the error occurred.
8. Allow them to review before purchasing
Customers will appreciate a chance to review their final order before committing to it and avoid unexpected surprises in the form of shipping costs, taxes or other type of surcharges.
Make an effort to ensure you cover all the above and you’ll have happy customers ready to revisit you any time.
Reassurance is key
You want your customers to trust you. Your customers want to feel safe in your site. So, once you make yourself as transparent as possible following the suggestions above, make sure you identify yourself as a real human being, with real credentials. List your physical address and phone number clearly in the site and display your credentials and testimonials from other customers.
And above all, prioritise security
You must comply with PCI DDS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), the standard for processing card payments. If you are a smaller merchant, you could outsource card payment processing to a third party payment service provider like Paypal.
Visa and Mastercard have their own security standard 3D Secure (also known as Verified by Visa and Mastercard SecureCode). According to their standards, the CV2 (the ’three digits on the back of a credit card’) cannot be stored on any computer system once the payment has been taken. You need to comply with this rule and of course, boast the fact that you do, so customers feel comfortable about purchasing from you.
Teresa es lingüista y especialista en comunicación intercultural, con un masters de resolución de conflictos interculturales y otro en traducción e interpretación. También ha formado parte de la comunidad de Pymes, dirigiendo una empresa de traducciones e interpretaciones en Malasia y una empresa de catering en Sídney, Australia. En la actualidad, Teresa es la directora de redacción de Hotfrog
, así como editora, escritora y traductora en el Hotfrog Small Business Hub
. Además Teresa tiene sus propios blogs No-mad
, y Digital cultures and translation
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