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I'm trying to tackle the high abandonment rate for a certain step in the checkout procedure. The first step in the checkout procedure of the company I work for is a step where customers have to log in, register or continue as a guest. Still, abandonment rate on that page is 65 to 70%. I've already suggested AB tests where we change the position of the guest checkout option and change the copy, but I've got a more radical idea I want to try to sell to my boss. But I need to build a strong case and I want to ask you if you can think of any pros and cons for the idea I have I didn't think of.

The way I see it (I hope to perform some usability tests to confirm my theories) people don't want to register because they're afraid of what the company will do with their personal information. Will they sell it to third parties? Will they be spamming daily? My company's current checkout procedure asks people to enter address and contact information even if, in the next step, they choose to pick up the order from the physical store, making address information unnecessary. My idea is to make it more clear where customers' personal information is used for by asking for specific information at different steps, when it's needed.
- Step 1 "shopping cart": No customer information needed.
- Step 2 "shipping method": Just ask for a name to put the order on when the customer selects the option to pick up the order from the store. Ask for a name and address when the order has to be delivered.
- Step 3 "payment method": Ask for information depending on the chosen payment method.
- Step 4 "confirmation": Ask for an emailaddress to send a confirmation to and ask the customer if the entered information can be saved ensuring a smoother experience the next time they place an order.

The pros I can think of are the fact it will be more clear where the information will be used for, putting customers at ease and making them more willing to give the needed information. The fact the forms are shorter, because long registration forms are frightening. And hopefully the fact the checkout procedure will feel more intuitive.

The only con I can think of is the fact the checkout procedure will be different from those of other webshops.

What do you think?

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Perhaps the abandonment rate is not totally related to that step. I often find myself adding items to the basket and go ahead a couple of steps just to check the delivery/total cost. With the "early" login this is difficult for occasional customers. I think the "late" login is a good idea: "obstacles" should be placed as late as possible. –  Toni Toni Chopper Dec 27 '13 at 13:48
    
@ToniToniChopper That's true! Even though we offer free shipping with everything above 50 euros (and considering the products there isn't much below that) and display that fact pretty prominent on every page (even outside the checkout procedure) I can imagine there are still people that haven't noticed or maybe don't believe it. –  Paul Dec 27 '13 at 13:56

4 Answers 4

I think you're taking the right steps, but with the wrong premise.

I believe (with no evidence other than having discussed with friends and from personal beliefs) that shopping cart abandonment comes to two factors:

1) Being curious about how much the final cost of an order will be (after shipping and taxes), but realizing there's "too much work involved (fields to fill out) and I don't want it that much anyway"

AND/OR

2) "They're getting my contact info whether or not I place the order - and I'm not even sure I want to place it".

You haven't provided your existing flow for checkout, but it seems like your approach only eases the checkout process for those who will pick up in stores.

I suggest the following adjustments:

  • Step 1 "shopping cart": No customer information needed. Option to estimate shipping given zipcode. You could even auto-fill this field with html5 geolocation.
  • Step 2 "shipping method": Just ask for a name to put the order on when the customer selects the option to pick up the order from the store. Ask for a name and address when the order has to be delivered. Radio buttons choosing to deliver or pick up in store This is assuming you can save the customer's name into your system from their Billing address anyway.
  • Step 3 "payment method": Ask for information depending on the chosen payment method. Allow a button to copy Billing fields to Shipping fields. I'd recommend not make the Shipping data immutable in case they have the same Address, but want to charge their husband/wife/mom/dad etc or simply have a different shipping address but same name.
  • Step 4 "confirmation": Ask for an email address to send a confirmation to and ask the customer if the entered information can be saved ensuring a smoother experience the next time they place an order. Say something like: If you'd like to create an account, enter a password below and we'll save the data you entered. From the customer's point of view, they've already filled out all the details and there is now the "bonus" benefit of creating an account and making checkout next time easier for them.

I took great liberties with lots of assumptions. All the same, I hope it helps :)

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You've got some solid points and I can work with this yes. Shipping and billing is somewhat different in my country from more common international procedures so not everything can be translated to my situation, but it's usable. –  Paul Dec 30 '13 at 11:13
    
+1 for figuring out shipping/taxes. This might be the most common cause for shopping cart abadonment for me. Especially when ordering from overseas and it's the only place you can easily find this information. –  Ria Jan 21 at 8:50

I my opinion you should always show the basket summary in an area to the right at each stage of the process. Sometimes people see the payment section as the final confirmation and having it on the page as reference works.

Re the shipping - be careful with 'calculate options' earlier in the step. I have noticed on a few regional sites (Australia in particular) that the details entered are not kept and the user must re-enter them at a later stage.

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As for now we haven't received any comments on the checkout procedure being confusing because the basket is not visible at all times. But that's primarily because we have a lack of comments all together. I'm trying to get a feedback form implemented at the close of a purchase to find out if something like a permanent visible basket is wanted, because I do think it's a good idea that might improve the UX. –  Paul Jan 2 at 13:32

Additional to what Andrw said, the shopping cart is also often used as a wish list.

I think you have to make distinction between visitors who added articles to their shopping cart

  • with
  • without

an intention for buying.

So, actually you have two challenges:

  • make the check-out as easy as possible (e.g. ask only information that is really necessary)
  • be persuasive to visitors who aren't thinking of buying yet

Good luck!

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Any distraction is already removed from the shopping cart. The only way to navigate out of the shopping cart is to press the logo to go the frontpage or just exiting your browser. This already funnels some of the 'wish-list-buyers' down the procedure and might even convert some, but I can't think of something else that might work. Only good marketing, like low prizing and discounts, might convert wish-list-people. This might question might be a worthy question on it's own (outside this discussion). –  Paul Jan 2 at 15:10
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You're right it might be a worthy question on it's own. As an answer to your original question: I think you have to admit that not 100% will convert. And keep in mind: people who are using the shopping cart as a wish list are also very interesting :-) –  Denise Jan 2 at 15:36

Depending on the value of the goods being ordered, you might need to ask for more information from the customer when picking up from the store so that this can be used as security information to ensure that you don't give the goods to the wrong person. This would be in addition to the order number/receipt.

With only one piece of information (the name) this could be guessed/scammed. But if you ask for an address (physical or e-mail) then it makes it harder for you (the company) to be scammed and the legitimate customer to be ripped off. As long you explain this is why you need the address people should be happy to provide it.

The other way of doing this is requiring that the customer bring the credit card they used to pay online with them. This can be either scanned again or the name and last four digits verified to check it's the same person.

So only ask for the information if it's actually needed when it's actually needed, and make it clear why you need the information. This should help reduce the abandonment rate.

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Couldn't that be solved by asking for an ID or when even this is to sensitive (with privacy and what not) ask people to bring the order confirmation you have send by email after the order is placed. You could use a specific order number. –  Paul Dec 27 '13 at 13:29
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@Paul- yes you could. I suppose it would depend on things like the value of the goods being bought etc as to whether extra security information was required. –  ChrisF Dec 27 '13 at 13:35
    
I know some sites that offer in store pickup and usually you have to show your id and pay in the store (in Germany). Is this different in other countries? –  Ria Jan 21 at 8:48
    
@Ria - It's not unique. You need to have some way of verifying that the person coming in to pick up the goods is the person who ordered (and possibly even paid) or their authorised representative. –  ChrisF Jan 21 at 9:09
    
@ChrisF It's picking your order up at the cash register but paying online before that is new to me. Or did I misunderstand that and it's not the shop from the same company but a generic place to pick up parcels? (Like the Hermes corner in some flower shops etc) –  Ria Jan 21 at 9:13

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