Online shopping has taken the retail world by storm and has virtually ventured in all sectors today. There is no industry, domain or business immune to it! It has helped the entrepreneurs to explore new locations, geography and places. It has helped the businesses to go Global due to increase in accessibility, ease of use and very little infrastructure required for online shopping. You can buy what you want sitting at the comforts of your home by barely using your laptop or even with your cell phones. However like every other business virtual shopping also has its pros and cons. And sometimes its success and failures can be closely associated to the checkout process.
Multiple surveys globally have indicated to the fact that checkout process is one of the most prominent reasons that have led customers to abandon shopping. The problems are aggravated even more if your company starts targeting customers outside of your zone. Most times customers are confused and disappointed by shipping cost and therefore they abandon the shopping cart. Or the promised delivery time is longer than anticipated, payment options are limited, products go out of stock or simply the ease of use is missing. Reasons are plenty. Hence the eCommerce sites globally should pay more attention towards their audience problems and must have responsive website that is easy to visit, simple and user friendly with complete information. Successful Online Checkout requires so much more effort than just building a good site.
Let’s have a look at some of the best practices to improve online checkout for Global Markets –
Know Your Competition: First and foremost you should know the best eCommerce sites globally. From Amazon, ebay to Rakuten, Apple, Flipkart, Alibaba, sanpdeal, etc. Go through the entire eCommerce shopping process of adding a product, to the shopping cart, checkout process, to all the way to product fulfillment. Doing so will help you understand the localized processes that these sites follow based on their geography. For instance Amazon compels its user to create accounts before entering the checkout process; this allows it to provide a more personalized checkout procedure over time. On the contrary many leading sites allow users the option of either creating an account initially or to begin the checkout process as ‘guest’.
On a closer look neither of this process is better than the other. However one methodology could be more alluring, enthralling and tempting to your users in a particular market. In addition to this, you should also take note of the minutest details. For example Amazon and other leading retailers in UK use “shopping basket” while in India and US they use the term “shopping cart”. To conclude you should replicate the checkout process practiced across the board by leading online retailers in your region, as this is what your customers will be most comfortable with.
Study the best e-Commerce Sites: Study the best eCommerce sites. From global giants to those renown locally. For every site has something new to learn from. Go through the entire shopping process of these sites, check out the user friendliness of the “checkout process” and study the pros and cons. Replicate the success and eradicate the redundant, challenging parts. Take for example, a leading e-commerce giant was recently running a discount program wherein some products had discount on the upsides of 30%. And the catch here was one user could only purchase one item using one user id. The same user cannot purchase those items for family, etc. However there was nothing that stopped users from shopping, making payments and then the order would be cancelled. So in this case if you make the payment through credit card, the refund process would take 3 to 5 business. Here I purchased the mobile phone for around 20K INR and I did that twice as their email and message that alerted users about one person one product policy was absolutely unclear. Therefore I ended up utilizing my credit limit and I couldn’t shop further. Get rid of all such challenges and you can only come to know about these after studying the best in business e-commerce sites. This will not only better user experience for your customers but will also help you cut down on operations cost by getting rid of extra processes.
Don’t make users to select country: There are number of eCommerce websites that make a mistake of using a long scroll bar for country just for estimated shipping cost. Using Geo-location you can identify your customers’ country with great precision. Post this you can preselect customers’ country in any drop down menu, saving the significant amount of time during checkout process. In majority of good sites, the customer current country is their default selection.
Have Robust Customer Support: There is no official global standard for checkout form, so when customers visit a website for first time they have to go through the entire e-commerce website to understand a checkout process. Most probably the checkout forms within the regions will have several similarities with other eCommerce sites that help customers to understand and feel comfortable to shop. But in case customer gets confused or is a first time shopper or for any other reason gets stuck, the customer service should be available round the clock for users to provide all the information needed in the local or preferred language. The customer support number should be easily accessible and users should not be made to hold for long. The support team should be pleasant, knowledge and engaging.
Localize checkout form: The organizations that are selling physical goods need to understand customer’s local address with complete details. Therefore the checkout form should be made available in local languages. This ensures that customers fill in all the required information that includes full name, complete address with postal code, area code, street address, mobile number, ZIP Code for city or state, etc.
Support currency and payment platforms: As an organization selling virtual products you must permit your customers to select their preferred currency and mode of payment. Displaying all your supported payment options early in the checkout process builds customer trust.
Manage delivery expectations: Shipping goods internationally is time consuming. You must ensure to manage customer expectations before they click on checkout button. This is not only essential but imperative for your brand credibility. Any delay in shipping leads to negative impacts.
By taking care of these challenges faced during the checkout process by the customers globally, you are sure to grow your business by leaps and bounds.