Optimising Checkout Usability
Online shopping baskets (or shopping carts) are a very important part of the sales closing process; as a bad shopping cart experience, can cause a potential customer to abandon the purchase right at the point where you have converted them into a sale. This is a more common occurrence than most website owners would care to admit. This blog will give you advice on how to improve the experience for customers using usability testing.
Streamlining the Checkout Experience
So how do you create the ultimate shopping cart experience and make sure your users are happy with the way it functions and always complete their purchasing intentions?
The first lesson is – keep it as simple and transparent as possible. However, this could mean different things to different segments of customer so you need to be aware of customer expectation and need. If the process is clear and logical, and there are no obstacles to completion or surprises (like unexpected charges or attempts to up-sell when the user has already made their purchase decision) then the customer is likely to trust your site, be satisfied with the process and complete the transaction.
Usability Testing for Online Shopping Carts
So how do you construct usability testing procedures for shopping carts and what do you need to look for?
There are two main paths you can take to test the usability of your shopping cart; you can test the whole purchase and checkout process or you can simply test the checkout basket itself.
There are advantages and drawbacks to both usability testing approaches. Tracking the whole process will take longer and might not give you any more useful information; the benefit is that it might highlight issues that affect behaviour when reaching checkout or obstacles that prevent users reaching the purchase point. Checking usability at the checkout itself is more focused and concentrated but does risk missing other issues and assumes users can navigate the site to the point of purchase without issues.
The sort of things you can test for if, for example, you were going to do A/B usability testing with different types of checkout format, are:
- Basic, simple forms without any embellishment or distraction against forms with more information (but always make sure everything you include is relevant).
- Different types of button and help menus – e.g. radio buttons, dropdown menus, command buttons, help boxes etc. Test for which of these are helpful and which distracting or off putting to users
- Test for order of questions or actions to see if one sequence works better than others and if aspects cause people problems or make them abandon the cart
- Versions that feature reassuring elements for the user (e.g. returns policy, shipping costs, guarantee, payment methods and delivery times ) and see which users find positive and helpful or which they are not bothered about or find distracting. How and where these are positioned and presented can also be useful information in framing your checkout page.
Your shopping cart can be the most important page on your site and you don’t want to put buyers off or complicate their transaction. If you would like to know how to improve and test your checkout page why not ring us on +44(0)800 0246 24, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us for an exploratory discussion with one of our experts.