Common e-commerce pitfalls

E-commerce pitfalls - shopping cart problems

Your checkout procedure must be as quick and simple as possible. Industry research shows that the typical shopping cart abandonment rate for online retailers varies between 60 per cent and 80 per cent, with an average of 67.91 per cent (source: Baymard Institute, 2014). Here are some of the techniques that you can employ.

Ensure there are no surprises

Be upfront about the process and costs:

  • Provide details of delivery costs early in the process, so customers are not surprised during final checkout. Consider providing alternative options such as express delivery or in-store collection.
  • Show stock availability on the product page, so customers know immediately if a product is in stock.
  • Explain the buying process - how long it will take and how many stages there are.

Make it easy to select and amend orders

Let users adjust their order as necessary:

  • Include a link from the shopping cart back to the product page, so customers can easily check they have selected the right item.
  • Make it straightforward to change quantities or delete an item from the shopping cart.
  • If a product comes in multiple sizes or colours, make it easy for the customer to select or change values in the shopping cart.

Indicate customer progress

Be clear about how long the purchase will take:

  • Ensure that the customer always knows at exactly what stage they are in the checkout process by including an indicator, for example 'You are in step 3 of 4'.
  • Make sure that customers don't get lost by including a prominent 'Next Step' or 'Continue with Checkout' navigation button on each checkout page.

Show clear information

Make sure users understand everything they need to know:

  • Keep all information on a single screen on each checkout page, so customers do not have to frequently scroll down.
  • Include a box that customers can tick to automatically select the billing address as the delivery address.
  • If information is missing or filled out incorrectly, provide a meaningful error message that clearly describes what needs to be corrected.