What is Checkout Optimization?Simply said, it's maximizing conversions by making the checkout process as easy as possible for the majority of users. We spent a few weeks researching what the various "big box" sellers were doing, set up a few small focus groups — and consulted with a few usability experts. We concluded a few things and incorporated them as requirements for web sites we develop.
The Checkout v2 Payment Module Demo: Please Do NOT Enter Real Credit Cards!
1. We provide an order progress bar.We use arrows to subtly encourage the user to continue, as well as assure them that they will be given a chance to review the order. This should be at the top of the page, and ideally at the bottom as well.
2. We provide a "mini cart" and a total.We don't just provide the total. We don't link to the product pages for every item to prevent bounce outs, but rather provide a link at the bottom to revise order. This prevents the user from clicking unnecessarily or otherwise "double checking." "Wait — did I order that? Let's click 'back.'"
3. We say we're secure as many times — and in as many ways as possible.We show your merchant account certification, SSL certification, and call it "Secure Checkout" wherever we might just say "checkout." Where applicable, we also note that we do not store credit card numbers in an effort to conform to PCI compliance.
4. We don't use logins ... unless they're useful!People forget stuff all the time. The vast majority of smaller retailers will benefit by not using logins to checkout. That is, not even supporting them. Many customers will forget their password regardless, and that's just another potential barrier to stymie them.
Sometimes time is best spent streamlining the checkout process. If it is established that logins will help with analytics or the majority of customers visit often, an optional login process could be offered in addition to a "quick checkout" that does not require logins. However, keep in mind that even this is one more place for the user to bounce — right before they convert.
5. We incorporate lots of testimonials.Especially if you're a small business, users want to see that others' sentiments of you is positive.
6. We display informative error messages.We don't just say "invalid card" when the expiration date is invalid or expired! We say it like it is — and show the error messages above the relevant field, and then focus the cursor on the first error.
7. We allow the users to modify their shipping method anywhere.Ideally, if this can be implemented, it prevents the user from going back to the cart, which will almost certainly increase bounce outs.
8. We don't use a popup for card code illustration!Popups are "evil" — yet most web sites seem to use them at this critical juncture. Sure, most people know what it is by now, but we've seen users type in preceding extra digits from the back of the card. We show where the CVV card right on the page. If they use an Amex, we change the picture to indicate where the Amex code is.
9. We format the credit card number for the user.And certainly don't do anything silly like admonishing him not to enter dashes or spaces. There are only 2 different formats, 3XXX-XXXXXX-XXXXX and XXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX. For example, if he types 4111, it should automatically insert the trailing "-" dash, yielding "4111-" in the text box.
10. We don't require the user to enter the credit card type!And we do not reject the information if the wrong one is selected. That's an example of a programmer making up a business rule. It's silly, and there is no security advantage in requiring that it be correct. The first digit trivially indicates the type of card in the USA — '3' is American Express, 4 is Visa, 5 is MC, and 6 is Discover. If desired, we ask for the type, but we correct it if he is incorrect — or we ignore the error.
11. We make the copy billing to shipping option intuitive.We provide a convenient "same as billing" checkbox, and don't leave any ambiguity as to what this checkbox does. All shipping fields are hidden when the user checks the box so nothing can be viewed or entered. It is not possible for the user to check the box, edit one or the other, and therefore create inconsistencies.
12. We provide robust coupon support.Our support includes support for limiting the coupon to category and/or product, as well as various other customizable rulesets (excluded products therein, minimum order, etc.). It may be declared as a percentage, fixed amount, and have a maximum dollar amount it applies to, as well as a maximum number of uses. Stacking is (optionally) supported to some extent and we can tailor it to your requirements. Coupons may be generated on a per customer basis for custom mailings. If there are no active coupons, we remove the option so as not to encourage users to search for coupons.
13. We track failed orders for easy acquisition.All orders that fail either with regard to the credit card gateway or fraud prevention settings are stored in a warning and/or or a failed state. These customers may then be contacted and then processed via a manual payment function on the order page by an operator.
14. We prevent fraud using geolocation and customizable rule sets.All users from the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom are automatically located on the globe using an IP to latitude and longitude database. They are then compared against a billing address to latitude and longitude database. If the customer is more than a configurable distance away from his calculated location, it is optionally flagged for review or otherwise included in fraud prevention rules.
Additionally, our applications allow configuration of rules that allow or disallow various permutations of response settings. For example, geolocation information could be ignored if a full CVV and AVS match is attained. We customize the settings in accordance with your tolerance for risk.