Checkout Usability

A checkout process on an e-commerce site is key to the site’s success in converting visitors into online sales. Your site may be attracting targeted visitors that want to buy online but your complicated or frustrating checkout means that they give up (and in many cases, are unlikely to return.) This indicates how important it is to get your checkout right

I tend to come across many more sites that have frustrating and long winded checkout processes than I do checkout’s that are usable, simple and safe. And this is exactly how people want to buy online, with simplicity and security.

So I thought I would brainstorm what I think should be included in your checkout and where it should be included in order to make the process as stress free for everyone.

Firstly, make it obvious that your checkout procedure is secure and that any extra costs (e.g. delivery costs) are made obvious early on in the process. Potential customers will want to want to feel secure and informed, and any extra processes or ‘noise’ within this process is likely to affect your conversion rate of visitor into sale. It may also be an idea to have a clear link on every page of the site that allows customers to “view basket” and “view delivery info”.

Price – make the cost of items and products clearly visible
· Options – make sure that users can choose colours/ sizes of products here so that the desired final product is added to the basket
· Availability – If the product is not available, it should say so at this stage. It would be irritating for a customer to go through the checkout process only to find that the product they want is not available
· Call to action – place a call to action to prompt people to “Buy online now!”

· Add to basket – Take the customer to the basket when a customer clicks “add to basket”. This means that customers can clearly seethe contents of the basket. Remember to place an obvious link back to the product page that the customer came from.
· Editing the basket – Make editing the shopping basket simple and easy. For example, make it possible for customers to delete individual items from their basket. (I have recently come across a site that only allowed me to empty the whole basket.) It should be here that customers have the option to either “continue shopping” or “proceed to checkout”

· Security – once customers proceed through the checkout, be sure your isolate again that your checkout is secure.
· Review – allow customers to review what they are paying for. All delivery or shipping costs should have been mentioned by this step.
· Login or register? – I personally find it annoying having to register with a site in order to complete an online sale. However should you require that customers register, you should do so here.
· Payment – customers should then add their payment and shipping details.
· Thank you – a thank you page should summarise the order, summarise the payment, provide reference numbers and include information about how to print the confirmation page etc.


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