Putting some thought into how your e-commerce site will manage the purchase processing will pay off handsomely in completed sales and repeat sales. Consider the following:
- Use a secure sign authority (SSL certificate) such as Verisign or Scanalert. Once you have set your site up with these services, you can prominently display your authorization which will give your business credibility as a legitimate member of the internet business community.
- Put into place a site search function early in your web visitors experience. Web shoppers love to use search engines and it also gives you a point of contact to collect interest information from them which can be used later for marketing purposes.
- Be subtle in guiding your customers to the point of purchase. So many sites put a “buy now” button on every page which is pushy and tends to drive customers away. Instead, draw your customer in to more refined searches of your product catalog and then when they are at the level that you know they are looking at what they want, then guide them to the purchase process where your ecommerce shopping cart software is located.
- Review your purchase process to assure that it is easy, enjoyable and fast so the customer frustration is kept very low or eliminated. Have your site reviewed by friends and associates so they can give you an impartial review of how your purchase flow works for the average web customer. You know what to avoid because you know what upsets you when you buy online so use your own “customer” sense and transform that into good “business” sense.
- Retain input. Nothing frustrates online shoppers more than having to re-enter information they already provided. So if you harvest their information early in their visit, use that again later when they are signing up for a purchase. Display on the screen the information you have gathered. This has the two-fold benefit of letting them confirm that what you have is correct and it tells them that your web site is smart enough to remember what it has been told.
- Give your customers a point of review before they confirm the final purchase. Once they have made their product, shipping and other related choices, display a summary page of their purchase which represents their invoice. Give smooth and easy to use directions on how to make changes if needed and make it easy for them to print this invoice without all of your banner and marketing information on it.
- Make your checkout pages easy to look at and low on distractions. You can advertise to customers elsewhere. This is your checkout line so let your customers concentrate on buying from you and paying you.
- Ensure the customer is aware where they are in the purchase process and how much is left. On many very dominant internet commerce web sites, the purchase process seems to go on forever. If there is a five step process to the purchase, tell your customer what that is as they begin and let them know where they are as they go so they know they are on the right track and will be done soon.
- Communicate often with your customers about the purchase as it is processed. Send a confirmation email with the invoice to supplement the place online where they can purchase. As the purchase is processed, send frequent emails letting them know what is happening. This pleases the customer to know they are still important to you and gives you more chances to keep that relationship active and positive. And be sure to accommodate customers who want to communicate back to you either by hitting a email link in your email or by hitting “reply” on their email software. Always send a response to their emails and follow up. You can use an autoresponder to make sure you confirm the email and then follow up directly. These are customers you already have, bend over backward to please them.