Customer Experience

5 ways to fix your online checkout experience

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Aussie businesses can revitalise their customer checkout experience by making some simple changes.

Smarter spoke with PayPal’s Australian managing director, Jeff Clementz, to find out how your business can do better online.

According to the online payment provider’s own research, local online retailers are becoming attractive targets for fraud - non-PayPal sellers could be losing up to 1.5 per cent of sales to scams on average. Clementz said that small businesses could also be leaking sales by giving customers a poor online shopping experience.

Here are five ways Aussie businesses can revive their online encounter.

infographic diagram of different eCommerce tools

1. Rethink the checkout

Small online retailers need to remove weaknesses in their online selling practices to minimise their risk of losses to fraud and unhappy customers, notes Clementz:

“Ultimately small businesses are in the business of serving consumers and meeting consumer needs and expectations. Those are the critical propositions that merchants need to think about when building their checkout experience.”

Mr Clementz said it was important to understand that consumers were more wary when dealing with smaller businesses online. This means you have to work harder to earn your customers’ trust. And you need to make the experience more straightforward.

Nothing is worse than getting to the checkout and getting surprised by the shipping cost.

- SEAN O'BRIEN, PROFESSIONAL eBAY & E-COMMERCE SELLERS ALLIANCE

2. Don’t ask too much

“What we hear from consumers is that they don’t want to enter endless amounts of information in the checkout flow,” Clementz said.

“They don’t want to have to type in their credit card information, they don’t want to share it across the internet – especially with a small business they do not know. They don’t want to enter in their address over and over again”.

3. Win customer trust with secure payment methods

Clementz suggested that smaller online retailers also needed to let consumers know that a reputable payment method was available from their sites as early as possible in the online engagement process.

“The earlier that they know there’s a trusted way to pay, consumers can have the peace of mind to actually start into that checkout process, select something to put in their basket and continue with checking out,” he said.

4. Make the shopping cart mobile-friendly

About 25 per cent of transactions currently processed on the online payment provider’s platform are completed on mobile devices, according to Clementz. This means that it is now crucial that Aussie businesses’ online checkouts work effectively on mobile devices.

“Its important for small businesses to work with their shopping cart provider to optimise their website for a mobile device,” Clementz explained. “That’s critical because consumers don’t want to pinch and squeeze on a mobile device; they want the site to be optimised and most good shopping cart applications on the market will mobile optimise.”

5. Keep it simple – and obvious

Sean O’Brien, president of the Professional eBay & E-commerce Sellers Alliance added that online retailers need to rethink their store designs to avoid annoying customers.

O’Brien noted that too many online stores are overly complicated. Instead, every step needs to be efficient and should help customers get what they want quickly:

“One page checkout certainly makes it a lot easier for the customer instead of having multiple pages,” said O’Brien. “You should also tell customers what your shipping is before getting to the checkout because nothing is worse than getting to the checkout and getting surprised by the shipping cost.”

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