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Common Reasons for Dropouts in the Checkout Process

by | Jul 1, 2013 | Articles, Web Design, Web Development | 0 comments

Common Reasons for Dropouts in the Checkout Process

Shoppers frequently add items and products to their online shopping baskets but fail to complete the checkout process. Why? It can be quite disheartening for retailers, especially for small and local businesses, but is it because shoppers simply no longer want the item, or is it actually down to the retailer? Can retailers do anything to reduce dropout figures, and increase successful transactions?

checkout process Security Concerns

With online credit card fraud figures on the rise again in the UK, security issues are one of the primary reasons why shopping baskets may be abandoned by wary shoppers. There are many ways to implement security measures and ensure existing methods are providing peace of mind, and they’re easy to do. Firstly, consider adding some, or more, trust marks to the website. Of course, there are numerous examples of major international brands that choose not to use trust marks, but these corporations are usually large enough to ride on reputation and word of mouth alone. For smaller businesses or start-ups, trust marks are essential.

Ensure the website works adequately on all popular web browsers, with the security padlock clearly displayed. If a website works in one browser and not another, it may be seen as a sign that the site is not legitimate, especially by tech-savvy shoppers. It may also be beneficial to implement an additional step in the checkout process, 3-D Secure Technology, which puts some distance between the shopper and the retailer. When this technology is used, shoppers send their personal data to an approved financial services provider, rather than an unknown company, creating a confidence in the buying process due to the reduced risk of fraud.

Time Issues

If a website takes a long time to load, chances are shoppers are not going to stick around. It’s well worth clicking onto the website every so often and checking the loading speed of the checkout pages. If it’s slow, it’s a problem, but there are ways to fix it. One of the most common reasons for slow websites is images or, more specifically, incompatible images. Images need to be optimized before being uploaded, as uploading full-sized, uncropped graphics are going to drain bandwidth. Instead, optimize the image by resizing, cropping, and even changing the format if necessary to speed up download times.

Another common reason for slow loading webpages is the use of media. Videos and sounds may seem like a good idea but they slow down loading times considerably. It’s much better to stick to basic HTML websites which are not only quicker, but exude far more professionalism. Finally, it could be worth checking with the website hosting company. There are some excellent hosting deals to be had, but many of these budget offers are for shared hosting, where numerous websites all share the same server. If there’s great activity on some of the sites, it will impact the others significantly.

Hidden Charges

Hidden charges are a sneaky technique used by some businesses to encourage shoppers to part with more money than they were expecting. The rationale is that once a shopper has mentally committed to the purchase, the addition of a few extra pounds isn’t going to change their mind. Wrong! In times of recession, many shoppers are sticking to a strict budget, and chose to buy specific items because they fit in with said budget. If a retailer then increases the overall price, in whatever manner, shoppers are likely to abandon their basket right then and there.

Popular ways retailers do this is to list products pre-tax, which shows items as costing 20 percent less than what the shopper will ultimately pay. Whilst this isn’t illegal, retailers need to make it clear before the checkout process that, for taxable purchases, there will be a 20 percent increase on the listed price. Another method used is adding high delivery charges onto items, details of which aren’t made easily visible until the checkout process. Admittedly, delivery charges can be a way of receiving a little more income per sale, but it needs to be kept reasonable. With so many websites offering free delivery, why should shoppers feel they need to pay? Prices should always be ‘what you see is what you get’.

Personal Information Requests

No shopper wants to part with more personal information than is absolutely necessary, so websites that ask for such disclosure are at risk of losing customers. When buying online, the only vital information a customer should need to part with is name and address, followed by credit card or other payment details. Number of children in the household, how much alcohol they drink each week and amount of trips abroad each year are not needed for purchases. A shop assistant wouldn’t ask for this information, so neither should a legitimate website.

Websites that do ask these questions for whatever reason are at risk of being seen as intrusive with the intention of selling customer’s details to third parties who then send spam mailings and make nuisance sales calls. It’s certainly not unusual for websites to ask a new customer to register, but the registration process should be little more than the information listed above, perhaps with the addition of an email address or telephone number for order queries. Don’t make it personal, keep it professional.

How to Reduce Dropout Percentages

The best way to reduce dropout percentages is to act like a customer, see what the shopper sees throughout the payment processing journey. Implement some measures above, and go through the checkout process as a customer, seeing what’s good, what could be improved upon, and what needs changing as a matter of urgency. Keep checking web statistics, and see how the dropout rate changes with each additional measure.


About the author:This article was written by a London based finance blogger.
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