Checkout Envy

online_christmas_shopping_womanI love going to Baymard Institute to learn different ways to improve our company’s checkout process.  They just published their new site rankings. The top e-commerce websites have given me a case of checkout envy!  

The top 3 websites based on Checkout Usability are

  1. B&H Photo Video
  2. Home Depot
  3. Staples

The 7 major changes implemented by the 10 highest-ranked e-commerce websites based on checkout usability:

      1. Cart Summary should estimate tax and shipping

        • Display an estimate of all customer costs at the earliest possible step in the Checkout process.
        • B&H Photo Video does an excellent job of this. They ask for the country and zip code in their Cart Summary. An estimate of taxes, duties, and shipping is then listed.  It saves the entered information for filling in the Shipping Address.
      2. Add Store Pick Up option

        • For retailers with physical stores, Store Pick Up options are more prominently included in the Checkout process.
        • This is on a per item basis.
        • Home Depot also includes the aisle number where you can find products in their stores.
      3. Ask for Email with the Checkout as Guest button

        • In the login or Checkout as a Guest step, some include the Email field for guest checkout.
        • They explain why they need the Email (for sending receipts or any other communication regarding the order).
      4. Ask for Shipping Address first.

        • The first step of the Checkout Process usually involves getting the Address Information.  The customer is more concerned with telling you where to ship their order.
        • Most stores asked for the billing address first. This lets customer know that you’re more concerned about getting their money.
        • Most customers will have the same billing and shipping address anyway.  You can equate the shipping address to the billing address. Give them an option to change it in the Payment Step.
        • Staples uses Google Maps API to auto-suggest addresses as you type in your street address.  It displays a single address field when the page loads. As the customer types it gives them suggestions. Once an address is chosen, Staples completes all the required fields.
      5. Add Address Verification

        • Verify the customer’s entered address and suggest corrections in a popup window.
        • Have the customer approve the corrected address.
      6. Display Summary of Previous Step & Link to Change Information Entered

        • Although it is best if the Checkout Process is linear, a summary of information customers enter is helpful.
        • Allow customers to change the information with a click of a link. The path to completing the order will not get disrupted by back button issues.
      7. Order Confirmation

        • Most of the top websites added their Create an Account form.
        • I love how B&H Photo Video added a map with markers representing the delivery address and where the order is shipping from.
        • Estimated Arrival Dates were also added by most of the top sites.
        • Display how to contact Customer Service and a Return Policy link.

And that completes my To-Do List of improvements for our own checkout process!  The more user-friendly our checkout process becomes, the higher our conversation rate grows.  Less obstacles means more customers will complete the checkout and place the order.

The checkout process is no longer just a bunch of boring forms. User experience designers have added so much helpful functionality to it that I have grown more and more fascinated with improving ours.  And hopefully, we make it to the top 3 most usable e-commerce checkouts soon!