How to Build an Effective Ecommerce Checkout Flow for Your Business

September 24th, 2021 Comments off

Online sales are skyrocketing. In the first quarter of 2021, ecommerce sales increased by 39.1% from the same period in 2020. If you run an ecommerce business, there is a vast market where you can get significant revenue.

However, while your small business website has high traffic and your customers fill their carts with products, your sales might still be lower than expected. The reason? High cart and checkout abandonment rates.

This guide will explain how you can optimize your ecommerce checkout flow to guide customers from filling their cart to completing a purchase. You will learn what a typical checkout flow looks like, the difference between cart and checkout abandonment, and discover seven ways to improve your website’s checkout flow.

What is a typical checkout flow?

The ecommerce checkout flow consists of the steps your customers take to browse for products and make a purchase. The checkout flow transforms website visitors into buyers. It typically has seven steps:

typical cart checkout flow

The ecommerce business checkout flow serves two main purposes:

  1. Allow customers to pay for products
  2. Gather information about the customer, such as their name and email address.

You’ll need customer information for future promotions. Gathering customer data also allows you to make future purchases more convenient for the customer.

Checkout abandonment vs. cart abandonment: what’s the difference?

We’ve outlined the typical checkout flow, but where do customers abandon their cart or abandon the checkout in this process? And what is the difference between checkout abandonment and cart abandonment?

The difference between checkout abandonment and cart abandonment lies in when the user abandons the purchase.

understanding checkout abandonment

Image Created By Writer

Cart abandonment occurs when a customer adds products to their cart and leaves the site without proceeding to payment. According to Statista, customers abandoned an average of 88.05% of online carts in 2020. The typical reasons for cart abandonment include a lack of genuine interest in products or unstable websites.

In contrast, checkout abandonment occurs after the customer enters their payment details and before making the payment. Customers abandon the checkout process because of high shipping costs or additional fees, complicated processes, or forced account creation.

Luckily, whether you’re already running an online shop or plan on starting an online business, there are many ways you can optimize your checkout flow to reduce rates of cart and checkout abandonment and boost your sales.

7 ways to make your checkout flow more efficient

The first part of this guide sets the context. Now we get to the meaty part of the guide. What follows are seven strategies you can implement to make your checkout flow more efficient.

#1 Be upfront about extra costs

Extra costs at checkout, such as shipping, tax, and fees, is the top reason for checkout abandonment. There is nothing worse than being shocked by extra costs when they try to check out a purchase for customers.

top customer reasons for cart abandonment

Source: Baymard

Removing additional fees at the time of checkout doesn’t mean you need to shoulder the costs of shipping and taxes. However, you need to be transparent about costs before the checkout process begins. When customers view their cart, your site should display all the added fees, so there are no surprises at the end of the process.

Providing a way for customers to control these costs will help keep cart abandonment rates low. You could offer multiple shipping options such as USPS Priority Mail, increase your listed product prices upfront to account for shipping and handling, or waive shipping costs for orders over a certain amount.

#2 Optimize loading speed

If you want to buy a product, but the website keeps crashing or won’t load, there’s a good chance you won’t go ahead with the purchase. In addition, poor website performance can also damage your visitors’ trust in your business.

Many factors could affect your website’s loading speed. These include:

  • A poor web hosting provider
  • Third-party ads
  • Widgets and plugins
  • Large image and video files

The checkout flow has many steps and different pages, so all the pages in the checkout process should load quickly. You can use Google Pagespeed Insights or other free services to check your website’s load speed.

If your pages consistently take too long to load, it might be time to find the reason. If widgets, ads, or large images and video files slow your website speed, you may need to remove these. Otherwise, it might be time to upgrade your hosting or ecommerce platform provider.

#3 Don’t force your customers into creating an account

Many ecommerce businesses encourage users to create an account as it can facilitate repeat purchases and lets the retailer send marketing emails to the user. However, some customers would rather abandon their cart or checkout process than provide their email address as they feel it’s an unnecessary step.

example of cart checkout as guest

Source: UXdesign.cc

Giving your customers the option to check out as a guest will help improve conversion rates. You may also use an API to allow customers to register using their social media or Google account.

#4 Make the purchase sequence as simple as possible

A complicated and confusing checkout flow can be a killer for your conversion rates. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can streamline the purchase sequence to make checking out easy and fast for your customers. These include:

  • Offer multiple payment options: Letting your customers pay with a digital wallet such as Apple Pay, PayPal, or Klarna will make checking out more convenient.
  • Create a mobile app: More and more ecommerce businesses have dedicated mobile apps to allow customers to make purchases and access after-sales support.
  • Display cart contents in real-time: When a customer views their cart, they want to see thumbnail images, size and color selection, price and quantity clearly.

By making the purchase sequence clear and easy to follow, you make the overall experience more pleasant for the customer, which helps reduce checkout abandonment.

#5 Add trust badges to your checkout page

When checking out, ensuring that your website appears trustworthy to customers is essential to getting your customers to complete their transactions. After all, they are entering their payment details and are about to give you their hard-earned money. Online shoppers are increasingly wary of websites that could be stealing their data or scamming them.

Trust badges are a great way to show customers that you are a legitimate business. Some trust badges to add to your website include:

  • Money-back and returns guarantee: Adding badges to the checkout pages that remind customers you offer free returns and/or a money-back guarantee is a great way to reassure them while making their purchase.
  • Free shipping: A free shipping badge displayed on your website and at each stage of the checkout flow reassures customers that shipping will be free and they won’t encounter any surprises at checkout.
  • Accepted payments: This badge shows your customers the payment method your site accepts, such as Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, or American Express.
  • Third-party endorsements: Third-party endorsement badges show that your business is credible. The Better Business Bureau Accredited Business and Google Customer Review badges are both trustworthy badges to add to your ecommerce website.

Trust badges are a great way to reassure your customers that your ecommerce business is legitimate, trustworthy, and flexible in terms of payment methods, shipping, and returns.

#6 Send cart and checkout abandonment emails

Even if you’ve made your checkout flow simple and straightforward, a few are still bound to fall through the cracks. Cart and checkout abandonment emails can boost conversion by encouraging customers to complete their purchases.

sending emails for cart abandonment

Source

When customers abandon their cart or checkout, they tend to forget it altogether. However, sending a checkout abandonment email can help your business save abandoned transactions. One report found that 50% of users who clicked on cart abandonment emails pushed through with the purchase, proving that abandonment does not need to be a dead end.

To create that FOMO, you can provide a discount for a limited time. You can use an email countdown timer to add that extra bit of pressure to make them complete a purchase.

#7 Add an auto-save feature to your shopping cart

Sometimes customers need time to decide whether or not to buy a product. If they leave an item in their cart, leave your site, and return to see an empty cart, they probably won’t be inclined towards repeating their browsing experience.

Adding an auto-save feature to your online shopping cart means when customers return to your site, their cart will still have all their chosen products in it. An auto-save feature makes it easy and convenient for customers to continue with their purchases.

Removing additional fees at the time of checkout doesn’t mean you need to shoulder the costs of shipping and taxes. However, you need to be transparent about costs before the checkout process begins. When customers view their cart, your site should display all the added fees, so there are no surprises at the end of the process.

Providing a way for customers to control these costs will help keep cart abandonment rates low. You could offer multiple shipping options such as USPS Priority Mail, increase your listed product prices upfront to account for shipping and handling, or waive shipping costs for orders over a certain amount.

Wrapping Up

When you run an ecommerce business, it’s easy to focus your efforts on driving website traffic and optimizing your website’s appearance and usability. However, you should not forget to build an effective checkout flow to encourage your customers to complete their purchases.

The methods we’ve discussed in this article aim to improve your process flow by removing barriers to smooth checkout and reducing cart and checkout abandonments. While they may seem different, they all seek to make the process simple and convenient for your customers. When you accomplish this goal, you can expect an increase in orders and revenue.

Bio

Jimmy RodriguezJimmy Rodriguez is the COO of Shift4Shop, a completely free, enterprise-grade ecommerce solution. He’s dedicated to helping internet retailers succeed online by developing digital marketing strategies and optimized shopping experiences that drive conversions and improve business performance

Try UPS Next Day Air® for Your Professional Mailing Needs Today!

September 14th, 2021 Comments off

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How to Add UPS Shipping to Your Stamps.com Account
Adding UPS Shipping to your Stamps.com account couldn’t be easier. Go to “Settings” in your Stamps.com account, select “Add a Carrier” and select “UPS.” Once you activate your account, you’ll be ready to ship and take advantage of all the benefits of UPS through Stamps.com.

Categories: UPS Shipping Tags:

WooCommerce Dynamic Pricing – A Weird Way to Optimize Conversion Rates

May 20th, 2021 Comments off

Introduction to Dynamic Pricing

If you want your business to scale, you need to stay with the times. Nowadays, consumers are highly aware of the market and do their research on a brand before making a purchase. Thus, it’s important to be aware of the current online retailer trends to stay on top. One such common trend in today’s e-commerce competitive marketplace is dynamic pricing. Strategically adjusting the price of your product to match the current demands is a sure way to gain customers’ attention and make them choose you for their business.

So how does it work? Dynamic pricing curates prices for products by gathering large amounts of data regarding customer demand, competitors, and market conditions. So the prices are always changing depending on the market and time. This is especially beneficial for businesses related to traveling, e-commerce, transportation, etc.

But is it beneficial for consumers? Are there any disadvantages associated with it? And how to implement it? We are going to answer this and much more ahead, so keep on reading.

Dynamic Pricing Strategies

Dynamic pricing is available in multiple forms which you can implement depending on your business and product type:

1.    Time-Based Pricing

In the time-based pricing strategy, businesses can increase or lower the price of products based on their inventory available in their store or warehouse, date of release, and competitor price. Businesses can also use specific hours of a day to increase their sales, such as “happy hours” in a bar or offer same-day delivery with slightly higher prices.  

2.    Market-Based Pricing

Fluctuation in the market is a common thing and recent times have made us more aware of this than ever. Businesses would need to lower their prices if the demand decreases and increase the prices when demand is high.

3.    Segmented Pricing

Segmented pricing refers to setting different prices for the same product. This is done by segmenting the buyer into categories, such as prices that could be higher or lower based on location, delivery time, membership, high-value customers, and much more. You can also set prices for the services provided, such as faster delivery and quality. Through segmented pricing, everyone can afford your product on their terms.

4.    Penetration Pricing

Penetration pricing is perfect for new businesses who want to get noticed immediately. This strategy involves initially pricing the products and services at prices lower than those provided by the competitors. This results in increased visibility which helps startups gain the traffic they desire.

5.    Peak Pricing

Peak pricing is implemented when the demand is high and the competition is low. It is mostly employed during peak hours or seasonal sales where the products are priced dynamically to result in more sales. For example, during the holiday season, travelers buying airplane tickets normally see much higher prices than in non-seasonal time. 

There are many dynamic pricing plugins available that can set up different pricing strategies and analyze results to see which works best for your business.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Dynamic Pricing

Dynamic pricing can easily go sideways if not implemented property and thus along with advantages, it has few disadvantages as well. Let’s see if the pros outweigh the cons in this matter.

Advantages

1.     Increased Profit

By implementing dynamic pricing on your online store, you can benefit from increased sales and revenue. How? Because the machine collecting data to create a specific algorithm for your business makes sure your pricing is right. For example, if your competitor is selling the product for $3 and you sell them for $1. The dynamic pricing strategy will price your product at $2, which will be profitable for your business and also improve customer satisfaction as they believe they are getting a better deal from you.

2.     Knowing Your Competitors

Perfectly implementing a dynamic pricing strategy requires you to know your competitors. It is important to know what your successors have been doing. What are their prices? How do they price their products? When and how do they lower or increase prices? And much more. Once you have a clear view of your competitors, you can improve and implement these strategies seamlessly in your store.

3.     Customer Insight

The better you know your customers, the easier it will be to sell to them. Dynamic pricing provides you insight into your customer behavior, their shopping hours, their willingness to pay a price, their interests, and their demands. This helps you provide an optimum shopping experience to your customers and result in increased sales.

Disadvantages

1.     Increase in Competition

Dynamic pricing can easily get out of hand and start a price war. Now, what’s a price war? If a single business lowers its price to gain customers, similarly another business does the same and soon all other competitors follow which leads to incredibly reduced prices which are gaining no profit for the businesses.

2.     Distrust in Customers

These price wars lead to distrust in customers as well. How? If your loyal customers find out that someone else got the same product at half the price from another vendor, they will feel cheated. And no matter how loyal a customer is, a further reduced price is sure to get them converted to another business. 

To avoid these errors, make sure to have a perfect dynamic strategy in place and stay true to it because overdoing dynamic pricing could result in loss.

How to Implement Dynamic Pricing on your WooCommerce Store

There are many ways you can implement and integrate dynamic pricing into your online store. Setting up dynamic pricing cannot be done overnight. It is a long and laborious process of easing into the market, getting the customers, and increasing profit keeping the demand in view. Below we have mentioned a few strategies that you can implement on your site to properly enable dynamic pricing.

1.    Initial Pricing

As mentioned above, this pricing strategy is employed by new business owners, who introduce products at prices that are considerably lesser than the competitor. How? Because they take little profit at the beginning to gain customers and then once a strong client list has been established, the prices are gradually increased.

2.    Introduce Bundle Pricing

Another effective way to introduce dynamic pricing is by creating bundles. This is great for businesses that deal with clothes, food, sports equipment, etc. For example, an online store that deals with computers and their accessories, can bundle up a complete computer system and sell it for a slightly discounted price. This would help in increasing sales as your customers think they are getting a good offer and also increase the average order value. 

3.    Offer Discounts and Coupons

We all know customers love a good deal. Coupons and discounts are great for attracting the audience’s attention, but too much use of this dynamic pricing strategy could result in less profit, the difficulty of increasing the prices later on, and also makes your product seem cheap. Thus, it is recommended to occasionally and strategically place discounts depending on the need.

Final Thoughts on Dynamic Pricing

Dynamic pricing can be an ideal solution for the competitive e-commerce market, but it can also create customer mistrust in your brand  if misused. Thus, it is important to devise a proper strategy and work accordingly. Overdoing anything will have its consequences, such as running year-long discounts will give your customers the impression that your products are cheap or they won’t purchase when you increase the price. It is a continuous ongoing process and you need to improve and implement it on the way based on the supply and demand.

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Stamps.com’s direct integration with WooCommerce allows online retailers to easily import, manage, and ship your e-commerce orders. Benefits include:

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Author’s Bio

Xaviera Khalid is the content writer at WooKeeper.com. She is an avid reader and uses her creativity to write interesting articles about WooCommerce and its related topics. She focuses on SEO-optimized content and provides factual writing.

Categories: Ecommerce Shipping Tags:

Maximizing Profits on eBay: Four Hot Products to Sell Now!

May 7th, 2021 Comments off

Even though I am an eBay seller and educator with 16 years’ experience and 20,000 + feedback, I am constantly trying to think of ways to work smarter, not harder.  Last January, right before COVID hit, I decided to downsize and streamline my eBay business.  Instead of running it out of a warehouse, I moved it back to my house.  When social distancing became the norm, I started doing all of the listing myself instead of paying someone to list.  Because of all of these changes, I became laser focused on low-cost products that are easy to source, easy to store, and easy to ship.  As a result, I sell less but make more! 

The following four items are among the type of products I now sell on a regular basis.  If you don’t have much space, and you want to maximize profits in 2021, don’t miss out on these easy-to-source products:  

#1 Women’s bras and lightweight tops:  Both of these products meet the aforementioned criteria.  Heavily padded bras in all sizes from brands such as Victoria’s Secret are always hot sellers.  Be sure to mention style names in the titles of the listings you create.  Lightweight tops (especially camisole-type tank tops) from companies such as White House Black Market are also popular.  Bras and tops are easy to find at yard sales where they often hide in large piles of clothing and can be purchased for next to nothing.  In general, try to focus on those items that are light enough to be sent via First Class Package Service (under 1 lb.).

#2 Swimsuits:  Name brand swimsuits for men and women are also fun to sell.  Swimsuits are easy to store, and they don’t weigh much.  Focus on new or almost new name brand suits that are photogenic. As far as sizes go, the bigger the better.  A few years ago, I purchased 90 name brand swimsuits at an end-of-the-summer sale at a local thrift shop.  During COVID, there were no yard sales, and shopping at thrift shops was not an option.  That’s when I pulled out the bags full of swimsuits I had purchased!      

#3 Lego Minifigures: Legos can be sold by the pound, but did you know that Lego minifigures can be sold individually for a nice profit?  Minifigures (or minifigs) are small, lightweight figurines produced by the Lego company.  Both children and adults collect minifigs, and they are sold individually or as parts of sets.  Some are produced to fit a certain theme while others are specific characters from film, television, or game franchises.  We often purchase large lots of Legos and sift through them looking for minifigs.

#4 Vintage ashtrays and plates: I love listing vintage ashtrays and plates from bars, restaurants, and hotels, especially if the establishments no longer exist.  I recently sold a set of four small vintage dessert plates from a hotel for $60.  These treasures are relatively easy to find at estate sales and can be listed in just a few minutes from just about anywhere. 

eBay Seller Tip!  Remember, you make your money when you buy!  So when you’re out and about sourcing for your online business, don’t miss out on these small, lightweight, easy-to-source items that will help you maximize profits in 2021!

About the Author
Miriam Otto is an e-commerce blogger and credentialed teacher with 16 years’ experience selling on eBay.  She was a frequent guest on eBay Radio and has participated in eBay seller panels and projects.

Categories: Ebay Shipping Tags:

COVID-19’s Impact on USPS International Shipping Deadlines

October 22nd, 2020 Comments off

A typical year would have us just simply post the USPS holiday shipping deadlines and say “enjoy a great holiday shipping season”, but this year is like none other.

In my 20+ years of work with USPS international services I’ve never witnessed a more interesting year than 2020. I spoke with Kelley Martinez, Vice-President at RR Donnelly (a large international consolidator) and she agreed “It has been a very unique year with every day presenting new challenges. Volume surges during historically slower periods coupled with destination suspensions and resumptions with little notice has been both challenging and rewarding.” 

So, let’s have an honest conversation about 2020 “Peak” and what you really need to know about the international shipping deadlines for the 2020 holiday season.

Holiday Shipping Deadlines at First Glance

After reviewing the holiday shipping deadline (see table below) for major international markets, the USPS deadlines have not changed much from previous years. This is very interesting since postal and shipping carriers across the globe have seen delivery delays due to COVID-19 closures and increased residential delivery due to growth in e-commerce. 

First Class Package International Service201820192020
Africa1-Dec30-Nov30-Nov
Asia/Pacific Rim8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Australia/New Zealand8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Canada8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Caribbean8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Central & South America1-Dec30-Nov30-Nov
Mexico8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Europe 8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Middle East8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Priority Mail International201820192020
Africa1-Dec30-Nov30-Nov
Asia/Pacific Rim8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Australia/New Zealand8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Canada8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Caribbean8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Central & South America1-Dec30-Nov30-Nov
Mexico8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Europe 8-Dec9-Dec7-Dec
Middle East8-Dec9-Dec7-Dec
Priority Mail Express International201820192020
Africa8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Asia/Pacific Rim15-Dec14-Dec14-Dec
Australia/New Zealand15-Dec14-Dec14-Dec
Canada15-Dec16-Dec14-Dec
Caribbean15-Dec14-Dec14-Dec
Central & South America8-Dec7-Dec7-Dec
Mexico15-Dec14-Dec14-Dec
Europe 15-Dec14-Dec14-Dec
Middle East15-Dec14-Dec14-Dec

There are two challenges that we feel will have a significant impact on international parcel delivery during the holiday peak period.  After analyzing global parcel delivery over the last 120 days, we feel you should allow for 1-2 weeks of delay for peak this year. So, if take the most popular product by volume and destination (First Class Package International Service to Canada) and the USPS deadline provides a “mail by December 7” date, then I would try to have it out by November 30 to be safe.

Challenge #1 – COVID-19’s Impact on International Airplane Transportation

Many might not know, but those very planes you take to visit your Aunt in France are the same planes that deliver packages to other countries. Reduced routes because of COVID-19 means fewer flights and fewer flights means more packages being held waiting at transportation hubs. The situation became such an issue that USPS has resorted to ocean freight for parcels. If transportation is still limited during the holiday season, then we should expect continued delays from international transportation alone.

Challenge #2 – COVID-19’s Impact on Domestic Parcel Delivery

USPS has five international service centers located around the country in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and Miami. Depending on where you ship your package, your shipments will travel through one of these locations. To get your package to these locations, your shipments will travel on the very same network used for domestic shipments. Right now, USPS is experiencing an increase in domestic parcel delivery (up 46% in July 2020, compared to July 2019 according to data from ShipMatrix) and the holiday peak period is starting to look like a monster. If the domestic network gets clogged it will surely impact the speed of your international shipments to one of those processing centers.

Giving a Refresh on the USPS International Shipping Deadlines

I would start your Q4 seasonal sales promotions by at least two weeks earlier than previous years. By doing so it will allow a little more time to get your packages to your recipient and it will fall outside the typical holiday windows that will impact domestic and international transportation.

Should I Seek an Alternative Carrier?

Not necessarily. USPS still offers a very competitively priced product and with proper planning, you should be fine. Also, other alternatives are not immune to some of the same delivery issues and this year looks to be a challenge for all in the international shipping space. At GlobalPost, we try to address these impacts by using a mix of postal based services using USPS and other postal operators to provide the best possible postal optimized delivery experience. 

What is GlobalPost?

The GlobalPost delivery network leverages partnerships with international postal operators as well as commercial carriers to offer worldwide delivery. GlobalPost services reach over 200 countries and territories and include features not found in traditional international postal services. Get more info on International Shipping.

About the author

Shea Felix, General Manager – GlobalPost

With years of implementing global business solutions under his belt, Shea Felix brings distinct insights into the world of shipping. As the global shipping guru for Stamps.com, Shea inspires and empowers small businesses to take their services global. He is experienced in strategic planning and tactical execution, and has an exceptional understanding of product development, cross-border trade and logistics, e-commerce technology, website and mobile design, and global online marketplaces.

Categories: International Shipping Tags:

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