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  1. Tomasz Mazur

    Hey Peep,

    Super thourough walk-trough. Thanks for sharing this.

    I have a question regarding coupons. I was working for a huge retailer here in Germany and we’ve used to have so many complaints regarding coupons in general. One of the main issue for PM team was of course how and where place the input field.

    I understand the reasoning behind:

    Because in the end there more customers without a coupon anyways. Moreover coupons are just bad for the RPU.

    However, for many people, especially new customers coupon is a trigger to buy. They can easily abandond their cart if they see that they have to pay full price.

    Maybe there is a way to personalize it, based on cookie information so make it more/less prominent for new visitors.

    What do you think?

    Reply
  2. Vijay Ravi

    This is a very good article , like the way you have approached it.

    Reply
  3. Milos Milosavljevic

    Conversion tip.

    In the right corner you have a floating registration form with a download freebie. I entered my email and pressed download midway through the article. When I clicked I was taken to a thank you page.
    Dish the thank you in a new overlay in the same place and track with event tracking (click on download button), so the reading experience is uninterupted

    Reply
  4. Georges

    Loved it! Great extensive walk-through! Will be using the comments to analyse our shopping cart platform!

    Reply
  5. David

    I would love to know if the Skeucard method helps or hurts conversions on paid subscription forms. My first reaction when seeing it was anxiety that it wasn’t a “real looking” or safe credit card form. I would expect a cleaner looking form with some security Icons would convert better.

    Reply
  6. Gabe

    Damn it, if only I could get someone at big commerce to read this. They break every rule and their checkout is horrible.

    It effects every customer they have and they don’t seem to care or even worse they don’t have anyone there that realizes what a problem it is.

    Reply
  7. Nand

    Great article and have a lot of new ideas. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
  8. Danielle

    Starting an e-commerce site and this is JUST what I needed to read. Thanks so much for a great article.

    Reply
  9. Brian

    You do a great job of breaking down items into actionable results, glad to have found you through Moz. We’re all tech savvy, we don’t mind buying things online. Secure payment is a great point especially if the buyers skew older.

    Reply
  10. Steve

    Wonderful article and very informative.

    We are using the magento platform for our site with the standard one page checkout. I was curious if you could recommend a magento extension that in your experience would improve the checkout flow and lead to higher conversions.

    Reply
  11. Brian Mathers

    For the web developers who are in their infancy at trying their hand building ecommerce websites this is a definite must read for them. But more importantly, I try to get Business Owners to read some of this stuff as they are the first to complain when the balance sheet is showing the website as not delivering on making money.

    Business owners should read articles like this and take the driving test towards understanding how conversion really works down at this level. And, to also understand this is why their website might cost a bit more build as having these processes in place will help them win more races online and have happy customers at the checkout.

    Peeps I can appreciate the time and effort you have taking towards putting this article together. Business Owners should actually be paying you for gifting them with this valuable blueprint to help grow their ecommerce websites future.

    Well done!

    Reply
  12. Clare

    Great article Peep. I’m amazed at how ‘set in stone’ many many of the checkout processes STILL are. It seems no one challenges them and marketers accept benchmark level conversions.

    Reply
  13. Osca

    What about not offering customers to register at all? I never remember my password on shops where I dont often buy (which is always the case right?) so why register…

    Offering it in the very last step (the thank you/confirmation page) seems the only way to offer registration, without affecting checkouts.

    Other question; what about 1 page checkouts? Do you have information about how the number of steps involved in the checkout process relates to overall checkout rates?

    Reply
    1. Peep Laja Peep Laja

      If your customers buy only once from you, no registration needed. If you sell smth that they might regularly buy, it’s a good idea to go for it.

      Single page vs multi-step checkouts: both work. You just have to figure out which approach works better for your site. Only way to know is to test it. What’s good about multi-step approach is that it’s easy to measure drop-off rates + if you capture email first (in the first step), you can attempt to recover abandoned carts.

  14. Kasey

    There are definitely a few ideas to try out on my site. Making the checkout process feel secure is more important than ever with all of the recent hackings that have happened (e.g. Target).

    Reply
  15. Vicky

    The other thing I’d be wary of is making credit card details split into first and last name. As a weird quirk of my UK bank, the name of my credit card is Ms J Doe rather Jane Doe, which can be problematic with forms (I usually have to put Miss J under first name and hope it works).

    Reply
  16. Michael

    Peep — Great post as always. Do you have any shopping carts you recommend that have a simple and efficient checkout process?

    Reply
    1. We use Prestashop and the checkout flow is pretty close to on par with what Peep has mentioned above. Although there could be some minor improvements, some that I have solved with various modules and custom coding.

  17. Excellent piece, as always Peep! I feel like I have a lot of these principles set up on my shop already but would love to get your insight if you have a minute to check out my shop. Thanks!!

    Reply
  18. Shane Q

    The example used for “Still bad” when requiring users to register during checkout is the default checkout process for Big Commerce. Has anyone had any success changing this? The scripts on Big Commerce tend to get a bit fickle when you start trying to change them around.

    Reply
  19. Michael

    Excellent post Peep,
    the info about skeumorphic display of credit card entries is great. They even use a special web font to make it look like on VISA-cards.
    To make things LOOK secure is even more important for conversion, than to make them actually secure (of course to really make them secure is obligatory). However, conversion is based on what users belief and perceive, not what is technically happening in the background. And with most people not tech savvy, little lock icons and trustmarks like TrustedShops, etc. are imperative for the step with the highest friction: Entering his CC number is a real financial vulnerability to the individual. Their insecurity and awareness about this fact needs special attention.

    Great work, I love to read your inspiring posts since a long time.
    Michael

    Reply
  20. Ravi Janardhan

    Thanks Peep, this is an enlightening post, absolutely.

    I think all relevant points of ecommerce funnel are touched upon.

    Reply
  21. Chris

    An excellent article and some great examples.

    @Peep you are 100% right. It is essential to store card details AND to have a good handle on security. If you make the customer work harder because you can’t be bothered to do the hard work needed to be secure, then you deserve to go out of business. Doing it right is ALL about the customer.

    Reply
  22. Michael

    Thanks Peep – I liked and retweeted. Excellent as always

    Reply
  23. Frank Ambat

    I like it on how you compare the designs of those big ecommerce sites and how we can get ideas from them.

    Reply
  24. Sean DeSilva

    I recently wrote of this topic under a different light in my newsletter. Dan Kennedy uses the term “greased chute”as a visual depiction for how you want to to help guide prospects through the sales process as effortlessly as possible. It boils down to minimizing friction wherever you can, using good marketing by itself since you don’t have a personal salesman online to guide them along like you would at a car dealership.

    Reply
  25. Georgene

    Excellent piece. The one thing I would caution readers against is actually storing credit card information themselves. PCI compliance is challenging, and by storing credit card info yourself, you are taking on the burden of guarding it. If even major merchants like Target have had data security breeches in recent history, what time and resources can you claim to have to defend credit card information better?

    The BBB provides a multi page checklist for PCI compliance.
    http://www.bbb.org/data-security/becoming-pci-compliant/checklists/

    While PCIComplianceGuide.org suggests that a checklist approach in and of itself isn’t enough.
    http://www.pcicomplianceguide.org/merchants-20110714-security-checklist.php

    There are merchant service tools like Stripe and Authorize.net which will allow you to maintain customer payment information, as well as process cards.
    (Stripe has this as a feature. https://stripe.com/docs/tutorials/charges Authorize.net as an add in service. http://www.authorize.net/solutions/merchantsolutions/merchantservices/cim/ )

    The burden is on them to maintain credit card security compliance, for the most part. You still have to design secure forms, and protect your connection and login information to these services. However, you are far less on the hook for guarding the specific credit info of dozens to thousands of individuals.

    Bonus: using merchant service-based payment storage may make implementing this excellent future purchase friction reduction tactic easier.

    Reply
    1. Peep Laja Peep Laja

      For every 1 merchant that gets hacked, there are 25 million that don’t.

      More than 1 plane have crashed, so you shouldn’t fly one. More than one car gets into an accident every day, so don’t drive one?

      Come on! This is ridiculous advice. You want to make more money == store credit card details.

    2. Georgene

      Well I personally won’t be flying any planes any time soon, because I’m not qualified. And of course I drive on a regular basis, but I observe the rules of the road, wear my seatbelt, and am grateful for things like airbags in case something goes really wrong.

      Just yesterday Fast Company put out an article about businesses and individuals getting hacked. http://www.fastcompany.com/3026672/the-code-war/why-do-companies-keep-getting-hacked

      Hacking and security failures are realities and risks of doing business. Doing everything you can to minimize those risks is smart for both you and your customers.

      The point of my criticism and advice is not to encourage people away from using store credit card information at all. It’s absolutely a smart move to reduce friction from future purchases by having their card information securely stored and ready to apply to the next transaction. That was never in dispute and I apologize if it seemed like I was trying to discredit that tactic.

      The point I was attempting to make here is that many people are ill equipped to do so in a way that they can guarantee reasonable safety.

      Quickly searching for PCI compliance audit brings up a wealth of potential pitfalls in credit card security. http://www.darkreading.com/compliance/top-10-pci-compliance-mistakes/232400411

      It also brings up a wealth of vendors who specialize in keeping businesses PCI compliant.

      My recommendation is to either:
      A) store credit card information with the help of a secure, reputable merchant service solution, and not in your own database
      B) if you are going to store within your own data warehouse, get someone to be dedicated to security compliance, whether that be a staff member or a vendor

      Since many businesses are small businesses who don’t have the resources to dedicate someone to watchdogging data, and even large businesses who do have additional staff still encounter difficulty with security, why not offload the burden of that security to an organization whose primary focus is PCI and credit card security? (i.e. a merchant service provider)

      Not only does that provide much needed security against disastrous data breeches, theft, and fraud, but it enables you to more quickly bring ideas like card storage for future use to fruition.

      Not to mention many of these security and merchant service providers give business owners security logos and other trust signals that businesses can use to reduce even more friction by ensuring they have the customer’s safety in mind.

    3. Peep Laja Peep Laja

      Of course I agree with you.

      My point is “store customer credit cards”. The “how” of it is another, highly technical, matter. Of course it should all be safe and secure, etc.

      My point is not to shy away from it because “I might get hacked”.

      Also in the case of Target the credit card info that was stolen was from in-store purchases, not online.

    4. Mike

      Peep – Correct – do not shy away from a good business practice because of some threat of being hacked. However, Georgene makes an excellent point about how tokenized payments still allow for this good business practice to exist, but removes much of the burdensome PCI requirements from the retailer. I guess with this approach the retailer can take your advice, focus more on creating a better checkout experience rather than focusing on how to secure the credit cards.

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