Check-out success – is it all about the finish line?

Information published by Scottish Enterprise suggests that the UK is one of the world’s leading countries for ecommerce, with a higher proportion of online retail transactions than any other major economy.

However, the UK’s ecommerce shop styles vary hugely, with much more diversity than you would ever find on the high street. Some ecommerce shops are good, some are very good, and some are... well, missing the point and running the race backwards.

So: what are the good sites doing? They’re focusing on the winning line.

“What’s the difference between the finish line and winning line?” we hear you ask. The difference is that last place still crosses the finish line, but it’s not as rewarding as nabbing that gold medal.

Customers are looking for much more (and expect much more) from ecommerce sites than simple order fulfillment. You can have the best product information and a good check-out process, but customers will still hunt around other websites in search of a better deal.


What does the winning line look like?

Easy. Yes, easy. Your customers want an easy decision.

Assuming you’ve got the product information right, and your price is competitive, what else makes an easy decision? First, you need to address the major barriers to purchasing:

  • Trust. Do they trust your website enough to enter credit card details?

  • Access. Do they have their payment details on them?

  • Knowledge. Do they remember their delivery address & postcode?

  • Ease. Are they a mobile user who finds data entry on a mini keyboard painful?


If you want to win success at checkouts, try the following options:



Update your payment process

Your website no longer needs to ask for delivery addresses or contact information. Gateways like Amazon Payments and Apple Pay can handle this for you, as they already have the customer’s details stored. For mobile users and customers who don’t have their billing details to hand, it makes the decision easy.

Both Amazon and Apple are big, trustworthy brands. Using their payment gateways makes the whole checkout process as simple as a single thumb scan on the user’s phone, or a quick account login. Your customer makes the purchase, and their billing and delivery details are sent to you, all with one click.



Make address look-up easier

Not everyone has an Apple or Amazon account, so you still need the option for manual address entry. Address look-ups like PCAPredict make this very easy– the customer doesn’t even need to know their postcode.



Think about the upsell

It’s not always about that single purchase. Put the customer at ease and give them an in-store experience by guiding them through the sale. Show them recommended and related items when they add something to their basket, encouraging them to browse further.  If your ecommerce site sells unique items, products that are complemented by accessories, or products that need related items such as batteries and lightbulbs, then a fuller shopping experience is essential.



Quote delivery price

People want an idea of delivery costs before they hand over their payment details. Even if you can only give an estimate, there are a few ways to make this information easy to find:

  • Use a geo-location tool to make an educated guess at location.

  • State standard delivery costs.

  • Add a drop-down menu so the user can check delivery prices for their region.



Forget user registration

And finally, if your website still asks users to register for an account, it’s time to think smart and make it easy. Forcing customers to register is off-putting and unnecessary – you don’t need it, and they don’t want to do it. You might be asking for something as simple as a password, but it still takes time and puts people off. You can send them a link to create an account after you make the sale.

Remember: the long race strategy wins.


At Mercurytide we believe in making e-commerce work for everyone, the customer and the business. That's why we have developed a bespoke e-commerce approach to rapidly deliver everything you'd expect from an e-commerce website, but fully bespoke to match all your needs.

If you have any questions about the points I've raised, or want a more in-depth chat about all things ecommerce, please get in touch.