Optimizing Your Checkout Experience
Broadcasting live from Philly in this week’s edition. I’m becoming more of a hOmEbOdY, enjoying the fall with a Brown Sugar Shaken Espresso—2 pumps of toffee nut syrup, please!
There's a lot of chatter about pre-purchase optimizations. Brands are pouring resources into ads, SEO, and CRO to drive traffic, but what happens when customers hit the checkout button?
The stats are a bit of a facepalm moment—on average, 80% of shoppers jump ship at checkout.
And from checkout to delivery? It’s more like a black hole customers plunge into after placing an order, twiddling their thumbs while they wait for a delivery update.
This is something I’ve been putting a ton of thought into, and it’s perfect topic for our first Q4 newsie.
I will be doing my best to make Q4 newsletters actionable and practical, so please share them with a friend and colleague who might enjoy them.
Now, let’s talk abandonment (er, I mean, checkout and post-purchase optimization).
This week's newsie is brought to you by PrettyDamnQuick.
Is e-commerce just logistics with a front end?
Margins are often won and lost in (ecom) operations.
Amazon’s success is built around making and keeping an accurate and aggressive delivery promise, and it starts from the moment you enter the store up until final delivery.
PDQ brings a consistent, predictable delivery experience to leading Shopify brands, including Jones Road Beauty, Obvi, UnderOutfit, Levain, Harneys, Ghia, True Classic, James Perse, Duradry, Bearaby, Jambys, Groove Life, and many, many more.
In fact, at JRB, we saw a 7-figure annual uplift after just a few weeks of Checkout optimizations.
Marketers love PDQ because it increases profitable revenues without a dollar of additional investment. CX loves that it provides a new, bespoke shopping experience.
They’re offering a free BFCM prep audit ($5,000 value) to subscribers.
Some recent impact they had: UnderOutfit decreased checkout abandonment by 14% for first-time shoppers and increased their annual revenue by $984,000 in just three weeks.
If you want to transform your checkout experience, I advise you to check out PrettyDamnQuick.
Retail Vs. Ecom:
The tactile allure of retail shopping is almost irreplaceable. The ritual of walking into a store, feeling the fabrics, trying on clothes, and the instant gratification of carrying bags out of the store is an all-encompassing sensory experience.
Retail gives us the joy of immediacy, the assurance of what we are getting the moment we pay.
On the flip side, e-commerce is in the realm of anticipation. The minute you hit “place order,” you step into a waiting game.
Although online shopping offers the luxury of choice and convenience, the post-purchase experience often lacks the instant gratification that retail provides.
The journey from checkout to delivery is more of a black box, filled with uncertainties.
When will the product arrive?
Will it match the expectations?
Each click towards a purchase online is a leap of faith, and the waiting game begins the moment the payment is processed. This phase, devoid of tangible interaction, often leaves the customer yearning for more information, more assurance, and more engagement.
Amazon has nailed the reliability piece, even if it’s not the sexiest website on the web. They tell you exactly when your product will arrive with a staunch delivery promise and hit the nail on the head almost every single time.
We’ve got lots to learn from players like Amazon, but just focusing on checkout is the very tip of this big iceberg.
Practical Ways to Optimize the Customer Journey in Checkout and Beyond
1: Realistic Data-Proven ETAs
In an age where information is at our fingertips, consumers crave transparency and accuracy, especially when it comes to the arrival of their eagerly awaited purchases.
The cornerstone of building trust in e-commerce begins with providing precise, data-driven delivery promises.
The Updated JRB Checkout
As we’ve mentioned, Amazon has set a high benchmark in this regard. Their logistical framework, coupled with data analytics, provides customers with near-accurate delivery timelines right at the moment they are about to hit the ‘buy now’ button.
This level of transparency does not just cut down the anxiety of the unknown but builds a level of trust that the brand is reliable and values the customer’s time and anticipation.
The underlying machinery to achieve this level of accuracy involves a deep dive into data analysis, understanding logistical timelines, and perhaps even investing in technology that can provide real-time updates.
It's about forming a symbiotic relationship with logistics partners, understanding the nitty-gritty of delivery processes, and using data analytics to forecast accurate delivery timelines.
Moreover, in scenarios where there might be unexpected delays, proactive communication is key. Informing customers about a delay, with an updated ETA, can go a long way in managing expectations and maintaining trust.
This investment in technology and transparency doesn’t just stop at enhancing customer satisfaction; it’s a step towards building long-term relationships where customers know that they can rely on your brand for not just quality products but a seamless shopping experience.
2: Product Usage Clarity
The journey of a customer with a brand extends well beyond the checkout and delivery; it continues into product usage. The true value of a product is realized only when the customer can use it effectively.
E-commerce customers don’t have the luxury of a salesperson guiding them on product usage. This gap can be bridged by providing clear, easy-to-understand instructions, video tutorials, and perhaps even a full website “educational hub.”
Last week, we delved deeper into this aspect, emphasizing the importance of ensuring that customers are well-equipped to enjoy the value of their purchase to the fullest.
This engagement provides an opportunity for brands to build a community. A well-informed customer is more likely to engage, repurchase, provide feedback, and even become an advocate for the brand, transforming a one-time purchase into a much longer-term relationship.
3: Personalized Offers
Every interaction a customer has with a brand is a chapter in their unique journey. Recognizing and celebrating this journey with personalized offers can foster a deeper connection.
Most ecom experiences toss you into a cohort and treat you like everyone else who purchased the same time you did or opened up the same email you did.
What if personalization began with understanding customer behavior, preferences, and exactly where you are in your journey?
For instance, if a customer often shops for organic products, offering them a discount on a newly launched organic product line can not only boost sales but make the customer feel understood and valued.
Personalization extends beyond discounts and offers. It’s about tailoring the shopping experience to match the preferences of individual customers and even rewarding loyalty.
I love how Obvi tested giving high-value potential VIP customers free shipping on their first orders. I can also see a world where you can reward returning customers with VIP processing or free expedited shipping—a fantastic way of rewarding loyalty and encouraging more shopping.
Have you A/B tested ANYTHING in your checkout process?
For our latest test, we’re surprising 50% of our new high-value customers with Free Shipping to see if we can increase conversion.
Shoutout @MoskowitzAvi & @PrettyDamnTweet for helping us come up with this test!
— Ash (@ashvinmelwani)
Aug 30, 2023
These steps towards personalization, no matter how small, ease the journey from browsing to checkout, making each interaction with the brand a rewarding experience.
4: Transparent Communication
Communication is the backbone of trust, especially in an online retail setting where the customer is often left in the dark post-purchase.
Being transparent about the process, from the moment the order is placed to when it's shipped and delivered, significantly enhances the customer's experience.
Proactively keeping customers informed about their order status, any unexpected delays, or even a simple reminder that their package is on the way can alleviate anxiety associated with the waiting game.
It’s about making the invisible visible—giving a glimpse into the journey their order is on before it reaches their doorstep.
Moreover, providing a channel for customers to reach out for information or assistance shows that you value their concerns and helps resolve issues before they escalate.
A well-informed customer is a satisfied customer.
5: Seamless Returns Process
The fear of a complicated return process can deter customers from making a purchase. Online shopping lacks the tangible assurance that comes with retail shopping; hence, a smooth return process is crucial in mitigating this uncertainty.
A clear, straightforward returns policy and a hassle-free process for initiating returns can significantly bolster customer confidence.
It's about reassuring customers that if the product doesn’t meet their expectations, there's a safety net in place.
The returns process also provides an opportunity for feedback. Understanding why a customer chooses to return a product can offer invaluable insights into product quality, description accuracy, and customer expectations, enabling continuous improvement.
That’s it for this week!
Any topics you'd like to see me cover in the future?
Just shoot me a DM or an email!