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Payment Options and Simple Checkout

By Nick Loeser
for Practical eCommerce

A truly successful and customer service friendly ecommerce shop will have an intuitive and well designed checkout system. The more difficult it is to purchase something from you, the less likely a customer will try. Here are some tips to ensure youíre running a customer-service friendly checkout system.

Payment Options: Be sure to accept as many different payment methods as possible. Many shops I have seen only accept Paypal or MasterCard and Visa. This is probably because merchants donít like to deal with the fees that other credit cards charge. There are many payment gateways out there, however.

With a decent merchant agreement, you can obtain decent credit card fees, and offer all four major cards. Furthermore, American Express is an especially important credit card to accept. Yes, it can cost you a bit more but itís well worth it. Why? Almost all business and corporate cards are AMEX, and if you donít accept them than you may be losing sales from businesses.

Easy Flow: Many carts make the mistake of asking too much from a customer who is trying to check out. Asking about joining a newsletter, or providing feedback, or trying to sell numerous add-on items can hurt you in the end. They are all valuable additions to a cart, but if theyíre used in excess, you will lose more than you gain.

Test It Out: Most shopping carts have customizable checkout pages. Try placing important buying-decision information on these pages. For example, you may put a few testimonials on one of the pages. Or perhaps make your siteís security seals prominent on these pages. Test different graphics to see what customers respond best to.

The ultimate goal of analyzing your checkout process is to reduce abandoned carts. By following the simple steps above, and making sure your checkout process is graphically simple and easy to follow, you should find the number of abandoned carts decreases. Compare your checkout process to other merchants. You may be surprised at the opportunities for improved conversions that you are missing.


About the Author
Nick Loeser is President of CT Web Studio, an ecommerce design and development company. He can be reached at nickloeser@gmail.com or online at CTWebStudio.com.

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