Checkout Process For Online Commerce That Are Strategic And Will Be Appreciated By Your Customers


The cornerstone to a successful checkout process is keeping the consumer in mind while building the process. The “transactional click” methodology is a story of the past. While big players have started implementing behavior-driven checkout processes, we have observed that smaller businesses have struggled to get it right. 


Successful checkouts for larger firms


The key difference has been availability of resources. Big players are able to spend significant time and money to analyze, research, and experiment to build the best checkout process steps that fit their target market. The greatest companies historically have maximized quality and consistency. The result is continuous qualitative breakthroughs in marketing, strategy, innovation, and management. Unfortunately, over the years this has left the smaller firms behind. In this article, I will share the steps these firms can take to join the race to success. 


How does it make you feel?


The checkout process needs to simultaneously educate AND walk the user through the next steps. It needs to be smart and simple at the same time. Great online checkouts are intuitive, and invoke various positive human emotions. For instance desire - thoughtful recommendations for related items can drive additional purchases at the checkout phase, an extra side or dessert.  Or, joy, a positive checkout experience allows the consumer to focus on the happiness of getting food that he or she loves and can’t wait to eat. And finally accomplishment. After finishing the payment, the client should feel celebratory and a sense of accomplishment. Food for the family is on the way!


Why does it matter?


It is important to point out that a well-engineered checkout process actually incites customers to buy more. Customers typically purchase more food when ordering online regardless of the checkout process primarily because they tend to feel more comfortable in the virtual space. A truly excellent ordering platform completely removes the feelings of guilt and judgement that they may otherwise feel when ordering in person. This space of comfort allows the restaurant to make targeted recommendations for upselling and cross-selling meals.


Case Study: Cicis Pizza Franchise


Cicis Pizza franchise is a growing franchise in everyone’s favorite food segment, Pizza. Cicis has recently boosted their marketing and brand loyalty by prioritizing the most important thing for a restaurant, repeat business.  As part of their strategy, this franchise offers an add on drink or appetizer to customers while they are ordering online only. This type of offer emotionally sways the customer to purchase additional items, like a second pie or an extra side, and as a result the online bills were typically noted to be larger than in-person or phone orders. This is just another example of the benefit of caring for your customers and the impact it has on online ordering. The feeling of being rewarded for ordering online draws customers back Cicis for some more delicious guilt-free dining.



17 Tips You Can Incorporate Today


Our research has shown that a checkout process that is engaging while being easy to use needs to incorporate, at a minimum, the following 17 qualities or criteria to be successful:

  1. No pressure - Don’t require shoppers to register in order to checkout. Forcing them to create an account before they complete their order creates resistance for the user and ends up being a block, leading the customer to abandon the cart altogether.
  2. Progress bar - We humans like clarity and transparency. If you have several steps in your checkout process, show a progress indicator so the user knows exactly what steps they need to take. 
  3. Shipping or Delivery Costs - Delivery is an important and sometimes significant addition to the total cost of dinner! Include delivery charges which update automatically in the cart as the user adds more items or adjusts quantity, unless its a clear flat free.  Also, remember that FREE delivery can have a huge effect on conversion.
  4. ETA - Again, transparency matters. Let customers know ahead of placing an order and after placing the order, the approximate delivery time before they check out.  The “before” and “after” estimates of time should not be very different, otherwise the customer will feel like they were conned into ordering for a longer wait time than expected.
  5. Updates -  Updates help your eaters plan and prepare. If you’re able to, provide updates on when the food is on its way.  Tracking status and location information is always helpful especially for a longer than average wait time.
  6. Confirmation - In the final order confirmation screen or email, let the customer know how they can modify their order if needed and by when. For instance, add an option to allow changes before order is prepared (say 15 mins from order time).  Consumers love that kind of flexibility to change their mind, especially to add on a last minute item!
  7. Images - Pictures replace a thousand words, that holds true more than ever in today’s visual age. Adding images for food items, even miniature thumbnail pictures in the shopping cart actually reduces the likelihood of cart abandonment. Shoppers see what they were about to order and when its tangible, its harder to walk away from it.
  8. Refunds - Put your refund/return policy or guarantee below your checkout button instead of on a separate page or on a customer service page. If the customer cancels an order in time, add a pop to verify the cancellation.  Also at this time can your platform recommend another item that would replace what the customer was planning to order?
  9. Cross-selling - Cross-selling can be highly effective before an order is fully placed.
  10. Creative descriptions - Summarize the benefits of your product or service as bullet points before you ask for the order.
  11. Rewards - Offer bonus discounts at checkout. Offer free shipping or a percent-off discount to customers on their next purchase.
  12. Express or Guest Checkout - Don’t require registration in order to buy. Some sites require users to complete a registration form in order to make a purchase. Be sure to offer a one-time, ""express"" checkout to minimize potential roadblocks.
  13. Use a landing page - Have a link to your coupon or current promotion right on the landing page. Better yet, automatically fill in the “coupon code” at checkout if possible.
  14. Feedback - Add the option for customers to read and leave reviews and ratings for products. Consider offering a coupon or a reward for completing the review.
  15. No hidden fees - Customers don’t like unpleasant surprises. Don’t spring hidden fees, long contracts or other extra issues on customers once they begin checking out.
  16. Shopping cart - If you have a shopping cart feature on your site, include a link to it on the homepage. This allows users to immediately see what they've selected, without having to navigate through any product screens or go through checkout before they are ready to do so. This is especially important if your site saves shopping cart selections from prior visits.
  17. Same page navigation - Put your order selection on the same page as your product, so that customers don’t have to click to another page to buy.



Have you set these up? Has any of these provided value back to you? Ask us how.. and we can share cases studies that are game changers. Thanks for going through this.