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8 Tips to Improve User Experience

People like easy. Easy to make 10 minute dinners, easy self checkout lines at the grocery store, easy cheese in a can (ok, nobody likes that) but you get my point. This desire for simplicity permeates our lives and the Internet is no exception. People expect ease of use and speed on the websites that they visit. This is espcially true for ecommerce websites.

The entire shopping and check out process must be smooth, easy to understand and most of all SIMPLE. If you are experiencing higher than desired cart abandonment rates, you may want to pay attention to the following tips.

1.  Ensure that your contact information (address, phone number, etc.) are on every page of your website and all checkout pages.

Why wouldn't you want to make it easy for your visitors to contact you with any questions that may have during the checkout process? Having them give you a call is better than them leaving the site and going to the competition to make a purchase. Some users may even prefer to call you to place an order. This also enhances your credibility as a legitimate business.

2.  Allow visitors to complete a purchase without creating an account.

Few things frustrate people more than being ready to purchase an item and then being required to create ANOTHER account. People need another username and password like they need a hole in the head. In some studies it was found that customers would simply go to another site or drive to a store to find the same product rather than register. People don't like giving out their email and personal information due to spam issues.

3.  The shopping cart page should include an image of the product(s) being purchased.

If your users are anything like me, they like to double (and sometimes triple) check that they have all of the right products (and sizes if applicable) in their cart before hitting the Buy button. Including an image of all items will help reassure users that they have the right products and this will help boost their confidence level before continuing to the next step in the checkout process.

4.  Provide a clear step progress indicator through the check out process.

This may seem like a no-brainer but it is very helpful to inform buyers where they are at in the checkout process. How far they have come and how many more steps they have to complete before they are done is important information.

5.  Retain a user's previously entered information such as Billing Address.

The less time a user spends re-entering personal information, the less time they have to reconsider this purchase. Don't make them re-type it if you don't have to.

6.  Providing tax and shipping cost as early in the process as possible.

This is extremely important for all items but even more so for larger items that may require high shipping costs or a freight charge. People will want to know how much it is going to cost them before they can commit to the purchase. Don't make users abandon the cart to find your shipping information. Calculate the tax and shipping for them or include your shipping rates on checkout pages before the credit card is processed.

7.  Before finalizing the purchase, provide the user with a summary of what they are buying.

All details should be displayed here- list of items, shipping cost, total tax, etc. Make it easy to users to print this information as well.

8.  Provide a clear description of what they can expect next. Ease their minds.

The Thank You/Order Confirmation page that is displayed and/or the email that is sent to the customer includes details of their order, when they can expect the order to arrive, order confirmation number and shipping tracking instructions (if applicable). And always remember to express your gratitude for their purchase and continued loyalty. Active on Twitter or Facebook? Encourage buyers to connect with you at this step since they are already engaged.

And there you have it. Some simple guidelines of how you can improve your current shopping cart process or things to keep in mind while you are building your ecommerce website. This list is in no way exhaustive, but this will give you a running start in the right direction.