Create Your Site Around the Buying Process
To create an optimum site that revolves around the 'buying process', take heed of these series of questions and concerns to make sure that you've covered all the bases possible to have a top notch 'check out' feature on your website.
How long will it take to ship your products or a service to be implemented? Do you offer a rush delivery?
What are your shipping or service fees as well as tax or surcharge costs? All sites should always have these numbers listed since no one likes to be surprised with additional fees or costs. Make these numbers available immediately and don't give this information at the very end of the check out process since they may get discouraged and cancel out the order.
Detailed description of the product or service in question should be provided. Let your visitors know what is entailed and what it includes. Make it very clear on exactly what your visitors will be receiving from you.
Do you offer dimensions or sizes to describe the products? Many people are easily fooled by pictures they see on the web and since you can't physically see or touch what you're about to buy, it helps when you give an accurate dimensions of what the product is.
Many websites have jumped on the bandwagon of giving their visitors the option of clicking on a button to see a larger description of a picture. An example of this would be "Click to Enlarge Picture". This feature is greatly used and appreciated by visitors since it assures them that the product in question will be worth the purchase. This is a huge factor for visitors in their buying process.
The more features you have on your 'check out' process; always provide simple details in how to move forward in the buying process. Don't assume the visitors will know or figure it out. They don't want to figure it out and work hard to buy something. Just provide simple, accessible instructions for anything even remotely challenging.
How do I know I'm going to be satisfied with this product when it arrives at my door? Offer a guarantee and include testimonials liberally and write in layman terms that make visitors comfortable about your products or services.
What if you're not satisfied with the product? How do you return it without difficulties? Make sure you have a refund/return policy and that you want your visitors to return products easily. Don't make it complicated or restrictive for your visitors since they won't return to buy anything else from you in the future.
Where did I make the mistake? It keeps telling me that I omitted important information and won't let me proceed to the next frame in the ordering process. Been there once too many times and guess what I did? I gave up ordering. When visitors fill out forms or are required to input information, sometimes it gets overlooked or omitted by mistake. You should try to anticipate as many of these simple mistakes as possible and design your site to minimize the occurrence. In all honesty, visitors will make mistakes even if the site is designed specifically to meet the needs of the visitors, so do the best you can to keep those mistakes at a minimum. You can have a feature where it tells the visitor exactly where the information is lacking so they don't have to go through the entire form to look for what they forgot to type in.
Keep it short and quick. I'm finding that many website owners are now offering two types of check out options. One is the regular check out and the other is a 'Speedy Checkout'. This is a nice feature to have if you're just either a one time customer buying on a whim, or even repeat customer where your information is stored within their database making it easy and quick for you to place orders within that website at any given time. A good rule of thumb–make the buying process only a two-frame process if possible and the third would be the final page with the payment method and a receipt of the order. If you make your visitors fill out 5 pages before they order something, they're going to be annoyed rather quickly and give up.
Payment method options should be attractive and allow the visitors the choice in how they want to pay. Provide as many credit card options as well as the use of a debit card; also to pay by check where the funds are electronically withdrawn from that visitor's checking account. If you only let credit card holders the opportunity to buy from your site, you're truly missing out on another group of consumers that rather pay through methods where they actually have the funds. Why deny non credit card holders the privilege of buying from you? If you do, they will seek out your competitors that offer that feature for them.
About the Author
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Joelene Orlando is a Web enthusiast and a staff writer/consultant for eMarketingAnswers.com with a broad knowledge of topics covering Internet marketing and communication strategies for small business owners. You are free to reprint this article in your web site, newsletter, e-zine or ebook. However, please keep the author's section at the bottom of the article as is.