Avoiding loss of eCommerce Checkout Information
Of all the annoying things that happen in checkout, losing the information you’ve already entered is among the worst.
There are four different ways a checkout can lose information:
1. eCommerce Checkout Information
Checkout information is submitted to the web server for processing and storage whenever the customer clicks the submit or continue button at the foot of each checkout page. Refreshing the page or navigating away from it without clicking the form-submission button will lose the information just entered on that page, unless steps are taken to prevent the loss.
- An optional second step is to protect against information loss if the customer navigates away to a different site or closes the browser window. Here, an onUnload event handler can be used to trigger the form submit function. There are some reported browser compatibility issues with onUnload but it will work more often than not.
2. eCommerce Checkout Interruption
If checkout has been started but interrupted – say to find an additional product and add it to the order – the checkout should resume where it left off.
- So, for example, let’s assume I have entered my personal details and my address in checkout already. Then, just before I enter my credit card details, I remember I need to buy something else, which I go off to find and add to my basket.
- When click, go to checkout, I want to be taken directly to the payment page to complete the checkout process I started earlier.
- I don’t want to have to start at the beginning of checkout again. Being able to achieve this requires checkout status to be recorded as a session or cookie variable.
3. Abandoning the Checkout
Even after a basket has been abandoned and the customer has left the site, as many as 33% will come back and purchase later. As a result, losing information on basket contents would seem an almost certain way of losing revenue.
4. Saving Checkout Items
Survey research suggests that more than 80% of US e-commerce sites now save basket contents after site abandonment, typically for periods ranging from less than a week to three months. Analytics can be used to explore number of days to purchase and identify the duration baskets should be saved for to accommodate, say, the 95th percentile of purchases.
Alternatively items can be moved to a wish list or saved items area of the basket so that customers can be reminded of them on their returning visit and stock availability re-checked. As discussed in the eCommerce Checkout Process, customers need to be reminded and reassured about the information they have entered during the checkout process. A persistent summary of eCommerce Checkout Information is a good approach.
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