Clicks That Count
Be able to calculate discounts immediately. One thing that drives customers bonkers is when we bring them to our sites using all kinds of special discounts, they shop around, put stuff in their basket, and then proceed to the checkout only to find out their discount will be calculated at the time of confirmation.
The customer despises this. They want and require that the total price on the final sheet is exactly what you're billing their credit card. Anything less is a primary motivation for abandonment.
It's your job to set the customer's expectations—with availability information and anticipated delivery times—to make the process as fast and easy as possible and to confirm his or her success. Confirmations are one of the most successful and underutilized ways to solidify or enhance the ordering process. Remember to pop up a thank you landing page after order completion.This page should thank customers for their order, tell them what to expect next and then drive them back into the site. If you have a good end-of-order process, you'll drive about a quarter of your traffic back into the site after the initial order. At the same time, you'll also want to send customers a thank you e-mail to again thank them and offer them a good reason to go back inside your store.
Creating inquiry forms is much easier than building a perfect shopping cart. Make sure everything is in a vertical format (for example, city, state and Zip should be on three lines instead of one), remind them of the offer in the upper left-hand corner, make the form easy to print out, and include phone/fax/e-mail information on the bottom of the page.
#4. A Great E-Mail Program
Contacting your site visitors on a regular basis is an absolute must. Develop a one-to-one e-mail or newsletter contact program to keep in touch with prospects and customers about special offers and sales, new product introductions, Internet-only exclusives, scratch-and-dent offers, etc.