Online Retailers Focus on Checkout to Increase Sales
Seventy-nine percent of respondents to a recent survey said enhancing the checkout process was on the top of their to-do lists for the remainder of the year.
This statistic was gleaned from The State of Retailing Online 2009: Merchandising Report, conducted by Forrester Research. Forrester surveyed 117 retailers for the report.
The largest initiative in the checkout area among retailers involves shipping. Eighty-eight percent of retailers will focus on providing more shipping information within the next year, according to the report. This information could include when customers can expect to receive their packages and information about when products have left warehouses. Sixty-seven percent of retailers said they'd pay special attention to calculating the loaded cost of an order prior to checkout.
Sixty percent of companies, however, said they'd concentrate on improving their homepages, which is down from previous years. Retailers have learned that many shoppers bypass the homepage altogether because comparison shopping engines and search engines often direct consumers to specific pages on retailers’ websites instead. As a result, retailers are focusing more on product detail and search results pages.
Other findings from the report include the following:
- respondents will focus on adding zoom (54 percent), alternative images of products (50 percent), and color or fabric swatches (31 percent) this year;
- 60 percent of respondents use customer ratings and reviews, and 55 percent will make ratings and reviews a priority for the coming year;
- 34 percent said they'll incorporate automated recommendation tools by third parties for their sites;
- 89 percent of respondents are introducing sale or clearance pages to their sites in the coming months;
- 73 percent of respondents plan to add different skins or filters to their search functions, enabling shoppers to choose multiple attributes like brand, color, price and size to their site searches; and
- 41 percent of the retailers surveyed said they're evaluating introducing an entirely new search engine to their websites.