E-commerce Link: Batteries With That?
Most people think of the checkout as the final step of a shopping session. But any visit to your local grocery store will prove otherwise. Racks of candy and magazines flank the checkout lines, and the cashier asks, "Do you need batteries or film with that?" Newspapers, firelogs and steam cleaners line the front of stores near the exits. Clearly, the selling continues right up to, and beyond, the cash register's final beep.
Online merchandisers also can successfully sell during the checkout process by using carefully chosen merchandising methods on the shopping cart, log-in and thank-you pages. After the sale, post-order e-mail can provide some very powerful selling opportunities as well.
Creating Merchandising Opportunities At Checkout
The goal is to place appropriate product cross-sells in places that will get your customers' attention without distracting them from the checkout process. Remember that they want secure, safe, private transactions, and you must make it clear to them that this is what they're getting. They also want checkout to be easy and fast. Anything that detracts from this image of security and ease will impair your site's ability to sell, so be cautious about what you present and how you present it. Selling and merchandising through the checkout process can be very tricky, since some tactics may be overly aggressive for some sites. When in doubt, don't distract or alienate the user by overselling. Once they've decided to buy, you want to make sure they stay on that track.
I will cover three different phases of checkout:
- Selling before checkout. This includes the shopping cart itself and the customer log-in page. These pages offer good selling opportunities.
- The core checkout pages. These include the billing information page, shipping information page, and order recap pages where the customer can select multiple ship-to addresses, gift wrap and so forth. Throwing a bunch of extra offers on these pages is more likely to distract your customer than create more sales. Don't use these pages for selling.