Monday, 25 August 2014

How to get more customers to complete your website checkout – Part 2

Today, we’re continuing on with more practical advice on what you can do to see more customers complete checkout.

A lot of effort goes into actually getting a customer to a website. Just think about everything you’ve done as a business owner to get your name and product out there. This only makes it more frustrating when a significant proportion of these visitors start the checkout process but then never complete it.

In this blog post we’ll guide you through another 6 tips that will make your checkout process easier, more user friendly and streamlined.

Have a persistent shopping cart

This is top of the list of our recommendations today. A persistent shopping cart is one where the items will still be there if the shopper goes away or is in active for a while. It means that they can come back and easily make the purchase later on.

I left some shoes in the basket for a whole day on the Crocs website. And when I came back, they were right where I left them.

Make the primary button stand out

One key to easy checkout navigation is having a single, most prominent button on each page. This makes it clear to the user where they need to go intuitively. Where there are multiple options, the most important or desired action must be stronger. Being consistent with the design and positioning of this primary button will make your checkout navigation easy to use and intuitive.

Urban outfitters do this well. Everything on the page is monotone, except for the primary button which is bright blue. This is consistent throughout the checkout process.

Autofill address

If you’re an ecommerce store, all your customers really want is to have the right product in their hands. Anything that you can do to make that happen quicker and easier is of benefit to your business. This includes details as seemingly insignificant as whether you provide an autofill for their address after they’ve entered their post code. Equally important is allowing delivery details to be used as billing details. Time saving optimisations like this will become increasingly important as more and more users make online purchases using their mobile phones.

We like the way Firebox has kept the number of fields to a minimum, they'll find your address using your post code and they also autofill title and country. Sensible defaults like these save customers time and effort.

Provide helpful error messages

It’s more than a little frustrating when you go through the trouble of filling a form out, then you press submit but for some reason it’s not happy and wants you to fill it all out again. 

It’s really important that when there is an validation error, the correct information that the customer has typed is retained. Secondly, a useful error messages needs to be given. Often these messages are displayed at the top of the page, instead they need to be alongside the field containing the error as this makes is so much easier to spot and correct.

Schuh give concise and helpful error messages when something's not quite right.

Offer gift options

A huge proportion of our online shopping is for gifts. Just take Mother’s Day for example, 60% of gifts are bought online. With birthdays and anniversaries the need for gift wrapping options becomes obvious. 

It’s not just gift wrapping options that a customer might look for, they might want to conceal the price or include a ‘don’t open before [date]’ note. Implementing these considerations in your checkout process will make your customer feel valued because you thought about their needs.

Hotel Chocolat do this amazingly, not only do they offer you several gift options, they show you what they look like.

Display basket items

This keeps the user focused on the end goal – their shiny new thing. The Nike website displays the products being purchased throughout the checkout process, it’s nicely done with beautiful product imagery.

There are 6 more checkout optimisation tips in last week’s blog post, which you can read here. Enjoy!

Also, we’d love to know if any of you have implemented any of these recommendations and the impact it’s had on your conversion rate. Let us know by commenting further down.

Oh and if you've found this article useful please share it using the icons below.

Monday, 18 August 2014

How to get more customers to complete checkout on your ecommerce website – Part 1

Sometimes it’s hard to put your finger on what makes a website great... it just feels ‘nice’ doesn’t it? This doesn’t happen by accident or by having better designers but by deciding to put user experience (UX) first.

In this article we’ll be sharing six techniques that really successful websites use to make their checkout experiences feel ‘nice’. If you can incorporate just some of these intentional user focused decisions in your website then you’ll be well on the way to seeing more checkout completions and fewer shopping cart abandonments.

Allow customers to checkout as a guest

Did you know that 25% of shoppers abandon their cart because of forced registration? That’s 25% of sales that have been lost. Even mentioning the word ‘register’ in your checkout is a bad idea because it makes some customers feel like they’re not in control of the checkout process.

Instead of making customers register as default, try offering the option for first time buyers to checkout as a guest and once they have completed their purchase then offer the option to register.

A website which does this well is ASOS.

Include secure payment information

We all want to know that the website we’re purchasing from is secure, especially if we’re using our mobile phone to access the website and buy.

Websites should display SSL certificates and logos ensuring security throughout the checkout process, not just on the payments page. And on the payments page there should be a short piece of text reassuring visitors that the website is secure.

Something else that we’ll mention is, make sure you also provide information on what exactly a security code or expiry date is. This is something that Quicksilver have done nicely.

Show customers their progress

Much of what we've talked about so far comes down to one thing: making the customer feel in control. Informing the customer where they are in the checkout process, what step is coming next and allowing them to navigate forwards and backwards through these steps hands them the reigns and relieves any worries they might have.

This can be effectively done in a process bar showing the checkout steps. Each step should be a clickable link in case the customer wants to go back and change anything.

We like the way Lakeland has done this and even included a brief sentence to let customers know what to expect from each stage.

Make your checkout mobile friendly

Sales completed on mobile devices grew by 94% from 2012 to 2013 and now account for more than 32% of all online sales.

In light of this and the fact that a mobile screen is so much smaller than a desktop screen, your checkout process has to be mobile friendly. This means keeping the design simple, using radio buttons and drop down menus where possible and only asking for the most essential information.

TopShop have a great mobile checkout which is easy and quick to follow, and it ticks all of the other best practises in this article.

Remove all distractions

It’s really important that there are no unnecessary navigation or exit points in your checkout process. Since you've worked so hard to get your customer to the point of buying, everything should be focused on moving your customer along the checkout process and not away from it. There should be a limited or no menu navigation. Only information relevant to encourage completion should be included, such as: guarantees, returns policy and delivery information.

Notonthehighstreet are a shining example of how to do this:

Offer customers complimentary products

Not only is this helpful to shoppers, it’ll increase your average transaction value. But you must up-sell in the right way by offering only the most relevant products. Apple is a great example of this they've kept it simple and still kept the continue button the most prominent on the screen.

Provide multiple payment options

PayPal is fantastic. Instead of having to rummage around for your card and type out the really long card number you can just enter your email address and hey presto the payment is made.
Wiggle not only provides the option of paying by card or PayPal, it also clearly explains what to expect and when to enter your PayPal details.

That's it for Part 1 of How to get more customers to complete checkout on your ecommerce website. Part 2 to follow next Monday.

Please share this post if you found it useful.

Thank you.

Monday, 11 August 2014

6 e-commerce website best practice examples

A little while ago we wrote an article on 15 e-commerce best practices that you can’t ignore - no longer is Google only concerned with factors such as meta data and alt tags.

Google wants to see websites that are user friendly. So build your website for the user and you’ll be on the right path to seeing your Google rankings improve as visitors stay longer on your website, make more purchases and keep coming back.

The examples below are all websites that put customer experience first, and as a result have come out on top of Google too.

Great use of product images have really put a lot of consideration into providing images of their products. Each product page contains photos of the piece of furniture from every angle, close ups of the fabrics and materials, images with the dimensions clearly labeled, and showing the relative size of the piece compared to a person. What more could you ask for without actually touching it?

In the end; the more attractive, juicy, stylish and high quality a product looks the more confident your customers will be when buying online.

Easily accessible delivery and returns information

Trust is a huge factor in online retail. Delivery and returns information must be easy to find and adhered to unfailingly by e-commerce websites. These two topics are ‘pain points’- in fact 44% of carts are abandoned because of high shipping costs. Being upfront about delivery and returns ensures that the customer doesn't feel like something's been sprung upon them. does a great job of this, giving delivery dates and prices for several UK and international delivery options as well as a simple returns policy. Both these pieces of information are available on the product page allowing customers to continue with their shopping uninterrupted.

Fast repeat purchase

Mark Cuban, an American billionaire said this: "Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them, not you".

Speedy repeat purchases not only helps your customers, it helps you! Amazon the kings of e-commerce lead the way with this offering purchase with just one click. For websites who have many returning customers this is a must.

Attention grabbing deals and bestsellers on homepage

Deals on your homepage will grab your customers’ attention when they arrive; this is crucial if you want to stop them from hitting the back button. Bestsellers work really well on the homepage because they get customers to their favourite products even faster.

You've heard the saying, you are what you eat; well, e-commerce websites are what they sell. By having your bestsellers and deals on your homepage customers can easily see what you’re about, the price bracket you sell in and if you make use of reviews how much your customers have loved your products. B&Q do a great job of this.

Onsite product reviews put to good use

According to Reevoo, onsite reviews produce an 18% increase in sales on average. That’s huge. Just think what you could do if you had 18% more income from your website.

So who’s doing this well? The North Face have a well thought through review system tailored to each category of product. What we like about this review system is the use of tick boxes and sliders, great if you don’t want to write loads!

As well as showing star ratings on the product category pages this website actually highlights products with the most reviews and the best ratings.

Well optimised Thank You page

Thank you pages are often overlooked as they come at ‘the end’ of the customer journey, but if you can retain your customers then you've won half the battle. Thank you pages give you the perfect opportunity to leave your customers feeling appreciated and looked after.

Jezz Bezos, the CEO of said this: “If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful”.

Here’s one thank you page that we like,, as it makes it really easy for customers to quickly leave a review and to stay in touch.

Hope these examples have given you a little inspiration to put to work on your website. Let us know if you've got any favourite examples of the these e-commerce best practices.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Personalised Google Search Results and how they affect your website

It might surprise you to hear that no one sees exactly the same search results even if they type identical words into a search engine. The search results we see are personalised to suit us 'better'.

To Google, the accurate tailoring of search results to each user is a huge part of being the 'best' search engine and it's has been the driving force behind Google Now.

Many users will see very similar results, but there will be differences due to factors such as search history, location, device and even someone’s social contacts.

How much does personalisation change search results?

A 2013 study showed that:
  • 73% of personalised #1 ranked results originated from position #2.
  • 93% of personalised #1 ranked results come from the first page - in other words the top 10 ranked websites.
  • 82% of original rank 1 results remain somewhere on the first page of personalised results.

Google doesn't throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to personalising results. Websites that are ranked high up in Google will still be ranked high up in personalised results but their position is not absolute. This is reassuring considering the hard work that goes into achieving a #1 ranking.

What factors are used to personalise our search results?

Personal search history

The primary way that Google personalises your search results is by using your search history. Put simply, Google will rank websites you've visited and found useful higher up in search results as they think that you will find them useful again.

It’s important to note that your search history is used by Google whether you’re signed into a Google account or not. If you’re signed out Google can still see up to 180 days of search history collected using anonymous cookies stored on your web browser.


This is the most obvious and understandable customisation, we’re all shown results depending on country and locality. Google uses your IP address to tailor your results when you search for keywords associated with places such as ‘restaurant’ or ‘zoo’.

These types of search queries will bring up Google maps and Google+ local business pages according to where Google thinks you are located. This creates a great opportunity for local business owners who can set up a Google+ business page and more easily appear in local search results.

You can easily see and change your location by clicking on Search tools, entering a location and clicking ‘Set’.

Additionally, some keywords mean different things depending on your location. For example, ‘football’ would bring up American Football in the USA but in the UK we would expect to see results like the premier league.

(What’s an IP address? – Your IP address identifies the location of your computer. Check out What's my IP to find out your IP address.)

Type of search query

Different categories or types of search terms have a higher degree of personalisation. We’ve already mentioned personalisation due to location. Brands are another category for which search results can differ dramatically depending on the above factors, whereas factual queries starting with ‘what is….’ are far less personalised.

Justin Briggs tells us that 82% of results for ‘what is…’ queries are identical, while only 43% of results for ‘gadgets’ are identical. Politics, places, gadgets and brands are all types of search queries which show a high degree of personalisation.


Google also recognises when you’re searching with a mobile and will favour responsive websites and local search results for the mobile user, different to the results that a desktop user may see.

Social signals

Finally, since 2012 Google has been personalising your searches to be influenced by what your friends on Google+ are saying. Who you know, what they’ve shared and what you’ve shared - these ‘social signals’ are used by Google.

When commenting on Google collecting of data to personalised search results Fast Company said this:
“Some might call that a creepy amount of shared data. Others might call it the future.”

How do you stop your search results being personalised?

By now you’ll probably be thinking how am I supposed to know where my website is positioned if my results are personalised.

Well, Google has provided these instructions themselves:

Pause your Google account history

You can pause or delete your web history. Start by going into your Account Settings > Account History and then click ‘Pause’.

Delete and turn off your Google search history
  • Visit your Search History page at
  • In the top right corner of your Search History page, click the gear icon then Settings.
  • Click Delete all, then click the Delete all button to confirm.
  • Finally click Turn off to stop future searches being stored.

Delete your browser history

Your searches may also be stored in your browser or the Google Toolbar. Learn how to delete your history on Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Firefox.

Turn off results customisation 

  • Sign out of your Google account. 
  • Go to
  • Click Disable customizations based on search activity. This will turn the setting off for anyone who uses the same browser and computer as you until someone signs in.

Use ranking software

If you’re an angelfysh client, the easiest way of seeing non-personalised search results is to sign into our SEO ranking software at If you've lost your logins, just email us and we’ll send you new logins.

Hope we've helped you to find out where your website is really positioned in Google search results. If you’d like to speak to someone about getting your website ranked higher up in Google, that’s what we do - it’s called SEO and we have a 100% record of success. Give us a call on 0191 276 6904 or drop us an email to