IRWD 2012: Engage, don’t distract, during checkout

Smart retailers pare the fluff, but message well on the path to purchase.

Don Davis

With Mendelssohn’s Wedding March playing in the background and clad in a wedding gown, Laura Santos strode down the aisle at the Internet Retailer Web Design and Usability Conference to speak on streamlining the checkout process of a retail web site. What’s the connection between the bridal theme and a more effective checkout flow?

Don’t distract the customer, the way her garb and entrance distracted the audience at the conference taking place this week in Orlando, explained Santos, marketing manager at Envelopes.com.

She went on to provide several examples of clever ways the web-only retailer of envelopes and paper had incorporated meaningful functionality into its checkout process, without cluttering that flow with unnecessary steps and information.

For example, the e-retailer made it easier for a customer to add multiple products as he shopped, an important feature given that a shopper may be buying a mix of custom-printed and standard paper and envelopes. Making that change to the shopping cart produced a 15.12% sales lift, Santos said.

The e-commerce site also gives customers an opportunity to register after they complete a purchase, giving the retailer a way to capture marketing data without disrupting the purchase process.

Santos says Envelopes.com also changed its policy to accept checks for orders when a customer’s credit card is turned down. “If a credit card order is declined, we take the order, initiate a series of e-mails and schedule phone calls that our order management team handles,” she said. “We save 95% of declined credit card orders this way.”

Santos spoke with Eric Miller, director of product management at online testing technology provider Monetate, during the session entitled “Creating the streamlined shopping cart that gets buyers to the Buy button fast.”

Miller provided several examples of ways retailers provide effective messaging as a customer moves toward checkout. Some of the key points he made included:

In short, Miller concluded, “Try to find the right message for each customer.”



Affiliate marketing, checkout flow, conversion rate, Envelopes.com, Eric Miller, IRWD 2012, Laura Santos, Merchandising & design, Monetate, Payments & Security, web-only retailers