Buying things online is one of the 21st century’s biggest conveniences, but everyone has experienced examples of a poor purchase process leading to frustration. Whether it’s counter-intuitive form-filling, a lack of security or other problems, many people will have abandoned a shopping cart before buying what they wanted at some point. The same goes for booking stays at hotels. If the online booking process is a rigmarole, it might result in abandonment – and that means empty rooms and lost revenue.
Indeed, a study by Worldpay found that around half of customers had ditched their online travel booking early because of payment-related problems. To avoid this, ensure your online booking procedures are as simple as possible so they won’t lead to irritation. Here are a few top tips.
1. Demonstrate your security credentials
When asked by Worldpay, 18 per cent of people who had dropped out on an online checkout in the past 12 months said it was because they were concerned whether or not it was secure. You should have security measures in place to protect your customers, so demonstrate them. Put logos in a prominent place, particularly if they are accreditations from big firms, That way, people won’t get scared and opt out.
2. Don’t have hidden charges
You might need to charge your customer a booking fee or other costs, but don’t try to hide it and then spring it on them at the last minute. Instead, outline the final cost before asking the person if they would like to proceed.
3. Don’t make them fill in endless forms
The Worldpay research found having to enter too much information was a key reason for abandonment among 18 per cent of customers, so simplify all of your forms. Ask yourself if you really need all these details – mother’s maiden name, first pet’s name – and pare them down to only the real essentials. Offer to pre-fill fields where you can too, as this is much more convenient.
4. Clearly show all payment options
It’s irritating when you have your bank card in your hand, only to get to the payment page of a website and find it’s not accepted, so don’t do this to your prospective guests. Instead, put the logos of all the payment methods you accept at the very beginning of the booking process – or ideally, in a bar across the bottom of your homepage.
5. Make it clear the end is in sight
Sometimes websites provide screen after screen of booking information and that can be really frustrating. Indeed, 15 per cent of the consumers interviewed by Worldpay said that they abandoned a transaction because it proved too long. Avoid this by making it clear that your online booking process has a specific number of steps and highlight which one the customer is at each time the page moves along.
Following this advice should ensure you increase your number of conversions and don’t cause unnecessary annoyance.