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Checkout Views But No Orders
Visits To My checkout page, but no orders

 3:56 pm on Aug 12, 2011 (gmt 0)


I am going insane trying to figure this one out. I manage a website for a friend's online business. It's an ecommerce website with decent traffic for a startup, but with a near 0% conversion rate. The strange thing is, I will have plenty of people that add items to their cart, and head to the "checkout" page, but then I don't get any orders. I have tested the order process, and it works fine. Are there any secrets or tips that I'm missing?

Any help would be extremely appreciated!

[edited by: engine at 5:01 pm (utc) on Aug 12, 2011]



 5:15 pm on Aug 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld.

I don't know if these earlier threads give you any pointers.

eCommerce: Improving Sales Conversions When Price Isn't Always The Lowest [webmasterworld.com]

eCommerce: When Traffic is Up and Sales are Down, Where Do You Look First? [webmasterworld.com]


 5:17 pm on Aug 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well, your issue is at least isolated whereas most ecommerce puzzles can be many things. Ask yourself a few questions:

- Is shipping only calculated on final checkout? Maybe they're just stepping through to see how much shipping is. Check your competitor shipping methods and prices.
- Is your checkout page Javascript-dependent?
- Does the user have to create an account to check out?
- Compare your checkout against other sites. Are you doing anything really cool, different, novel, unique on checkout? DON'T DO THAT. :-) Users have expectations, meet them.
- How is it organized? Billing info, shipping info, supplemental, credit card info?
- Design, has the form got good high contrast and is not using tiny labels or tiny text on important items?
- How many "non-web savvy" users have you pointed at the form? Gather up all the grandma's, uncle's, children, and as many other people that you can collect that have ZERO INTEREST in your topic to walk through the process. Don't talk to them, don't explain (if you have to explain, you are doing something wrong.) Listen to them. This is your "average user."
- (Stupid question, really) SSL cert working and in place, using the SSL icon provided by the CA?
- Payment methods: PayPal only, or anything else that requires the user to do "special things" when entering payment?
- Please don't tell me you're using CAPTCHA on checkout. :-)

There are probably lots more, but it's really rather simple, step outside what you think you know and listen. :-)


 5:33 pm on Aug 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I would definitely set up a funnel in google analytics to see where most of the sales are being lost in the checkout process (if the checkout process is more than one page length).

I really recommend a blog called getelastic.com since they feature all sorts of usability studies for improving conversions.

Also, is your traffic coming from the right countries? I get a lot of traffic from countries that we don't ship to and the visitors from those countries do seem to add things to their cart only to abandon them.

I hope this helps.


 6:47 pm on Aug 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Do you guys recommend any websites or individuals who are good with ecommerce tactics, and I can pay a small free for them to go in and analyze the website and help me tweak it a bit to get more conversions? Product quality isn't an issue, and prices are some of the lowest. I also get a fair amount of traffic. So the only thing I can figure out is there is something about the website that turns people off from actually purchasing.


 9:00 pm on Aug 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

... and when you're gathering up all those people rocknbil suggested, sit them down somewhere other than your own computer with your everyday browser which is full of essential cookies that you'd forgotten all about.

The one problem I see with human testing is that somewhere in this process they're going to have to enter a credit card number-- unless they give up and leave before this point. So if you haven't already got one, you'll need to make a "testing only" credit-card account whose orders won't be processed, even if the user clicks every last button.


 10:19 pm on Aug 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

If you want to put the address in your profile, I'm sure some people here would take a look.


 10:32 pm on Aug 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Rocknbill really covered it, but to reiterate the points that apply to me as a shopper...here is what causes that kind of behavior in me:

1) Starting checkout is the only way to view shipping cost. This is so, so common, and so, so bothersome.

2) I go to check out, all gung-ho to place an order, only to find the connection's not really secure on my browser. Sometimes I contact the retailer, but often enough I've been told that they don't know what could be wrong, it's my problem, whatever...so I don't bother anymore. When this happens, I try another browser, and if it still is happening, that's it, I'm gone. (You'd probably be able to identify this by two proximal orders with similar shopping carts placed from different browsers, that were abandoned.)

3) The prices are so good, I want to do lots more shopping at the store before I place my order. So I leave my cart there and hope the retailer has a long cookie for when I come back next time. If not, oh, well.

4) Various other techy/buggy issues. The checkout display sucks. Not everything is visible on the page. I get a "some insecure content" warning. That sort of thing.

5) If I get forwarded to a third-party checkout service, there is not enough visual or textual continuity from the store to the checkout service, and I'm not sure the site is legit.


 4:50 am on Aug 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

alright, I posted the website address in my profile. So far you guys have been awesome. Thank you. I'm thinking the main issue may be that the shopping cart plugin I use calculates shipping based on zipcode, which you can enter on the cart page, but most people miss that, so the only other time they can see the shipping charge is after they put in their address on the checkout page, then shipping will be on the confirmation page. But I most people won't realize there is a confirmation page, so they think they will never know the shipping charge till its too late. I have tried to find a workaround for this other than charging a flat rate shipping based on weight.


 9:16 pm on Aug 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

If it's already there but you suspect people are overlooking it, make them notice it. Er, I mean, make it noticeable, not grab them and rub their noses in it ;) Something with an arrow saying "figure your shipping rate now", that kind of thing.

As a human user, I often do have to start the checkout just to learn the shipping rate. So your reasoning sounds solid.


 10:17 pm on Aug 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Don't see a URL.


 10:40 pm on Aug 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Me neither. "Edit Profile" says
Public URL is only displayed for full members or higher.

Always assumed that meant "you can only see it if..." but apparently not.


 10:44 pm on Aug 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Unless policy has changed here ( and apparently it hasn't ;-) website address urls don't appear in member profiles here.. if you want them made public that is .. ( it can be confusing because you can see that you added them but other members cant see them ) here until one has made around 100 posts ( anti spam tactic)..which would be why dpd1 cant see it ..

None of us can..you'll have to sticky it to someone.

Likewise one can't post in the commercial section ..until one has made a certain number of posts..again I think it was set at 100..for the same reasons.


 11:50 pm on Aug 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Weird... Didn't know about that one.


 12:20 am on Aug 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

<OT but whilst we are here>
Foo posts don't count towards post count..( it may well be more than 100 needed to post an address in "profile" never posted any of mine so never knew 1st hand the exact number..but I seem to remember 100 being the figure at one time..also the various grades of "member" ( apart from mod and admin ) don't count for much, to most of us ;-), some superb posters never made more than a few dozen posts, or a couple of hundred down the years ..and I seem to remember that Brett or another admin once said that the jump from say "preferred" to "senior" etc can vary according to the "quality" of the posts ..( don't know if that is still the case )..an old thread that touches upon this and other related things ( that I read many years ago ..from the days when I was an occasional lurker..and hadn't yet joined ) comes to mind ..[webmasterworld.com ] ..it is the quality of the posts that counts here ..not the quantity. ;-)

So ..now I'll quit hi-jacking DSClifford's ( who'll have to sticky the address to someone to get an "opinion" ) thread ..;-)
</OT but whilst we are here>

"Full" is 200 posts..( my error previously ) I just looked..[webmasterworld.com ]


 1:33 pm on Aug 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

(Stupid question, really) SSL cert working and in place, using the SSL icon provided by the CA?

I once had unsecure images on my ssl page, and because I was using IE i accidentally clicked 'don't remind me again' when the security warning dialog box appeared. Days later when I noticed a significant drop in sales, I went back and checked my ordering process and was not warned about the security error. It wasn't until days later when I used a different browser that I figured the problem.


 9:03 am on Aug 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Test as Rocknbil suggested but:
1. let your testers use their own machines - there may be some common configuration issue that you hadn't thought of
2. don't use IT professionals for testing, I have done that and no problems were found. As soon as Joe Public hit the site there were problems. (Often resolved with apparently trivial changes to on-page text)


 3:22 pm on Aug 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Heh. Eons ago I wrote this generic advice for game designers:
Test. Test. And test again.
And that doesn’t just mean bug-testing (does it go more than 24 hours without crashing?). It means getting people--preferably people you don’t know, who don’t know how your mind works--to play through your game. If you say “INSPECT” and everyone else in the world tries “EXAMINE”, or if the same piece of furniture is a “CUPBOARD” in one room and a “WARDROBE” in another, you’ll end up with a lot of frustrated fans.

Mutatis mutandis ;) with particular reference to "people who don't know how your mind works".

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