What is the biggest and most obvious problem facing e-commerce retailers?
Checkout. By that, I mean customers who find their way to a retailer’s digital home, decide to buy an item, add the item to cart and press checkout — only to quit the last part of the transaction.
This seems like a small issue, but in fact, it is an enormous cost for retailers — to the tune of billions of dollars by some industry estimates. Yet, despite the size of the checkout problem, fixing the issue also ends up as the last item on many to-do lists.
That’s partly because checkout is at the bottom of the funnel. At the top of the funnel are the big-ticket, splashy items: Ad campaigns, paid traffic, product-market fit, media relations, and everything that feels weighty and important.
Companies spend time, money and energy getting people in the door, building meaningful products and services, and keeping those people in their e-commerce ecosystem. Generally, marketing teams control many of those aforementioned levers — they do paid social, SEO and SEM marketing, billboards and all the other campaigns that bring customers in.
Every dollar of marketing at the top of the funnel can be augmented by a focus on checkout.
At the bottom of the funnel are technical and product teams, and usually someone responsible for payment infrastructure. Those people tend to be graded on whether things work — not necessarily how well they work.
Thus, checkout becomes an orphan: Neither the explicit focus of the marketing team, nor a key area of interest for product and technical leads. And all the while, customers shop without buying — they exhibit high “purchase intent” but neglect to make actual purchases.
To put it more simply: You may have perfected the top of the funnel, but you very well could have missed the gaps in the bottom.
But in a world of scarce resources and scarcer time, how can you get senior leadership to rally around lost conversion and broken checkout as a key area of strategic focus?
The following five steps might help you fix the “last click”problem:
Reframe checkout as a marketing opportunity not a product problem
Think of checkout like this: The top of the funnel is low-performing marketing spend, and the bottom of the funnel is high-performing marketing spend.