Archive for May, 2012

Check this out. A few tips for your checkout process.

Your checkout process is one of the most important parts of your e-commerce site. Some statistics say that up to 56% percent of checkout processes are abandoned, 56%!!!!!! Imagine if you owned a brick and mortar shop and half of the people that brought items to your checkout counter decided that they didn’t want to buy all the items that they picked out right before handing you their debit card.

So why do people leave? They obviously found what they were looking for. They took the time to read your product descriptions and clicked add to cart. They are ready to buy and start the checkout process and then poof, they are gone.

I am going to give you a few tips to help keep them in the process until it is done and the order is done.

First of all, KEEP IT SIMPLE. Nothing turns people away like checkout processes that have page after page after page of stuff to fill out. Don’t ask for information that you don’t need. Sure it would be nice to know every thing about your customers but the fact is that you will scare more people off by asking too many questions. Why do you need to know my age, sex and favorite color? Keep it simple, quick and easy.

Make your call to actions easy to see. The continue button should be bright, big and friendly.

Take away unnecessary navigation options. Guide them by not giving them many distractions. I would suggest removing any side and top navigation any search options or email sign ups. Basically present them with only the task at hand, finishing their order.

Have a progress bar. Let people know where they are in the process, it’s much easier to stick with a process if you know the end is in sight. Plus reassurance that there will be a final step of confirming the order information before being charged puts peoples’ minds at ease.

Make sure your security seal is visible and up to date. As we hear more and more horror stories of people’s personal information being stolen online, folks are definitely more soothed by seeing a security seal that is up to date and prominently displayed.

Lastly, and I have talked about this before, make good use of triggered emails. If you don’t have a confirmation email (an email sent to a customer to let them know that their order has been received) then you’re in trouble. Most people have confirmation emails but in addition to that you should consider having an abandon cart email (an email that is sent after a few days of someone leaving the checkout process reminding them that they still have something in their cart).

I strongly urge everyone to setup a checkout goal funnel in Google Analytics and then use the funnel visualization report to see where people are falling out of your checkout process. This will really give you a great insight into where your checkout has issues. You should set up your “goal” to the “order sent” page and have the steps be the pages you have leading up to it starting with your “view cart” page. You will be able to see not only how many people are leaving the checkout process but also which page they are leaving from and where they are going. A useful tool indeed, and really, if you are in e-commerce YOU NEED THIS.

It’s likely that most checkout processes could use a little work, so keep these tips in mind. If you need some help or an extra set of eyes to take a look at your site, drop us a line at



This will be my final installment of our “changes to Facebook” series, admittedly a bit later then I promised but alas we all get busy from time to time. In this final chapter I will discuss Ads and the Admin page.
On the users page in the top right corner a feed (or ticker) will be generated based on social content, such as “Larry Jones likes YourCompanies post”. It is a simple way of spreading the word to friends of fans, of course the challenge lies in posting content that your fans will “like”.
Sponsored stories act a bit differently. They come to fan’s homepages, mobile devices rather then appearing on the ticker.
There is also something new called the “log-out experience” wherein a user can chose to logout through your company’s Facebook page and be taken to a website of your (the company’s) choosing. Personally I don’t see a giant benefit to using this function, but I suppose it can’t hurt.
In place of the “Deals” from the old Facebook we now have “Offers”. They will appear in the newsfeed and can be a sponsored story but don’t have to be. You company will define the terms of the offer (availability, deal, etc) and fans will click to redeem via an email sent by Facebook. Offers are a great way to sell some products and get more fans that want to receive these offers, and they’re free!
The final bit of this blog is about where the magic happens, don’t worry, I don’t mean in an “MTV Cribs” sort of way, I am talking about the Admin page. I find it to be pretty intuitive in its operation however here’s a few important things that can be controlled from this page. First of all you can of course manage your content and users. You can create ads and offers. From here you will have the ability to share Facebook posts and email other users. There are some handy graphs and stats that if used properly can provide some interesting insights to how your page is being received. You will have the option to request Facebook for a name change. In the messages area messages can be turned off if you don’t want fans or non-fans writing on your timeline. You can reply to messages via the admin page however you cannot message individuals first.
My main advice with the admin page is to explore it for a bit and become aware of all the options and functions of the new Facebook.
So what is my final take on the Facebook timeline? I think it’s got its pros and cons. I think that there is some great potential for advertising and getting your brand established. I certainly wouldn’t rely on it solely to promote your company but I do think that any company serious about making their presence known on the web should definitely spend some time making sure that their Facebook page is attractive and populated.
Thanks for reading and as always your friends here at Timberline Interactive are always happy to help with any of your web business needs so don’t be shy, drop us a line at