ecommerce

Test and implement these guest checkout tactics to reduce cart abandonment, grow ecommerce sales and conversion rates, and have your customers complete the purchase.

As a customer, do you really want to create an account for every single website you interact with? Absolutely not. On the other hand, if you are a customer, you want these online retailers to know who you are. This is why a website without a guest checkout is regarded as a “conversion killer”.

Having a guest checkout is one way to keep people from leaving your ecommerce site before they buy.

You may be worried about losing that connection with the customer. But don’t fear. If you implement some of these guest checkout ideas, you will be able to continue the conversation – even if they say they can’t stay for long as of now.

Let’s review these guest checkout tactics to help us grow sales and improve the user experience. It’s jam-packed with examples and ideas from a group of top US ecommerce sites we evaluated to illustrate this article.

Guest Checkout Tactics: What can I do to increase my ecommerce conversion rates?

34% of the users in a Baymard Institute study abandoned an order because they were not offered an ecommerce guest checkout option.

Guest checkouts are an increasingly standard feature of most ecommerce sites today. But what sets the real winners apart is the checkout experience or the finesse with which they give the customer a choice between registering and proceeding as a guest.

If we ignore the segment of visitors that are “just browsing”, and look at the remaining reasons for abandonments, we get the above distribution. Source: Baymard Institute cart abandonment rate statistics.

Baymard Institute cart abandonment rate statistics.

If we ignore the segment of visitors that are “just browsing”, and look at the remaining reasons for abandoned carts, we get the above distribution. Source: Baymard Institute cart abandonment rate statistics.

1. Create account after purchase

Ironically, the only bit of additional information an ecommerce site needs is a password to create an account. Anyone paying with a credit card is providing their name, and it is standard practice to provide an email address for receipts and order updates.

Allow guest shoppers to create an account after the purchase is complete. Most of the information will have been filled in, and it would probably be a matter of adding a couple of fields. This will certainly help raise conversion rates, and may have only a small impact on the number of accounts your customers create.

Did you know that your customers are more likely to create an account after they purchase? This may seem counter-intuitive, the best time to ask someone to do something for you is right after they’ve purchased. They like you more because they chose you.

If you want to take it a step further, offer a guest checkout only and tell them they can create an account later, if they so desire.

Victoria’s Secret secret (and subtle) approach to account creation. Guest checkout tactics to grow ecommerce sales.

Victoria’s Secret secret (and subtle) approach to account creation.

2. Express payment options or social signups

A good way to complement a guest checkout, which will also save time filling out forms, is to offer a social signup or PayPal as the payment method. Notice how your customers can then go through the checkout without having to enter lots of details.

Not only will these options make for a smooth checkout UX, they will have a big impact on mobile checkout rates. No matter how short you make your forms, nothing beats a pre-filled option, especially when you are doing it on your phone.

Be careful, though. Not everyone trusts ecommerce websites with their social data. Thanks, Cambridge Analytica. Instead of “Login with LinkedIn”, try language like “Auto-fill from LinkedIn.”

Add this AB test to your mobile conversion optimization list, and see if you can grow the number of completed orders with express sign-ups.

3. Save your details for the next time

The smartest ecommerce sites give visitors clear reasons for creating an account at the time of purchase. They know repeat customers spend 67% more than new customers.

Of all the guest checkout tactics, this is the one I favor the most. Nothing pushy about signing up for an account or registering for future savings. Just a plain “would you like to save your details for the next time?” Why not? If I enjoy your products, I will definitely be coming back to your shop.

Do you offer a customer loyalty program? Well, there’s no better time to promote the incredible benefits of your program than right after a purchase.

Conversion Sciences Pro Tip: Craft a special exit-intent pop-up on your thank-you page that invites your new customer to enjoy the benefits of having an account. An exit-intent popup appears when the visitor is about to leave your site. This is a good time to offer something like, “Let us save your details and earn loyalty points.”

Building a smooth customer journey is key to business and revenue growth. Here’s how to create a sales funnel that works in just 5 minutes.

You may not believe you already have one or more sales funnels in place, but all businesses do. Maybe it’s not working as expected. Or perhaps you would like to make it more effective. Follow these steps to create a sales funnel in 5 minutes that will have customers buying from you in no time at all.

What Is a Sales Funnel?

But first things first. Let’s quickly refresh the definition of a sales funnel.

A sales funnel is a hypothetical or ideal journey you would like a prospect to travel to become a lead or a customer. This is why sales or revenue funnels are also called “customer journeys” or “customer blueprints”.

They can be as simple as a one step Click to Call Google Ad, where the button is your opt-in point or as complex as need be. Especially for those businesses where lots of lead nurturing is needed for prospects to convert.

Call only ads are best used when there's a sense of urgency to the offer. Isn't this one of the shortest sales funnels ever?

Call only ads are best used when there’s a sense of urgency to the offer. Isn’t this one of the shortest sales funnels ever?

Keep in mind, while you are building your sales funnel, that the best functioning ones are those that reduce friction. That is, they do not add unnecessary barriers or hurdles to the sales process.

Ready, Set, Let’s See How to Create a Sales Funnel in 5 Minutes

One of the sales models that is most frequently used in customer blueprints and customer journey mapping is the AIDA model, which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. Developed by E. St. Elmo Lewis in 1898, it maps how people make purchasing decisions. And, in spite of the technological developments, its importance and effectiveness has not diminished as humans have not changed their buying decision making process since then.

Whatever tactics you use to qualify leads and drive them closer to taking the desired action will change accordingly to where the lead is within the funnel: top (TOFU), middle (MOFU) or bottom (BOFU). It essential to understand how the funnel works from the moment you make the first contact (TOFU) with your ideal future customers to the moment where you convert those leads (BOFU). Keep in mind that each one of these components depends on the others.

Creating a sales funnel is as simple as defining the desired action and the target audience and then drawing the path between those two. And as complex as making it function successfully.

Here’s how to create a sales funnel (or improve the one you have) in 5 minutes.

AIDA model applied to customer journey mapping.

AIDA model applied to customer journey mapping.

To Create a Sales Funnel First you Need to Generate Awareness

Attracting attention or generating awareness works best when you know your target audience media habits. You’ll be more successful if you advertise your brand, your products and/or services where the majority of your prospects already are.

These prospects may be currently looking for what your product or service provides or they may not. Those potential leads that are intently searching for a service similar to yours will notice relevant messages much more than those that are not.

For example, if someone is ready to upgrade to a new car, they will feel as if there are more automobile ads than usual. It’s because they are more aware. Generating awareness for your brand might be easier in this case. Funny how the brain works.

On the other hand, you may generate awareness amongst prospects with related needs. They are not looking for what you sell exactly. For example, while browsing their Facebook feed or reading a blog post, a person looking for a higher paying job may stumble upon a college or university they didn’t previously know existed.

Once you know where to find the vast majority of your audience, you can decide on a way to generate awareness about your brand. Usually these tactics range from PPC campaigns, TV or radio ads, billboards, blog posts, trade show participation, referrals, direct mail, email campaigns, online search results, all the way to super outrageous publicity stunts. You get the idea. Don’t craft the copy or the creative yet.

Have you chosen a tactic to introduce your prospects to your brand? Great! You’ve got the first step of your sales funnel covered. (Don’t overthink it) Move on to the next step.

Guiding customers through the buying stages: how to create a sales funnel that works in 5 minutes.

Guiding customers through the buying stages: how to create a sales funnel that works in 5 minutes.

Second Step: The Interest Awakens

To create a solid sales funnel, you have to drive your prospects to click, call, download, sign-up, or visit you. And even though this happens at the last stage, you need to present the reasons why your are worthy of consideration in order to make it happen.

Do you have an eCommerce site and are offering free shipping? Is your SaaS fulfilling a productivity need that is important to your lead? Or do your cars flaunt the features your prospective buyers are searching for?

Related reading: 7 Conversion Copywriting Hacks You’ll Wish You Knew About Sooner

You need to know your customers and their behaviors, habits, and motivations to cut through the noise and to offer them something they recognize as useful or relevant.

This is the time to entice and convince them as to why they need your product or service.

Third Step: Pick Me! Pick Me! or the Sales Funnel Desire Stage

You presented your benefits properly and showed value to your prospect. Now it’s time to elicit desire. Congratulations! You are in the middle of the funnel (MOFU).

Keep an eye on your goal, your lead has to desire your product or service above any other.

Hence, you should keep educating and positioning your brand as the solution to their needs and problems. This is the stage where you shine a spotlight on those benefits. Testimonials, case studies, product comparisons, and customer reviews work well here.

This is also the stage where you match your product or service benefits to the prospect’s needs to clear up any barriers to the sale. This is a critical stage in which website traffic often fails to convert.

Do not miss out on these 20 Landing Page Best Practices to Kickstart Your Conversion Lift

Fourth Step: Ask for the Sale

It seems to go without saying that any good sales funnel ends with a purchase. The biggest mistake people make when using the AIDA model, though, is to assume the sale will happen organically once the other steps have fallen into place. It won’t. Unlike an actual funnel, what goes into a sales funnel doesn’t always reemerge at the end. And people tend to not take action unless they’re asked. So, pay attention to your calls to action – the worst mistake sales people make is not ask for the close.

What’s your call to action? How will you prompt them to fill out the form, complete their shopping cart purchase, have a one-on-one call or meeting or do whatever final action you want them to take to complete their customer journey?

Purple mattress on exit intent pop up offer (BOFU).

Purple mattress on exit intent pop up offer (BOFU).

Maybe you’ll offer them a free assessment, or a last minute discount if they complete the transaction right away. Take a minute to decide as the BOFU stage is the most crucial since it’s where you ask for the sale.

Ta Da! 5 minutes to build a sales funnel without writing a single line of copy — yet.

Would you rather have the conversion scientists identify your customer journeys to help you build your funnels? Then, check out our Conversion Rate Optimization Audit Services.

Sales Funnel Examples

Now that we’ve created our customer journey, let’s take a look at a couple of sales funnel examples for inspiration.

I think we covered one with the call only PPC ads example. Great for a local business like a personal injury attorney or a plumber, locksmith or any organization whose concern is to make the phone ring. Another requirement for successfully using this type of sales funnel is a sense of urgency to your product or service.

Purple mattress provides visitors with a humorously informational and convincing MOFU tactic on their landing pages with their zany videos backed by scientifically proven data. We may be a bit skewed as they also wear lab coats but go ahead, play the video and tell us what you think – unless you decide to buy a mattress first. ;)

A typical lead generation sales funnel example that remains mostly on the TOFU stage is to offer a Free Book, Research or White Paper to visitors – organic or paid. Take them to the next stages of the funnel by offering a one-time offer or a free consulting session. Keep qualifying the lead and close it with a call or an in person meeting.

Once you have a funnel ready an implemented you will want to test it, so we leave you with 9 Imaginative Approaches to AB Testing Landing Pages to get you started.