Enhance Marketplace eCommerce Checkout Flow

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Scenarios for eCommerce Checkout Process

An eCommerce marketplace, or subsets such as a buying group, eCommerce auction platform, franchise, or multistore eCommerce should have extremely detailed and nuanced functionality within checkout.

Importance of a Self-Service Checkout Process

To that end, one of the key aspects of a marketplace in general is the ability to enable users to self-service, despite the fact that they’re typically interacting with more than one fulfillment source. This is because in a marketplace, there are multiple vendors that are selling an item during a single checkout.

There can also be multilocation fulfillment that's occurring. A key relationship in marketplace eCommerce is between the number of vendors and the number of different fulfillment locations.

As a result, it can be quite detailed depending on what type of items we need to complete. Details include getting the shipping information or estimates for rate quotes for the shipment, dealing with currency, multicurrency, customs, and duties depending on where items are coming from, looking at the lead times and selecting expedite methods that are accurate, and also dealing with potentially complex order items during checkout.

There may be some need to be able to prove that it's a tax-exempt order, for example. And maybe all of the vendors that are selling things need this tax exemption proof because they're having to prove with their tax filings that they were in fact correct not to file taxes for this order that went through.

With all of these different types of nuances, in order to have a full self-service capability, we have to be able to incorporate these seamlessly during checkout. And of course, whenever a user is buying something, they have to be able to interact with the system with a minimal overhead.

Specifically, if there's any friction during checkout in particular, it can dramatically reduce the conversion for items in the cart. For example, maybe two orders are placed in the checkout, but only one order is completed. That conversion heavily keys off of the checkout process itself.

self-service checkout process

Enhance Checkout Flow

Therefore, one of the key things that we do in many cases with the marketplace eCommerce is interview end customers and interact with the end customers or representatives of the customers. And in all cases, we review with the client’s internal team to fully understand what the different scenarios might be, as well as the various edge cases and concepts that need to be incorporated during checkout.

Then we can enable a full workflow that occurs within the business naturally and between the customers and sellers in the marketplace. We make sure we obtain the right workflow for your business for its current needs as well as where it needs to get to. We also look at what steps we can automate and turn into a self-service step for the best results.

The output of this discovery process is that we can cater the checkout process and make it as simple and complete as possible. This combination of simplicity and completeness, with the ability to adapt and provide the full coverage of the different edge vases whenever the input from the user during checkout necessitates, is what makes or breaks the checkout process and therefore the ability to convert at a high rate.

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eCommerce User Flow

Shipping and Billing Integrations for a Simple Checkout Experience

There are several ways to simplify the checkout experience without sacrificing accuracy or completeness. Here are some of the key ways to do that with some major marketplace operations:

Shipping and Billing Data

For a marketplace, some of the key nuances are around the different steps with the shipping and billing information, and intelligently utilizing existing shipping and billing information.

If the marketplace is such that there is an integration to back office, front office, your CRM, or other data, we need to make sure that we're fully leveraging that throughout the user’s experience, once we've identified and linked their login to their associated data, with possibly their company that they're working with or associated with, or just their individual data.

Address Verification

We also want to verify address information by doing address validation where it makes sense, especially in a marketplace where there are typically going to be multiple shipments going out when there are multiple line items from multiple vendors. It's expensive to have items returned because address information was wrong.

Therefore, it's critical that we have address validation and a user experience for the user that allows them to intuitively resolve any address verification issues, as well as intelligently split the items out in the in the shipping portion as needed.

Determine Shipping Options

One of the other big aspects for marketplace eCommerce platforms is the ability to determine shipping options, such as by container or group, that's going to go out together.

This could be a large intermodal shipment, a pallet, box, or some other shipping group or grouping. It’s important to have the ability to show the end user what the lead time or expected delivery time is, and what the cost would be to expedite, and when it would be received by as an estimate.

hese capabilities become even more important when you get into large, complex, bulky, or heavy items that are being shipped.

determine shipping options

Have More Returning Customers

In many cases during this checkout process, the user needs to make several key decisions that are going to impact their happiness and essentially their satisfaction with the marketplace and with the vendors and with the overall completion of their order, and for their desire to return to the marketplace. So, these are really important pieces during checkout.

returning customers
Let Customers Know What to Expect in eCommerce Checkouts

Optimize Expectations with Concise and Complete Checkout Flow

Another important aspect for many marketplaces is if there is an auction or buying group or franchise group, there may be special nuances of the financial terms that are very important during the checkout that we need to present to the user in an elegant way that is again concise but complete.

Discount Levels

For buying groups, this might be hard and soft stops, and being able to see that increasing the quantity slightly is going to result in the order being fulfilled right away at a certain discount. And then if they reach a certain quantity based on their role, or their discount level, they could advance to the next rewards level within the group buying organizations.

This might enable them to purchase a certain amount of volume every year, or get a certain return or rebate built into their future purchases, for example.

These are the types of things that we need to be able to incorporate seamlessly so the user has these encouragements, or so we nudge the user very subtly but still clearly, that they could do this and get this. That can be really helpful for a buying group or auctions.

Next Steps

Oftentimes with auctions, someone might be purchasing something, and they’ve won the auction. We want to make sure they know what the next steps are in the process that they will complete in the checkout.

These are common things that can occur within auction, when a customer is buying from someone, and maybe it’s an individual selling the item rather than a business, or it could be a small business, and they don’t have rigorous quality control standards in place.

You can handle these types of scenarios by putting a “Please check here to indicate that you understand this.” Or maybe the user needs to go through and complete a brief training, so at some other point during registration we need to verify that they’ve gone through that.

Again, we don't want to make it too complicated, but we also want to make sure that before someone purchases something and gets their expectations up that they understand they can purchase one more and get a discount, or they may receive the items from an individual who's selling them, and these are the things they should expect.

next steps

Let Customers See Shipping Details

During the checkout, in addition to quantity and rewards-based discounts, some of the shipping and container size pieces are really critical too, and the end user needs to be able to see this as they are completing the checkout process. Otherwise, it’s going to dramatically impact their experience.

So as much as we can, we want to present this during the shopping card experience so they can see splitting of items as far forward up the funnel as the catalog page or product detail page. And from there, have the information follow the user around with these ideas of having their items going to different containers.

In the same line of thought, whenever they are in the checkout process and we’re shipping things from different locations or drop shipping from different vendors, as most marketplaces will, it’s really important that we clearly show them the expected delivery date and any impact from shipping costs and options that they have in order to keep the cost down while still getting the delivery time they need.

Have Items be Assignable for Better Self-Service

One of the other things that is common during checkout for marketplace, especially if the marketplace has digital items or possibly items that are going to be assigned, is to allow those items to be assignable during the checkout.

This can include emailing a digital access token to the buyer(s), putting detailed notes on the line items that are associated to a particular location that it’s being shipped to for tax purposes, and more. These things are pretty detailed, but whenever the user needs to be able to annotate the order and the line item properly, it can be really helpful for the self-service process.

self-serve web architecture

Clarity Can Help

The main takeaway is that as you’re considering your marketplace eCommerce checkout, and how critical that is converting and growing the marketplace, you want to look for a partner who can get down to the bare metal and down to the very granular workflows and business logic areas and modify those at will to match your business needs. In particular, experience with similar industries and similar workflows is really critical.

We will be happy for you to see the myriad of ways that we’ve implemented customized eCommerce marketplace checkouts for other clients, and how you can benefit from this experience directly. Click the button below to talk to one of our experts, get your questions answered, and discover what we can do for you.

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