What have you bought online in the past few months? Many of us have turned to e-commerce to deliver either to our doorstep — or allow us to pick up curbside — any items we need. And we’re sure you’ve noticed, some online shopping experiences are better than others. Think of Amazon or Netflix, with fine-tuned algorithms offering up products you’ll likely love and a streamlined path to purchase. 

The internet first opened to the public in 1991, and e-commerce best practices evolved from that point onward. While the first thing ever sold on the internet is a debated topic, the 1994 sale of a Sting CD for $12.48 plus shipping and handling, involves a secure online credit card transaction in a form we now recognize as e-commerce. Since then, online shopping has grown into an expected buying option for many consumers. Here are five e-commerce best practices consumers demand today. 

1. Don’t Demand a Login

Perhaps you’ve experienced this: you thought you’d buy sneakers you’d been eyeing for quite some time. So, you add them to your cart and go to check out. First, you’re required to create an account. Then, when you input your email you’re reminded that you already have an account. Oops! Did you forget your password? Like any mere mortal, chances are you did. Next, you look for the, “check out as a guest,” option — and find it doesn’t exist. Finally, like most consumers faced with a clunky online shopping experience, you leave. You know the sneakers are available somewhere else with an easier user experience.

This applies to self storage as well. While contact information is vital for eventually converting shopping cart abandoners, collecting this information is a delicate process. One in four consumers abandons online purchases due to forced registration. Many times, a login-required e-commerce experience can deter customers and result in lease abandonment. With G5 Uber Leasing® 3.0, prospective renters aren’t required to create an account, giving them the freedom to input information seamlessly. By removing the concept of an account, your renters experience a simple transaction, keeping them engaged in the renting process and avoiding shopping cart abandonment mid-process.

2. Re-Engage Abandoners

According to Baymard Institute, the average shopping cart abandonment rate across all industries is just under 70%. The truth is, not everyone visiting your website is decision-ready with a credit card in hand. Consumers live increasingly busy lives and many websites are vying for their attention. Additionally, consumers have high expectations for our online shopping experiences. According to Statista, the top five reasons for shopping cart abandonment are: shipping costs too much, the discount code doesn’t work, shipping takes too long, having to re-enter credit card info, and needing to re-enter shipping info. In short, our e-commerce expectations have been conditioned by companies, like Amazon, and their online experience which makes it easy to click “buy now.” Cart abandonment data doesn’t lie, a built-in re-engagement strategy is a must to attract prospects back to your website to complete the leasing process. With G5 Uber® Leasing, you can send mid-process abandoners a win-back email to re-engage once they are ready — no login required. Friendly, well-timed reminders invite renters back to their almost-completed lease so they can begin exactly where they left off. 

3. Step-by-Step 

Keep the checkout process short and along the way let your customers know where they are in your three-step checkout process. Your steps include: unit reservation, online payment, and lease signing. When we are leasing a storage unit in the front office we know exactly where we are in the leasing process, because we see it happening in front of us in real-time. This customer expectation is the same when the transaction moves online. Providing this kind of transparency with your e-commerce process keeps your online renters engaged and retains them through lease signing.

If you want to take your step-by-step process to the next level, include an animated progress indicator as the next web page in the process loads, especially with a slow connection speed. Bottom line, it signals to your online renters that the website is working on their request. More than anything, you don’t want them incorrectly thinking the website has stalled out — causing them to abandon mid-process. One more way to simplify a stepped process is to visually hide unnecessary steps until they are needed. For example, with online leasing, don’t ask a vehicle VIN or a military ID until you know they are relevant. By collapsing information and only asking relevant questions, you keep the process streamlined and avoid your renters feeling overwhelmed. The beauty in moving a lengthy paper-centric lease online is that steps can be re-ordered and simplified, resulting in a satisfied renter.

4. Secure Checkout

Clearly communicate with your customer that your checkout process is secure and encrypted. Many of us have fallen victim to having our information, such as a credit card, compromised through an online process. Clear messaging, which communicates your secure checkout process helps ease consumers’ minds. Consumers are also looking for signs that your website is secure including: the padlock icon in the URL bar and https web addresses.

5. Speedy Spending

According to Google, as page load speed increases from one to three seconds, the probability of bounce, or leaving the website, increases by 32%. It’s not enough to simply be online. Your online presence needs to be quick-loading and implement basic e-commerce best practices. Speed and the length of time an e-commerce transaction takes is near the top of that list. Additionally, more prospects are searching on mobile devices. Despite the pandemic, search is up. According to information provided through G5’s Premier Google Partnership, search queries grew 8% in the second quarter of 2020 — with 57% of all searches on mobile. It is essential for your e-commerce website to be, at minimum, mobile-friendly and preferably mobile-first, to continue connecting with customer’s expectations. 

Best-in-Class Partnerships Win with Workflow

At G5, we believe that good design should lead to conversions — in digital advertising, on websites, and of course through our premier online leasing experience for self storage, G5 Uber Leasing ® 3.0. Want to learn the G5 approach to self storage e-commerce best practices? Check out our recent case study about our REIT partnership. Learn why this best-in-class e-commerce leasing solution might be a great fit for your property.