How to Set Up Your Online Store

Step 4: Checkout Logistics: Get all your ducks in a row!

By November 15, 2019 April 9th, 2020 No Comments

Here’s the bad news: the current average online shopping cart abandonment rate is about 70%!  That’s a huge number of potentially lost sales!

Why do carts get abandoned?

  • Shipping costs
  • A complicated checkout process
  • Website issues
  • Needing to sign up for an account
  • Unfamiliar payment gateway
  • …and other reasons like comparison shopping, research, distraction, etc.

The good news is… 

We’re here to help you avoid some of these typical pitfalls so you can beat that average! Woot! Read on to see how you can complete more of your sales.

Checkout Logistics are hugely impactful in connecting with your customers.

Yep, it’s big. Checkout Logistics can help you or hinder you in connecting with your customers. Now that you’ve got a powerful message, beautiful imagery, and a layout that’s easy on the eyes, let’s keep your customers with a fantastic checkout experience.

Think about it this way:  make things as easy on your customer as possible. Set things up really well so nothing is confusing. The steps from cart to payment to shipping need to be obvious, simple, and of course, free of errors.

Here’s a checklist of everything you’ll need to get set up:

Payment Gateway

This is when you choose your partner for accepting credit card payments. Typical partners are Stripe, PayPal and, or if you’re using Shopify: Shopify Payments.  Look into the fees for these, see their features and what works best for you, but also, keep in mind what your customers will be expecting or feel most comfortable with.

It is possible to have more than one form of payment set up on your site if you wish, but it does tend to complicate things in the check out so we don’t usually recommend it.

Put through some test orders to make sure you are comfortable with and knowledgeable about how payment works before launch!

Tax Settings

If you’re using Shopify, tax settings are pretty easy to set up using default settings for the zones in your country. If you’re using another platform you’ll just need to find the tax rates for the zones in your country and fill in a table in the tax settings section. If you’re planning on selling internationally you won’t charge tax and get to skip this step for those customers!

Shipping Settings
There are a bunch of things to think about in this category!

  1. Start with your packaging. What are you shipping? What kind of packaging will you use? What are the dimensions of the packaging? How much does your product + packaging weigh?  You need this info first to be able to determine who your best shipping carrier is. After you know your packaging dimensions and weight, you can shop that info around to the different shipping providers to see which one will make the most sense for your product.  The main shipping providers are Canada Post, Purolator, FedEx and UPS.  In our experience, most of our clients end up using Canada Post and you can check out their shipping for small business info here.
  2. Be conscious of shipping rate to product cost ratio. As we learned above, the shipping cost can be one of the major factors in whether your customer completes the sale or not! Keep in mind you can always change this once you see how people are responding.
  3. Be aware of your industry neighbours and what other businesses in your market are offering as far as shipping goes. Obviously, you need to ultimately choose a shipping method that works for you, but you don’t want someone to shop elsewhere if your shipping rates are way out of the range of the rest of your market!
  4. Using the information you’ve gathered from the above tasks, decide whether you’re going to offer:
    • Free Shipping
    • Real Time Shipping Cost Based on Destination
    • Flat Rate Shipping

    All options have their pros and cons and you’ll have to weigh out which one works best for you and your customers.

  5. Self Ship vs a Third Party Logistics Provider (3PL).  We definitely recommend starting by shipping your product yourself. That way, you get to control the process and refine it as you go. As you grow, you might work with a 3PL who can receive your orders and then pack and ship on your behalf. With either manually packing & shipping yourself or working with a 3PL you might want to think about an additional Shipping software.  Something like Shipstation is awesome (if you’re in Canada. This is not an affiliate link, we’ve just used it and like it.). Software like this can help you group orders by day and bulk print labels, sort by priority etc. It can keep you super organized and make things easier on you!

For more on Shipping and e-commerce, check out this great article from Shopify.

Set up your Email Notifications

If you’re using Shopify, the email notifications that are pre-set up for you are pretty standard and will work fine… However, these little auto responses are another simple way you can connect with your customers!  Don’t miss a chance to use these little communications as a way to reinforce your vibe and your message! Customizing these messages using your brand voice is a really great way to close the loop.

Email Notifications that you might want to nail down for sure would be:

  • E-receipts
  • Abandoned cart notifications
  • Order confirmation
  • Shipping notifications

And you can also consider other email opportunities like a welcome series or delivery of a coupon.

Sales Channels

…Just something to think about. This is aside from the direct sales you’re doing on your site – not everyone does this, but it might be a good way for you to go.  Additional sales channels might be things like Amazon, Google, Instagram, Facebook, etc.

Ok, that was a lot but I want you to be prepared!  By thinking through the above list of checkout logistics you’ll be able to create a smooth and easy checkout experience so you don’t lose customers! Sell more stuff with less hassle! 🙌 You can do it!

We love this stuff! (and of course, setting up all of those logistics is part of the service we provide our customers so hit us up if you need help!) Here’s to happy check outs!