eCommerce Fundamentals: How Tours and Attractions can Improve their Checkout Experience

Published on
October 14, 2021

The tourism sector has made an unprecedented shift toward digital sales and distribution over the past year and a half, which has led to a quick need to build best-in-class eCommerce capabilities.

RocketRez has got your back with our exclusive eCommerce Fundamentals series – aimed to quickly arm operators with all the knowledge, tools and examples they need to realize immediate ROI in their eCommerce efforts.

In the previous installment of eCommerce Fundamentals, we explained the ways tour and attraction operators can increase their revenue per visitor by increasing the average order value of each transaction. Today we’ll examine the topic of customer checkout optimization. This is the critical point where you either gain or lose a sale, and we believe this is one of your best opportunities to delight your customer, increase conversions and drive repeat business.

Optimizing your checkout is an area that all companies operating online sales can continually look to improve. Look at the following statistics courtesy of Stripe:

  • 46% of eCommerce companies made at least three errors when formatting payment information or displaying error messages.
  • 51% did not support address autocomplete.
  • 77% did not allow customers to save their payment information for future use.

The truth is, after a year of buying a lot of merchandise online, customer expectations for online purchase ease-of-use are more demanding than ever.

Stop losing revenue to abandoned carts and perform a quick and easy audit of your full checkout process with the following best practices for tours and attractions.

Fulfillment

Digital Tickets

Customers have come to expect a digital ticket option sent directly to them after purchase. It is still common for tours and attractions to send tickets through an attachment in an email, however going forward there are significant advantages to sending tickets through text. The medium of SMS is highly effective in communicating with customers who are on-the-go. This is often the case with any live event. Reducing the friction of searching through email, opening PDF attachments and an automated process from purchase to scanning meaningfully improves your customer experience.

Pro Tip: RocketRez introduced SMS Ticketing earlier this year in response to touchless COVID-19 protocols. We had several operators say they have now converted to SMS Ticketing for good – they will keep it even after mandates have lifted. They believe it is a worthwhile investment that improves customer experience.

BOPIS (Buy Online Pickup in Store)

Tours and Attractions differ largely from retailers or other D2C businesses using eCommerce in that most transactions will not be shipped to the customer, but rather will be picked up on the day of event. It is basically an online extension of your physical gift shop, with the benefit of pre-payment and more accurate inventory planning data. For your customers, this means avoiding lineups, long shipping times and shipping back items that don’t meet their needs.

As an operator, you’ll have to adjust your operations to accommodate for these in-store pickup items. Retailers around the world rushed to do this at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

You’ll need to train your staff to receive the online order in real-time, pick the item off the shelf or from your store inventory, keep it somewhere on-site with proper information about the customer and order number, and then mark it as fulfilled when the customer picks it up.

It may seem like a lot at first, but the heavy lifting is already done for you. For most businesses the biggest challenge is shared inventory across sales channels. RocketRez provides an all-in-one system that shares inventory across your digital channels and on-site POS systems.

Pro tip: Building a smooth BOPIS process is part of a great omni-channel sales strategy – where online sales help in-person experiences. The RocketRez all-in-one cloud ticketing system allows you to dynamically bundle tickets, retail items and food and beverage packages. Customers buying online ahead of time ensures your operations team is prepared and frees your customer for additional upselling and impulse purchase opportunities. The ticket budget is something from the past - now event day spending feels like a whole new budget!

Payments

Card on file

The global masters of online payments are the folks at Stripe, and their customer research has confirmed that a whopping nineteen percent of consumers would abandon a purchase if it took more than one minute to check out. One of the best ways to ensure a simplified checkout is to implement a “card on file” system to save customer payment information to allow for a smoother, faster checkout.

Modern digital payment tools like Stripe allow you to store cards on file as a secure digital token. This is basically billing information in the form of a snippet of computer code, which can be used for future one-off purchases or a recurring membership fee.

Multiple payment options

It’s now table stakes to accept all major credit cards, but serious providers are moving towards accepting Debit, PayPal and digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Alipay, and WeChat Pay. Depending on the type of service you’re providing, it may make sense to implement one of the recent BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) services like AfterPay or Affirm, which have taken to the D2C eCommerce world by storm this year.

Pro Tip: RocketRez prides itself on a best-in-class ecosystem of integrations. We’ve integrated directly with Stripe for our customer checkout process and Affirm for customer BNPL options for select customers.

Repeat Business

Customer accounts and guest checkout

In the same vein as card on file, ensuring customers can save their information to create an account for future use goes a long way to set the tone for quick repeat business, customer loyalty, and increasing the lifetime value of your best customers. The saved settings in checkout and autocomplete of cumbersome fields like card numbers and billing address ensure a speedy checkout.

Pro Tip: It’s a smart idea to ask on the account creation screen whether the customer would like to receive offers and updates from your company through email in the future.

It is important to ensure that there is also an option to checkout as a guest account by a customer simply entering their card information. The truth is some customers will never be interested in marketing materials or membership offers. You don’t want to miss out on this one-off business.

Placement of the customer account setup is just as important. One of the easiest ways to lose a sale is by forcing a customer account prior to the checkout. Instead, let the customer complete the checkout, then simply ask them if they’d like to save their information for next time. All they have to do is click yes to use all the details they already put in.

Cart Abandonment

Popularized by Amazon, the online shopping cart checkout is now the standard way to manage online purchases of multiple items. It's just as important to ensure your process when a customer does not complete their purchase goes smoothly, as it is estimated that almost 70% of online purchases wind up with cart abandonment – but checkout optimization strategies can increase conversions by almost 36%.

Modern software has made it easier than ever to implement a shopping cart checkout that fits your online sales process. Cart abandonment works best with automated emails that remind would-be customers that they still have items in their cart. This is an invaluable tool to get sales that would otherwise be lost.

Single Page vs. Multi-Step Checkout

When it comes to deciding how many steps your checkout should have, the prevailing theory is that fewer steps and fewer form fields is generally better for higher conversion rates. However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Some businesses have complex products and services that require more information. Consider tours that have multiple legs, or require details such as weight and size. Consider attractions and events that include food and beverage.

It’s more important to get that right than rush someone through a checkout that will result in a poor post-purchase experience. On the other hand, if this is a one-time purchase resulting from a digital ad using urgency to secure an impulse buy, then a one-click checkout is as good as it gets.

Ultimately, if you can guide your visitors through an elegant checkout that’s easy to use and understand you are more likely to gain the sale. You want their experience online to be great and set their expectations for their experience on site.

Modern software has made implementing eCommerce strategies easier than ever, but a little bit of work applied regularly over time can have a compounding effect on optimizing your website, and increasing conversions.

Matt Lederman

Matt Lederman is the Marketing Manager at RocketRez.

Get our latest blog posts delivered to your inbox.