Website Checkout Best Practices and Credit Card Expirations

At Shop It To Me, we are always reading studies and articles on ways to help make shopping an easier and more fun experience .

I recently read a Ecommerce Usability study with some great insights on how to make checkout pages more efficient. If you haven’t read the summary of changes, I recommend it. A lot of the suggested changes are really small and at first counter-intuitive (which I always like).

Here’s one example on checkout expiration dates:

Many sites at checkout ask you to select the month of your credit card expiration from a list of names (i.e. They’ll be a list of months like “January”, “February”, “March”, etc… ) . At first, this just makes sense makes sense as people are more likely to think of “June” as a month than the number 6. Why confuse them?

The problem is that credit cards list the expiration as digits and not as a name (i.e. if your credit card expires June 2011, it will be listed on your card as 06/11 )

When a website asks you to select “June” as the month, they are actually forcing you to do the translation from 6 to “June” in your head. They are actually making you do extra work to check out. In the study, they found that just changing the expiration to two-digit numbers had a significant increase on completion rates.

You can see the remaining top 15 results from their report here, and the entire report can be purchased for I think about $80. Well with the investment if you are an ecommerce site with an existing checkout process.