Bring back the Cancel button

06Sep11

As I was pricing out different flight options for an upcoming trip, I wanted to see how much extra it would be for a so-called premium economy seat on a particular airline. So I signed in to the airline website, chose the appropriate flight, and continued with the process until it finally let me select a seat and see the total cost. The price and scheduling options weren’t that great, so I decided not to purchase the ticket and began looking for the Cancel button. It was nowhere to be found, so I had no choice but to click some sort of Home link to abandon the purchasing process.

As far as I know, there’s no way I could have bought that ticket. I never clicked any button to confirm the purchase, and I never entered any credit card info or selected a card already on file. But it still felt awkward to just leave the purchasing process without clicking a Cancel button and seeing a confirmation that I had indeed abandoned the transaction.

From what I’ve seen, many transactional websites have removed the Cancel button from their checkout process. Presumably, this eliminates the chance that people will click it accidentally and reduces overall shopping cart abandonment rates. However, I believe the Cancel button still serves an important purpose on sites that specialize in high dollar value transactions, like airline booking sites and online retailers who sell expensive items.

By including a Cancel button in the checkout process, you give customers a way to freely browse your site and experiment with different purchasing options — without the fear that they’ll accidentally buy something that they didn’t intend to purchase. If you’re concerned that people will click it by mistake, just make it smaller and more subtle than the affirmative buttons like Continue or Place Order. Regardless of the specific form it takes, providing a Cancel button during the checkout process for high dollar value transactions will increase the shopper’s confidence and reduce anxiety. Ultimately, this should lead to higher conversion rates and fewer frantic calls from customers asking whether or not they actually placed an order.



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