Online shopping has become an essential component of the customer experience, with sales expected to account for 20.8% of global retail revenue in 2023. However, converting visitors into paying customers is still one of the greatest challenges e-commerce retailers face. And one of the biggest conversion killers–if not THE biggest killer–is a poor checkout experience.
Aside from being one of the most important features on your website, your checkout page directly impacts how happy your shoppers are when they leave your site—and whether they’ll come back again.
A shoddy checkout process can make or break your business. In order to prevent your customers from shopping elsewhere, a simple and seamless checkout is essential. The good news is that creating an appealing checkout is not only possible, but easy! In this post, we share some helpful strategies to improve the checkout process to delight your customers and increase conversions.
Let’s start with the facts.
According to Baymard Institute, the average online shopping cart abandonment rate is almost 70%. This means that out of every 10 shoppers who add an item to their cart, seven will exit your e-commerce website without completing their transaction. Translate this to dollar signs, and that’s $4.6 trillion in lost e-commerce sales worldwide every year.
Why do so many shoppers ditch their carts during checkout?
While there are several reasons why, these seem to be the most common:
- Lengthy and/or difficult process
- Performance issues, such as slow loading times
- Mandatory account creation
- Hidden costs like taxes or shipping fees
- Inadequate payment options
- Security concerns
The good news is that $260 billion of lost sales are recoverable. And with just a few tweaks to your checkout process, you can boost your conversions by over 35-percent (Baymard).
How can you make your checkout better?
Few things repel an eager buyer more than a tedious checkout. In fact, 27% of shoppers abandon their carts because they find the checkout process too complicated.
Streamlining this process can go a long way in optimizing conversions and gaining customer loyalty. The following strategies won’t just improve your checkout flow, but when done right, can prevent more shoppers from leaving your online store empty-handed.
Keep it simple.
- Minimize distractions with a clean design.
- Only collect the information you truly need.
- Enable Smart Forms with inline validation.
Minimize distractions with a clean design.
Getting a shopper to the checkout page isn’t an easy feat, so keeping them focused on the prize—buying the item(s) in their cart—is pivotal to reaching your conversion goals.
A simple design helps point your shoppers in the right direction by giving them fewer reasons to vamoose. Eliminate diversions, like menu buttons or the header and footer, so customers can concentrate on completing their purchase. Just keep in mind that the checkout page should still reflect the overall design of your e-commerce website, just with fewer elements on it.
Only collect the information you truly need.
When it comes to gathering your customer’s personal data, only ask for what’s necessary.
Additional steps cost the customer more time, and you more money. Right now, the average checkout flow has 14.88 form fields. That’s almost double the recommended amount, and far too many to expect your customers to fill out.
Your customer’s full name, email, mailing address, and payment info are all that’s truly required to fulfill an order. At most, aim for no more than eight fields in your checkout. This can be achieved by removing needless fields, like a second address line or by combining fields together, such as separate first and last name fields into one “Full Name” field.
By getting rid of inessential steps and keeping it to the bare basics, you’ll be able to decrease the amount of effort needed from your customers and speed up the checkout process at the same time.
Enable Smart Forms with inline validation.
Filling out your personal info on checkout forms is never going to be on any person’s “Top 10 Enjoyances in Life” list, so why not make it as simple as possible for them?
Smart checkout forms use autofill or predictor tools to help online shoppers complete their forms faster and more proficiently, while inline validation spot errors to ensure shoppers avoid making mistakes during checkout. Combine the two, and you’ll be able to cut your customer’s form entry in half, bringing you one step closer to higher conversions.
Bypass having to create an account.
Offer guest checkout.
Online retailers really enjoy when customers create accounts because it gives them direct access to their first-party data. The customers themselves… not so much.
Most shoppers want to buy their items quickly and be on their way. Forcing them to open up an account in order to make a purchase is a sure-fire way to encourage them to buy elsewhere. It’s actually why 35% of shoppers abandon their carts during the checkout process.
Your best bet? Give them the option to check out as a guest. Not only will this give your customers the freedom of entering the minimum amount of required information before heading to payment, but it’s also a great way to encourage potential customers to continue on their purchasing journey.
If you’re worried about not receiving the personal info you need, don’t be. Simply ask your customers to input their email during guest checkout, or ask them to add a password AFTER they’ve purchased. They can then be reached out to later for future offers and promotions.
Consider one-click checkout.
With 17% of shoppers admitting to ditching their carts because the checkout process was too long-winded, offering an option like one-click checkout could be a game changer in increasing conversions.Its name pretty much describes what it is. Customers bypass the usual checkout requirements by having their transactions processed using the credentials they already have on file with the payment provider. Of course, new customers will have to input necessary information like their name, email address, and shipping address, but only the first time. After that, their information is stored for future transactions.
This feature creates a checkout experience that makes buying something incredibly fast and easy, which is especially handy for impulse purchases.
Remove unwanted surprises, costs or fees.
Show additional charges right away.
Although shoppers have come to expect extra fees (taxes, for example) during checkout, the last thing you want to do is to shock them with an abundance of extra costs right when they’re about to close the deal—especially since it’s the number one reason shoppers bail before buying.
Instead, try and provide as many of these details as early in the process as possible. Costs to present upfront include the subtotal, any applicable taxes, and shipping fees. This way, your shoppers will know what’s included and can decide if they want to proceed.
Include free shipping.
For many shoppers, getting free delivery is like winning the shopping lottery. Truth be told, it’s the main reason people shop online.
Consumers love feeling like they’re getting the most value for their dollar, so include a message in your checkout about free shipping to motivate them to buy.
If free shipping isn’t possible for every order, set a minimum order amount and offer it to any customer who spends that amount or more. This is a great way to increase your average order value (AOV), too!
Make it trustworthy.
Provide multiple payment options.
Gone are the days when cash and credit were the only options for buying something. Today’s world offers a wide range of payment options that many shoppers rely on for their purchases. If your site limits these choices, chances are, it’s also limiting the number of transactions that are completed.
Studies show that 9% of shoppers left checkout because there weren't enough payment methods. Appease this by offering a variety of trusted payment options shoppers are familiar with, such as PayPal, Apple Pay and credit cards like Visa and MasterCard.
If you really want to step it up, you can offer Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL), which allows your customers to pay in installments through a BNPL provider, like Klarna or Afterpay. This popular feature is already used by 360 million shoppers worldwide.
Feature security seals and badges.
Let’s be honest, not every site is a credible one. And for many shoppers, knowing which retailers to trust (and spend their money with) comes down to some pretty important details.
Security concerns have prevented nearly 20% of purchases from being completed. That’s a large number that can be avoided with a few additions to your checkout page. Exhibiting security badges and seals throughout the checkout process will show your customers that take security seriously.
Some specific trust seals to feature include:
- Payment badges
- SSL encryption certificates
- Money-back guarantee
- Third-party security validation like McAfee and Norton
- Customer reviews for added credibility and social proof
By including these seals and badges in your checkout, you’re not only letting shoppers know you’re putting their safety first, but also increasing your chances for more purchases to be made.
Ensure it’s mobile-friendly.
Here’s a fun fact: Nearly 80% of smartphone users have bought something online using their mobile device in the last six months.
Now here’s another fact, though not as pleasing for online retailers: For the past two years, the cart abandonment rate for mobile devices was 80% (Statist). With numbers that high, optimizing your checkout for mobile users is essential.
When designing your checkout, make sure it’s responsive to your shopper’s actions. Start by removing any distractions that could clutter up a smaller screen, then display the most important product information for the shopper, such as the product name, quantity, cost, and of course, images.
You’ll also want to incorporate everything we’ve already mentioned earlier, like short-form fields with automatic completion. However, minimize popups, as these can be a bigger nuisance on mobile devices where real estate is already limited.
Convince them to the end.
Use exit-intent popups.
If a shopper is about to exit the checkout process with items still left in their cart, now is the time to pull out all the stops to get them to convert.
This “last-ditch effort” tactic basically provides a popup on a shopper’s screen just before they are ready to make their exit from your site, and often include an incentive, such as a limited-time promo code, to complete their purchase.
Studies have shown that exit-intent popups work, with conversions more than four times higher than popups that appear when shoppers first land on a site. What’s also great is that they allow you the opportunity to obtain the shopper’s email address by giving them the option to sign up for a newsletter or updates, which can then be used to provide future offers to get them to return at later dates.
Upsell, upsell, upsell!
Ever hear that saying about the ABCs of sales?
Always be closing.
This is where tools like personalized product recommendations shine.
Product recommendations can be as straightforward as presenting a list of popular products or as intricate as using machine learning technology to collect each shopper’s behaviors to create a unique list of items they may be interested in.
Research from Salesforce found that this subtle yet effective nudge has been proven to be incredibly effective, with shoppers who clicked on recommendations being 4.5 times more likely to add these items to their cart and complete their purchase.
And last but certainly not least:
Speed things up.
Whether it’s desktop or smartphone, slow page loads are a death sentence for conversions. If that wasn’t a buzzkill for you, how about this: Nearly eight out of 10 shoppers will abandon a site if it’s too slow.
It’s pretty clear that nobody likes to wait around to make a purchase, so run performance tests regularly to ensure page load times are optimal.
You’ll also want to do an SEO audit of your site to determine if any content is slowing you down. This can be done through a variety of website speed testing tools, like Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, SEMRush, and more.
At the end of the day, giving customers a simple and pleasant checkout experience is something every e-commerce store should take seriously. With less patience and higher expectations than ever, shoppers want to get what they need quickly and efficiently. In order to appease these demands and continue to increase your conversion rate (and decrease all those abandoned carts), a great first step is to implement the strategies shared in this article:
- Keep it simple, with minimal distractions and by collecting only the info you need;
- Bypass having to create an account by offering guest or one-click checkout;.
- Remove unwanted surprises on costs and fees by showing charges right away and including free shipping;
- Make it trustworthy by providing multiple payment options and featuring security badges and seals;
- Ensure it’s mobile-friendly;
- Convince would-be cart ditchers with exit-intent popups and product recommendations; and
- Speed things up with fast page loads that you test regularly.
Follow these tips, and you’re sure to be on your way to a bigger, better conversion rate in no time!
Our conversion tools are totally worth checking out.
A seamless checkout experience is key to gaining those conversions, and Granify helps delight shoppers all the way to that final page. Our machine learning technology identifies opportunities to increase the likelihood of conversions for each session, so you can improve your chances of making a sale, each and every time a shopper visits your site.
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