25 Simple Tips for Improving Your E-Commerce Checkout Process
Reducing Shopping Cart Abandonment
If you are an e-commerce business owner, you are familiar with shopping cart abandonment. Cart abandonment is the process of seeing a customer browse your website, add items to their cart, and then suddenly abandon it right before they’re about to check out. Unfortunately, that is a huge problem for e-commerce stores! Shopping cart abandonment costs online retailers over 18 billion dollars a year!
The e-commerce checkout process is somewhat different for every business. Still, you can do several things to ensure your customers’ carts aren’t getting abandoned. And with e-commerce cart abandonment at around 81%, e-commerce sites must do whatever they can to minimize the problem and deal with the issues that cause customers to leave.
We’re going to take a deep dive into understanding the e-commerce checkout process. We will also provide you with 25 different ways to optimize your e-commerce website. Let’s get started!
What Is the Typical E-Commerce Checkout Process?
The e-commerce checkout process encompasses a consumer’s specific steps when completing an e-commerce purchase. The checkout process is the grand finale for an e-commerce website. It is where the prospect finalizes choices about the product, selects any add-ons, confirms shipping options, then provides payment.
No part of e-commerce stands alone. The visitor’s journey from awareness to interest, then on to desire and purchase, consists of a series of decisions visitors make based on the path you’ve provided. A failure anywhere on that journey means the loss of the sale.
Why Are Customers Abandoning Their Carts?
If a customer takes steps to fill a cart and click check out, what are some of the reasons they end up ditching that cart last minute? Understanding why shoppers fail to complete their purchase is an excellent place to start perfecting the e-commerce checkout process and getting the sales you deserve!
In 2020, 1 out of every five shoppers abandoned a cart due to a “too long / complicated checkout process.” In addition, shoppers may abandon their cart if they encounter additional charges they weren’t expecting when they first started the process. Unexpected costs may cause them second guess their purchase. Non-inclusive shipping and pricing options can also have a similar effect.
Suppose customers must create an account. In that case, it creates additional steps for them, which can deter them, along with anything that makes for an overly complex checkout. These days, customers are looking for a fast checkout experience, especially since they’re likely going online to shop out of convenience.
Not having the proper security or encountering errors and crashes during their purchase can also be significant factors that lead to abandoned carts. No one wants to feel like hackers or phony sites could steal their information. Instead, they want to feel safe while shopping online!
So what can product brands and business owners do to improve their e-commerce checkout process? Let’s take a look.
25 Ways to Improve Your E-Commerce Checkout Process
Understanding why customers abandon their carts is essential. But learning how to fix those problems and optimize for best performance is the ticket to e-commerce sales success! Follow these checkout process optimization tips. You’ll be well on your way to getting the sales you’re expecting!
Simplify Your E-Commerce Checkout Process
Simplicity is everything when it comes to a successful e-commerce checkout. If your customers feel like the process is too complicated or that there are too many obstacles in their way, they’ll quit before they make a purchase.
Even if you think you’ve made the process as smooth and seamless as possible, try simplifying it even more. Customers are looking for the quickest and most efficient option for their purchases.
Remove All Distractions
It would be best to remove all the distractions that can send the users to another page before they checkout. Hence, you should avoid using header, footer, and other navigation that can send them away from your checkout page.
That said, the checkout look and feel should generally be the same as the main website. You can reduce the number of elements present without changing the overall design. However, if you stray too far away from the core website’s look, you risk making visitors feel like they are no longer on your site. That can erode visitor trust.
Provide a Guest Checkout Option
The “check out as guest” option is simple to integrate. It can do wonders for getting customers to go through with their cart. However, when you force them to register for an account, you add a ton of extra steps that can deter them from wanting to purchase.
Guest checkout makes their purchase even quicker and more accessible and ultimately makes their steps shorter.
Provide Autofill Addresses and Information
Is there anything better than clicking to enter your information to see the form filled out through autofill? Providing the autofill address and information option helps speed up your customers’ checkout process in a big way.
It also helps to ensure the accuracy of the information and keeps you from validating an address. As a result, there won’t be any confusion about which address goes with billing vs. shipping, and the time spent will be almost none!
Offer Social Log-in
To take autofill even one step further, consider integrating social account sign-in. Again, allowing for this option means there’s another way for users to enter their information and make their purchases quickly. They won’t need to create an account and will be confirmed and verified as they go along.
Not only that, you might even make a connection for your business’s social media accounts!
Make Mobile User Experience a Priority
If you do not have a mobile-friendly website, you’re not doing it right! And that especially applies to e-commerce websites. Many customers will be looking to complete their purchases through their mobile devices. In addition, most customers are now shopping via their phone or other mobile devices!
Be sure to follow best practices for creating an exceptional e-commerce mobile experience, and you’ll be well ahead of the game.
Reduce User Load as Much as Possible
There are concepts in web usability called visual load, motor load, or cognitive load. These essentially translate to the amount of work required to use an interface. The higher the load, the less likely a user will work with your interface.
Now, you can’t make a checkout experience function without adding a bit of strain to the visitors’ load. First, they have to make selections based on their preferences and payment options. They have to remember some things to transact with you.
What you want to avoid is an unnecessary visitor load. So make your user interface (UI) function without making the visitor work too hard. Then, figure out how to get that done, even if it means making tweaks on the technology side.
Offer One-Click Checkout
You can shorten your e-commerce checkout process by allowing customers to checkout with a single click. This process skips the add to cart and other steps and redirects customers straight to the checkout page when he clicks on the Buy Now button.
You can use any one-click checkout plugin that helps the customers buy products more quickly. Customers are more likely to complete the checkout when the process is easy.
Summarize Cart and Content Details
Suppose a user gets to the end of the checkout process and is suddenly concerned about what’s in their cart. In that case, they will have to click the back button if their cart content and details aren’t readily available. This missing information could lead to a lost sale, which you want to avoid!
Instead, be sure to display each of your customer’s cart products throughout the checkout process, along with the payment and shipping information they’ve provided. These details will give them a clear picture. In addition, it’ll keep them from having to navigate away from clicking that final “Place Order” button.
Make the Checkout Process Visual
Many people are visual learners and take to visuals for things like the online shopping experience. So, rather than using text, make things obvious with distinct visuals and provide visual cues wherever possible.
Visual clues can help your users retain information and quickly complete the e-commerce checkout process, leading to higher conversions for your business!
Make Your Value Clear to Visitors
Your website content works to show value to your customer, and that goal doesn’t stop when it comes time to make a purchase! So be sure to remind them about the benefits you provide, whether that be something special your business offers or a particular product or service that helps you go above and beyond.
The more you can motivate them, the more likely they will agree that the purchase they’re about to make is a good one!
Include Clear Call-to-Action Buttons Throughout Your E-Commerce Checkout Process
Call-to-actions are everything! Once your customer has entered the checkout process on your website, you should still try to capitalize on their purchase wherever possible. Include clear calls to action that help your customers work towards their purchase.
Sometimes it’s those last words of encouragement that work best!
Provide Error Notifications
No one likes to see an error pop up on their screen. But not using error notifications could make a big difference in whether or not a customer goes through with their purchase. Why?
Because if they’re entering incorrect information, they cannot complete the process. Shoppers are not likely at this stage to take the time to figure out where they went wrong and then move ahead.
Error notifications let the customer know what specific information is missing or incorrect. That way, they can quickly fix it and then move on.
Don’t Require Registration Before Checkout
Getting customers to register before they checkout could be the reason for your demise. Registration alone causes a lot of hold-ups for customers, so try ditching the option altogether. On the other hand, your customers will appreciate being able to enter just a little bit of information before they head on their way to their final purchase.
Collect Customer Emails Early in the Process
This one might not be one you think of right off the bat, but it’s important for your other areas of marketing! Get your customers’ email early on in the process. You’ll be able to save it for future sales and build a tighter relationship with them down the line.
Ensure Your Back Button is Fully Functional
Suppose your customer goes to hit the back button, and suddenly all of the actions they’ve taken on your site are erased. In that case, they’re going to be frustrated with the process. AKA a big negative when it comes to final purchases.
Your back button should work with you and keep everything saved rather than against you.
Show Trust Signals Throughout Your E-Commerce Checkout Process
It’s up to you to make customers feel comfortable with your business as they go through the checkout process. Displaying trust signals such as the credit card logo can make a big difference in the level of trust your customer feels with your brand. In fact, without them, it could be a red flag for some customers.
Be Careful Using Discount Codes
Providing a box for applying a discount code at checkout is ideal for customers with a code. However, for those that don’t, the discount box is an indication that they may be missing out. These customers may exit the purchase funnel to look up a code. If they cannot find a code, they might not return to complete the purchase.
Avoid integrating a discount code box at checkout for customers that haven’t indicated they have one. Instead, make the option less prominent, so those without a code will miss it, and those with a discount code will seek it out and find it. If nothing else, provide a discount code to all customers so that they will all continue through to checkout.
Alternative navigation refers to the flow of the checkout process. For example, suppose you lead a customer elsewhere or to another page during their checkout. In that case, they could end up feeling lost. So again, it’s essential to keep things as simple as possible and follow a consistent flow.
Offer Live Chat Support
Don’t let customers become frustrated in the e-commerce checkout process and not have anyone to turn to to help them. Instead, have live chat or some form of real-time support readily available to them should any troubleshooting be necessary.
It would be best if you displayed this support on every screen, so it’s easy for them to access it should they need to.
Add Purchase Incentives
Sometimes, that last push helps a customer feel confident in their purchase and go through with it. You might offer complimentary items or even a coupon code in return for making a purchase.
Provide Multiple Payment Options
Limiting payment options means you limit your customers. Instead, it would be best to have multiple payment options available for them, including different credit card payment options, Apple Pay, Google Pay, or PayPal. Your guests will not only appreciate having multiple options to pay, but they will also feel a lot more trust in their purchase because of it.
Ask for Payment Information Last
When purchasing in person, the payment is the last step in the process. The same must apply to online purchases as well. Users will feel a lot more comfortable adding their payment option after entering all their other information. They know their product will be heading right to their given address.
Confirm Payments and Next Steps
A confirmation email is essential for instilling confidence in your buyers. It lets them know their purchase is official.
The following steps should be clear whether they are packaged or shipped out. That way, they have realistic expectations around what to expect next.
Test, Review, Adapt, Repeat
Perfecting your checkout is an ongoing process. Therefore, you should integrate analysis and improvements as a regular part of product development. Consistently track analytics, test your site’s performance, monitor the impact of your campaigns and updates, and continually improve your product through each iteration.
Improving Your E-Commerce Checkout Process to Boost Conversions
You have put a lot of work into building your e-commerce business, writing compelling product descriptions, and creating product images that convert. As a result, your checkout pages are full of people who have already signaled that you have what they want.
You’re no longer fighting for attention. You’re no longer figuring out how to give shoppers the information they need to send to the product. And you’re no longer worrying about figuring out user intent.
All that remains is to get your visitors to convert. Optimizing your checkout flow will help you do that. So here are some key takeaways you should remember to improve your e-commerce checkout process:
- Don’t force them to create an account
- Limit distractions
- Let them check out faster in one click
- Offer them Live Chat support
- Provide different payment methods
- Adjust your additional charges
- Reduce user load
- Use data validation and autocomplete
- Capture the user’s email address early
- Collect payment details at the end
- Remove elements that cause distractions
Moving Forward in the E-Commerce Checkout Process
You work hard to get customers to your e-commerce website, and completing a purchase at the end of their visit should result from your efforts.
Make the checkout process as fast as possible, do what you can to keep customers from leaving last-minute, and design your website in a way that encourages purchases. These general tips are helpful, but executing the smaller optimization tips that make them possible is sometimes easier said than done!
If you want to work towards optimizing your e-commerce website for better results, you’re not alone! Design by PixoLabo is here to help you understand where the pitfalls of your current e-commerce website may lie. And help you implement these optimization tips to help enhance your shopper’s behaviors.
We Can Improve Your E-Commerce Checkout Process
Here at PixoLabo, we offer a full range of e-commerce solutions and design services for businesses and product brands, including custom web design and development, e-commerce solutions, search engine optimization, and WordPress optimization.
If you are not sure about improving your e-commerce checkout process, let’s talk! Our team of experts will be happy to connect with you to consult on the best ways to increase your e-commerce conversion rate.
Did You Improve Your Checkout Flow?
Is shopping cart abandonment a problem for you? If so, have you followed any of our tips for improving your e-commerce checkout process? What results have you achieved? Do you have any other recommendations or tips for improving your e-commerce store?
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