An optimized ecommerce checkout process contributes to a positive customer experience. You may have the best website in the industry but if it isn’t converting because of faulty checkout process, it won’t mean anything. Learning how to optimize your checkout page can help improvise conversion and increase sales of your online store. According to a study by Baymard Institute, optimizing your checkout process can increase conversion by 35.62%.
Unfortunately, ecommerce website owners overlook checkout process optimization and focus on the front end of their websites like the design, site experience, product pages, and others to push customers down their sales funnel. While it can help you make a good first impression, not optimizing checkout can hurt the whole buying process.
Checkout process optimization is vital to reducing shopping cart abandonment. According to the same Baymard study, the average cart abandonment rate is 69.57%. You would want to aim for something lower than this. Work on improving the checkout process of your ecommerce website and you are on your way to improving your conversion rate as well. In this article, we shall take a look at the different ways you can improve your checkout process.
- Offer Guest Checkout
- Implement Multiple Payment Methods
- Reduce Form Fields
- Use Autofill
- Display Trust Signals
- Remove Additional Charges
- Use Error Notifications
- Keep The Checkout Simple
- Implement A Good Return Policy
- Focus On Mobile Experience
1. Offer Guest Checkout
Making the customer register for an account before they can buy can slow down the checkout process. A SaleCycle survey revealed that 23% of customers abandoned their purchase because they had to register first. The customer may not be ready yet to commit to your site. If they need to create an account before they can shop, they might just choose to leave. You can keep this from happening by offering a guest checkout instead.
It is worth noting that not all customers want to register for a service. They just want to buy a product so don’t make it hard for them to do so. Guest checkout allows customers to just enter an email address and head straight to checkout. After providing their shipping address and payment details, they can proceed to buying the product without registration.
Research reveals that 8 of 10 shoppers make a purchase on impulse. These types of shoppers will definitely not stay long on your online store just to register for an account. Chances are the customer would likely buy from your store if you don’t make them register.
2. Implement Multiple Payment Methods
Customers have different preferences when it comes to paying for their purchases. Not everyone is comfortable paying with their credit card so give them other options to pay.
Statistics show that 6% of shoppers will abandon their cart if they don’t find their preferred payment method. Also, while 76.9% of Americans use a credit card, other customers prefer to pay for their online purchases using methods like PayPal, Venmo, or Apple Pay.
Today’s breed of customers has their preferred way of paying. When their choice of payment isn’t available on your website, they could simply abandon their purchase. By offering different payment methods, you are giving customers the flexibility to pay according to their convenience. Find out which payment platform is popular among your shoppers and include it as an option.
Offering different payment methods to customers is always in your best interest. Start with the most popular payment options first and then expand the choices as your business grows. It is not necessary to offer every payment method but offer those that cater to most of your customers. Multiple payment options will help you speed up your checkout process.
3. Reduce Form Fields
Time is precious for your customers so don’t waste their time by making them fill up numerous fields in your registration forms. The longer the form, the longer the checkout process. According to Hubspot, the average length of a web form should be 5 fields. This usually results in higher conversion rates.
How do you reduce your form fields? You can use a single field for the customer’s name instead of having separate fields for the first and last name. Also, optional fields can be replaced with a link for loading something if needed. The easier and simpler it is to fill up your form, the more conversions you are likely to get. In a test performed by VWO, eliminating three form fields can help increase overall conversion by 11%. Removing unnecessary fields can help increase the number of registrants on your website.
The next question is: Which field are you going to remove? According to Unbounce, forms with phone number fields should be eliminated as this could lead to a 5% average decrease in conversion rate. But then again this will depend on the nature of your business so constant testing is needed to get conclusive results.
4. Use Autofill
Another way to speed up your ecommerce checkout process is by using autofill. When the user types information on your website, autofill prefills the search query allowing them to easily iterate on their queries on your results page. According to Google, autofill can help your customers complete forms by up to 30% faster. Ultimately, this will lead to faster conversions for your offering.
When customers visit your website, they will be more inclined to complete forms if you only ask them for less information. Auto-fill forms use data provided by programmers, business lines, or end-users. They eliminate the need to fill up forms every time the customer visits your website. Also, this is very useful for users who are not good at remembering their postcodes or geolocation data because they are filled in automatically.
Unfortunately, a Baymard research revealed that 66% of websites do not have auto-fill. Customers already know what they are looking for so the data needs to be readily available to them. If not, they will leave your website and purchase from your competitor.
5. Display Trust Signals
Customers want assurance and confidence in the ecommerce website where they will make an online purchase. You don’t want customers to be worried about the security of your website. They will be providing their credit card information and they want to have proof that their data will be secured and your website can be trusted for handling sensitive information.
Baymard Institute revealed that 19 percent of lost sales were attributed to security concerns. Gaining the trust of your customers is very important for your ecommerce business. With 75% of customers abandoning their carts, you can help reduce abandonment by displaying trust badges on your website.
Customers demand some transparency from you when it comes to the security of transactions. By displaying trust and security badges on your website, customers will have some confidence and peace of mind to shop in your online store. They will know that you are taking security and safety seriously.
6. Remove Additional Charges
Another obstacle that could keep your customers from completing the checkout process is unexpected charges. Statistics reveal that 60% of visitors will abandon their shopping cart because their expected price increases due to additional shipping costs. Nothing can be more painful for an online retailer than a customer cancelling their purchase because of high shipping charges, tax, and others.
This can be a huge dilemma on your part because you need to abide by the rules and cannot remove tax from eligible products. You don’t want customers changing their minds just when they are ready to buy just because they were surprised with the hidden charges. Every additional cost that you charge to them will discourage them from checking out.
But there is something you can do so customers will complete their purchase. You can include these additional charges on the product price itself. By doing so, customers will assume that there will no longer be additional charges and will be encouraged to complete the purchase. You can show the shipping cost on the product listing as part of the price or next to it.
7. Use Error Notifications
Error messages can be a source of frustration for web users and can slow down the checkout process. Most shoppers make occasional mistakes when filling out forms. They may have wrongly entered their credit card information or their passwords did not match. Error notifications help users understand that they made a mistake and allow them to go back and fix their errors without having to complete the forms from scratch.
The aim of error notifications is to help the customer identify the problem so they can fix it. It should be placed near the relevant field to catch the attention of the customer for their correction. Error notifications should offer clarity on what is the exact problem. Creating the best error message is often overlooked but is vital to enhancing the checkout process.
Creating clear and visible error messages will help reduce the amount of work the customer has to do. It will help improve the overall user experience on your website. Adding error notifications will help your customers complete the checkout process efficiently and effectively. At the end of it all, the only thing they will remember is how long it took them to figure out the error.
8. Keep The Checkout Simple
A recent study by Splitit revealed that 87% of online shoppers would abandon their shopping carts if the checkout process was too complicated. From that number, 55% said that they would not only abandon their shopping cart but also never return to a website. Keeping the process short and straightforward can help reduce cart abandonment.
Try to limit your checkout process to just three or four steps. Guide them through the process using a progress bar. This way, they will know where they are in the process. In addition, you should reduce or remove headers and footers on the checkout page to help remove distractions.
Also, keep your customers on the same domain. Directing them away from your site can cause disorientation and may increase distrust. If you are trying to capture the customer’s email address, allow the customer to sign in from their social media account. Once they are signed in on Facebook, their address information will be automatically populated so they don’t have the type in the details anymore.
9. Implement A Good Return Policy
Not having a good return policy can be another factor why customers will not complete the checkout process. They would want to know if they have an option to return in case the product they purchased from your online store failed to meet their expectations. Statistics show that 30 percent of online purchases are going to be returned. In addition, 92% of consumers said that they will buy again if the return policy is very easy.
Implementing a good return policy involves striking a balance between protecting your business with customer preferences. In an ecommerce business, returns are inevitable so make this option available to your customers. Once you are clear with your return policy, make it visible on your website and other sales channels. This is the most accessed content on an ecommerce site and will be one of the first things customers will look for.
Your return policy is a vital component of your ecommerce site’s customer experience. Give your customers a reasonable timeframe for deciding about your product. A thirty to sixty days time frame is standard in ecommerce but you can be flexible with your returns window. More importantly, you should regularly update customers about any policy.
10. Focus on Mobile Experience
In today’s digital age, it is important for ecommerce websites to be optimized for mobile shopping. Studies reveal that 87% of shoppers search for a product online before buying with 28% of online purchases coming from marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. In addition, 77% of customers used their mobile devices for price comparison.
Given the figures above, it is important to make the checkout process from your ecommerce site mobile friendly. A responsive ecommerce website is the way to go if you want customers to complete the checkout process. It is during checkout when sales can either be made or abandoned. Thus, you need to make your customer’s mobile experience on your ecommerce website as smooth as possible.
Inputting information on a mobile device is far different from a desktop. Optimize the fields to make them large enough for thumbs to select comfortably. Give customers the option to make a selection from either the left or right side of the screen. Ensure that the correct keyboard is visible when the user inputs information. For example, the numbers should appear when typing phone numbers or zip codes.
The success of your conversion rate is dependent on how easy your checkout process is. When their transition from lead to buying customer flows smoothly during checkout, they will be encouraged to complete the process and purchase from your store. These tips will help ensure a smooth flowing customer checkout process on your online store.
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