5 Ways to Optimize Your Checkout

As an ecommerce site owner or optimizer, having a flawless checkout process should be your number one priority, as it highly influences your store’s conversion rate. If you’re still struggling with this, it’s time to take action and optimize your checkout!

It is essential to make sure that the checkout is fully functional, secure and user-friendly. This is vital to a successful customer journey. It doesn’t matter if you drive a lot of traffic on your website if those visitors get stuck at the end. 

Users need to be able to make it through your checkout process without having to fill out long and complicated forms, worrying about the safety of their online transactions and so on. 

In 2019 Baymard Institute estimated the average cart abandonment rate for online stores at 69.57% and they also put together a highly useful list of reasons for abandonment: 

If your checkout is currently having at least one of the issues listed above, it’s time to do something about it!

Here are five ways to address an ineffective checkout process and start driving more conversions: 

1. Be honest about shipping costs, additional taxes and fees from the start

Ideally you should calculate and display total costs as soon as users hit the checkout. Don’t wait until the last step to finally tell customers how much they have to pay. They will feel betrayed, as if you had been willingly hiding this information from them. As a result, they will leave the site and all that you’ll be left with is an abandoned cart.

Instead, be honest with your audience and display all costs from the beginning. If you are not able to edit your checkout because of platform limitations, at least make sure that you offer an estimate of the total costs. Write clear and concise copy around this topic to remove any doubts and hesitations that your customers might be experiencing. 

2. Implement guest checkout

If you believe that every person who wants to place an order on your website is ready to go through the hassle of filling out a form and creating an account first, think twice. 

Consider your customers. Some of them have a busy lifestyle. They use their phones a lot, but for tasks that can be completed quickly and don’t require investing too much time and patience. They are always on the go and their attention span is reduced. 

Think about these people and help them place an order on your website without too much hassle. Implement a guest checkout option and see how your conversion rates will go up. 

3. Simplify the flow in your checkout process

If you want to optimize your checkout process, you have to make it as easy to complete as possible. Don’t include additional steps and remove unnecessary form fields. Ask only essential information from your customers. Don’t distract them with irrelevant questions you can find answers to in a different manner.  

Display a progress bar and make the process clear right from the start. Users need to know the exact steps they must take in order to finalize the purchase. And they need to know this before they even start the process. It’s all about setting clear expectations and designing a simple and clear user flow.

4. Reassure users that they can safely spend money on your website

The digital space is vast and full of spammy websites and traps one can fall into easily if they don’t pay enough attention.

For someone to feel safe making a payment online they need to make sure that the website is legitimate first. The site needs to be trustworthy and protected against cyber attacks, identity theft and other online fraud types. They need to know that payments are secure and that their card information is safe and can’t be hacked into. 

You can reassure customers that you check all the boxes when it comes to safe online transactions. Display third party trust badges on your checkout, preferably on the first page if you have a multi-step checkout process.

Some of the most popular badges that guarantee a safe checkout are: Norton Secured, PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, McAfee Secure. PayPal was proven to be highly effective in boosting conversion rates for ecommerce stores.

5. Address user anxiety by featuring clear information on estimated delivery times, returns policy & refunds

This is critical for every store and even more importantly for luxury goods sellers. The more expensive a product is, the more anxious a customer will feel with regard to purchasing. 

Your job is to convince customers that even if they are not satisfied with their purchase, they can return the product and get a refund under certain conditions. You can even feature ‘Money-Back Guarantee’ and ‘100% Satisfaction Guarantee’ badges on your checkout to reassure customers that they are making the right choice.

Getting people to finalize purchases shouldn’t be an endpoint for you and your customers. On one hand, you need returning customers so that you can ensure that monthly revenue that keeps your business going. 

On the other hand, your customers need to be able to trust you and enjoy their shopping experience with you at all times. Otherwise, they’ll have to go through the hassle of trying out different options which could imply going through several bad experiences before finding a favourite shop again. And they don’t want that either. 

My point is: establishing a trustworthy and long-term relationship with your customers it’s highly beneficial for both you and your clients. And this often comes down to client satisfaction, which you can achieve if you properly optimize your checkout process before anything else. 

Bottom line

Having a clear, safe and easy to navigate checkout process is the foundation of any successful online business.

If you need help implementing some of the strategies we’ve talked about and optimize your checkout, reach out! Drop us a line at [email protected] and let’s talk!

By Cristina Neagu

I am a CRO specialist with a focus on consumer psychology & behaviour.

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