Checkout process is one of the critical steps in the customer’s journey.
Any mistake you make in this process directly affects your revenue and profits.
To make sure you have all the most important bases covered, here’s a primer for you, telling what you should or should not do.
If you’re doing all of these things (you should,) that’s great. You have the basics in order. If you’re not, fix it now.
Take a look at your shopping cart abandonment rates
Over 69% of shopping carts get abandoned. That number is astonishingly high. 7 out of 10 people go to checkout and don’t buy.
The top reasons why consumers abandon carts:
While part of the 69% is attributed to typical user behavior (“Just browsing”), you need to find ways to convert these window shoppers into customers. I recommend trying to tastefully implement scarcity tactics:
- Create a sense of urgency
- Use FOMO (fear of missing out)
- Run promotions with short deadlines
- Add popups with promotional offers
Constantly track the checkout abandonment rate to see whether the changes you’re implementing are making a difference.
Eliminate unnecessary steps
Consumers are busy. The more steps you make them go through to buy something, the more time they have to realize they really don’t want it.
The number of form fields should be as low as possible. The fewer form fields, the higher checkout performance and usability. As a result, your checkout process will have better conversion rates.
What do you really need to complete the sale?
- Customer’s name
- Shipping address
- Email address (to send confirmation)
- Billing information
Just stick with the bare minimum, and you’ll see your conversion rates rise. You can always ask for more information later.
Encourage customer profiles but don’t force it
Over 48% of online retailers said a guest checkout was the most important factor to increasing shopping cart conversion rates on their websites.
You want the process to be as quick and simple as possible. Going through a long process will turn customers away.
But you can encourage your customers to create a profile in other, subtle, ways. For example, your “create a profile” CTA button can be larger and more prominent than the “checkout as a guest” button.
Or you can send the customer an email after they complete the checkout process encouraging them to create a profile.
You could add a promotion to one of these emails offering a discount off their next purchase if they create a profile.
Just don’t make it a requirement to buy something.
Focus on your top benefits
Besides the product, what else does the customer get when they buy something from your website? There are certain things you can do to add the perceived value of the purchase.
While browsing, something may catch the customer’s attention. They may want to buy it, but they want to make sure they aren’t stuck with it if they change their mind later. That’s why you should clearly state your return policy.
Don’t worry, the products will probably not be returned. But just giving your customers the peace of mind can be enough to drive the sale.
In addition to your shipping and return policies, make sure you highlight any other features your company offers. Some things to consider:
- Warranty information
- Secure checkout
- Social proof of the product
- Any differentiating features.
Learn how to use images
Instead of just listing your products, show the customer what they’re buying.
The consumer gets reminded of exactly what they added to their cart. This could also help avoid any confusion or mix-ups down the road if they selected the wrong color, size, etc.
When they see a visual confirmation of the product they want, psychologically they’ll feel more comfortable about completing the purchase.
Give your customers lots of payment options
Recognize your customers have preferences, even if you have a preferred payment method where you pay the smallest fees. Certain payment options may give customers better reward points or bonus miles over others.
If they want something but can’t buy it with their favorite card, they’ll just buy it from a different retailer instead.
You should accept newer and unconventional types of payment as well. PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, whatever comes next.
Don’t forget about mobile shoppers
In 2017, 34.5% of ecommerce sales came from mobile devices. That number is projected to reach 54% by 2021.
Touch of Modern is a great example of a successful retail mobile application:
They get between 150,000 and 200,000 new downloads every month. More than half of their customers are repeat shoppers. Nearly two-thirds of their total sales come from their mobile application.
Those numbers are incredible.
The reason why this app is so successful is because they use daily flash sales and store all their customers’ data on the app, making the checkout process lightning fast.
Customers don’t have to re-input all of their credit card information and shipping addresses every time they want to buy something.
The reduced friction results in high conversions.
That’s it. Simple, essential. Don’t try to go into fancy stuff before you have all of the above covered.
PS. I don’t have anything to sell, so I don’t have a checkout process. Instead, I have a bonus for you. Have a look at what not to do:
- Multitude of form fields
- Forced account creation
- “Continue” button above the form
- Oh, there’s also one below, which I totally missed (which proves a point)
- Aaaand, it’s only step 3 out of 5 (see the numbered steps at the top)
- Don’t be like them.