How to optimise your checkout process
In order to try and increase sales, many businesses like to focus on making their front pages look attractive or on tweaking their product descriptions to perfection until sales rise. Despite trying time and time again to optimise for conversions, they find it’s just not working. They may even be losing customers. One thing they often forget about is creating a decent checkout process.
Failing to put time and attention into optimising your checkout pages can cause customers to abandon their carts and keep your conversion rates low. You need to ensure you’ve got the best checkout experience possible, otherwise, all your digital marketing efforts are for nothing!
Fortunately, we’ve come up with a few tips on how to make your checkout process better which in turn should reduce your cart abandonment rate.
Simplify the checkout pages
People will not buy from your e-commerce site if you make it difficult for them. If they hit too many barriers between the shopping cart and the checkout, they simply won’t bother. That’s why simplicity is the key behind every e-commerce checkout.
Make sure that there are as few fields as possible for the customer to fill out. Do you really want to make your customer type their billing address and delivery address if they don’t need to? Take steps to eliminate repetition or unnecessary fields. In the same vein, you should also allow for forms to be auto-completed to speed up the checkout process.
Sometimes, people will not want to sign up for an account with your business and this is one of the main reasons people abandon carts. They’re happy to buy something from you (it may even be a gift for someone else) but not ready to be forced onto a mailing list. Customers may not be loyal enough to your brand yet, but if you make checkout easy for them too, you’re more likely to make a sale.
Do this by creating a guest checkout option, so that people can enter the essential details and proceed to purchase.
Pay attention to the design
As previously discussed, simplicity is key. And in order to do this, you also need to remove any distractions or unnecessary elements from the design.
Make sure the checkout process has very little distractions on the page. Unless it’s related to the purchase, such as a returns policy, then you shouldn’t be directing potential customers away from the page or distracting them with other elements.
Once you’ve got this sorted, you need to ensure that everything that is not a distraction is also in a suitable location. You don’t want the “confirm” button in an unobvious place or in a hard to reach spot (think about thumbs on mobiles!).
For maximum reassurance during checkout, make sure you still show any business accreditations that you have and it is a good idea to show clear customer service help options throughout.
The perfect accompaniment to simplicity is convenience. Not only does everything need to be simple, it needs to offer a convenient method of payment for desktop and mobile. By providing multiple payment options, it’s less likely someone won’t be able to pay. In the UK, credit or debit cards are the standard method of payment but don’t forget that some people prefer methods such as Paypal or Apple Pay.
Nowadays, there are also options such as paying with Klarna, which allow customers to split their payment over 3 months, interest-free. With an option like this, it means customers who would normally be unable to afford your products or those with bad credit, can now complete the purchase.
This is a simple point, and perhaps not a necessity, but it’s always good to give people an indication on how far through the checkout process they are. Whether that’s a progress bar or stating they’re on page 1 of 4, it sometimes helps to reassure people that the end is close.
Without a progression indicator, people won’t know how far through the checkout process they are, which in their mind means there could be more forms you want them to fill out! And as we previously stated, the fewer the better, whether that’s on one page or across multiple.
Make the checkout secure
Last, but certainly not least, you need to make the checkout secure. There are ways to secure your site and there are also ways to make it more trustworthy.
Ensure that your website is fully covered with HTTPS (instead of HTTP) and an accompanying certificate. This tells people that the communication with the server is secure and encrypted, and therefore so are any payment details that are entered onto the site.
To build trust with your customers, it is also good practice to ensure that transactions happen on your own website. Nothing raises suspicion more than being directed to another website to make payment. Complement the on-site transaction with payment option logos and your customers will see that they are in a secure environment and in a safe pair of hands!