How to Improve Your Ecommerce Checkout Page and Increase Sales

Running an online business means every sale counts. So you want to be sure that you do as much as possible to convert views to conversions. 

One of the most significant areas where sales are lost is during checkout. In fact, some estimates suggest cart abandonment rates average as high as 70.19%

Your ecommerce checkout page is the final stage of your initial sales funnel. Think of it as the boss level in 90s video games where some people admit defeat. 

So, why do so many online shoppers leave during the checkout process? More importantly, what can you do to improve that process and ensure people are more likely to proceed with a purchase?

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What is an Ecommerce Checkout Page? 

As with any online business, you want potential customers to easily find your website. Chances are you kicked off your start-up by doing a domain name search and implemented SEO best practices on your web pages. 

Once customers are on your site, it should be simple to navigate, with a linear journey and calls to action (CTAs) where appropriate. All of these steps guide customers to their final destination: your checkout page.

The checkout is the last step in a customer journey. The customer has browsed your site, learned about your brand and products, and found what they want. They have the product(s) in their shopping cart and move to that crucial final stage.

Your checkout page is a crucial part of the user experience, and is all about two main things: payment and shipping. 

On these final pages, the customer usually has to take final actions, which include:

  • Providing their shipping address and contact information, such as email address
  • Entering their billing details 
  • Selecting a shipping method 
  • Choosing their preferred payment method and entering payment details
  • Reviewing and submitting their order 

Sounds easy. So, why are cart abandonment rates so high at this stage and how can you fine tune the checkout flow to secure sales?

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Reasons for Cart Abandonment at Checkout 

Understanding why people are abandoning their carts at your ecommerce checkout page can help you solve those issues and ultimately increase sales. Keeping this rate as low as possible can be crucial if you are a startup or relatively new business

Let’s look at some of the core reasons people might leave during the checkout experience:

  • Unexpected costs: If extra costs are added at your checkout, such as shipping fees and/or taxes, then it could make the final bill higher than they expected and they may walk away.
  • Creating an account: Some customers prefer a guest checkout, particularly if it’s their first time shopping with you. 
  • Complicated checkout process: Multi-page checkouts with unnecessary steps can be very off-putting. 
  • Security: With cybercrime on the rise, many customers may be hesitant to give sensitive payment information
  • Limited delivery options: If you offer limited delivery options or no express delivery, consumers may not be satisfied with the delivery timeline or costs. 
  • Returns/refunds policies: Purchasing products online means consumers can’t try before they buy. If you don’t have an adequate or clear returns/refunds policy, then a customer may look elsewhere. 
  • Payment choices: If you only offer limited payment choices, then you may not have the method that best suits the customer. 
  • Poor website performance: If your website isn’t fully optimized (and that includes for mobile devices), a customer may experience constant errors that forces them to leave. 
  • Pricing: With the speed of the internet, consumers may be comparing prices even at the checkout stage. If there are dramatic differences between you and a bigger competitor, then they could win the business. 
  • Too much upselling: While you want to maximize revenue where possible, constant pop-ups that try to upsell or cross-sell can frustrate customers. 

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12 Ways to Improve Your Ecommerce Checkout Page 

Now you can see the different issues that may arise at the checkout stage. You may even recognize that some of those issues are the cause of your abandonment rates. 

So, how can you improve the user experience on this page to make online purchases a breeze and increase conversions? 

1. Optimize the Mobile Checkout Experience

Ensure your checkout page (and entire site) is as optimized as possible. With mobile commerce growing, increasing numbers of people are shopping from their mobile device. 

You may even choose to have a dedicated mobile shopping site to make the process easier for mobile users. 

View your pages from a mobile to ensure they automatically resize. Also consider running speed tests to see if issues like large images might be affecting loading speeds.

2. Keep it Simple

Ideally, you should offer a one page checkout process and avoid asking for irrelevant information. Use an accordion menu with drop-down sections and offer express checkout options for returning customers.

3. Be Transparent 

Hidden costs can be a huge hindrance. So mention any additional costs like shipping and customs earlier in the customer journey, ideally on the product landing page. If you ship to many regions, you could add a shipping calculator so customers can enter their zip code and see what shipping will cost them.

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4. Offer an Order Summary 

Offering an at-a-glance summary of the customer’s current order helps the customer keep track of what they’ve spent (if buying more than one item). It also allows them to see associated shipping costs or any free shipping you offer, such as free shipping on a total order over a certain value.

5. Monitor Competitors

You may have a great pricing policy, but what happens if your competitors have better ones? For example, let’s say a customer sees a domain name at a certain price point but finds the same service on Only Domains for 25% cheaper. 

Regularly monitor competitors’ sites to avoid high pricing disparity. You may even want to offer a price-match so that you don’t lose out on sales. 

6. Keep the Checkout Page Clean

While other pages on your site may offer different menu options, pop-up ads, and so on, you want to avoid distractions when it comes to the checkout process. Only use pop-ups to guide the customer when needed and never include ads. This means it’s easier for customers to move through the required steps and finalize their purchase.

7. Add a Progress Bar

Adding a progress bar on your ecommerce checkout page lets customers see how close they are to completing the process. If you’ve kept it as simple as possible, this can be encouraging as you’ve avoided making the process longer than it had to be. 

8. Offer Guest Accounts

Of course, you want people to come back to your site, make regular purchases, and increase their customer lifetime value (CLV). But on that first visit, some people may be hesitant to create an account. By offering a guest checkout option, you speed up the process and encourage people to complete the purchase.

9. Offer Multiple Payment Methods

Offer as many different payment methods as you can to suit different preferences, which includes options to split a bill into monthly payments. With modern banking methods, you could also consider generating QR codes so that customers can scan from a banking app. Use existing customer data to make informed decisions as to what people want. 

10. Feature Various Shipping Options

While one customer may want a product urgently, another may be prepared to wait. Offer different shipping methods, such as standard or express, and clearly state any surcharges for premium methods. 

If there are international shipping costs, clearly show these on the product page to avoid giving the customer a shock upon checkout. You should also highlight any free or discounted shipping fees that may be based on cumulative spending totals or certain products.

11. Show Errors and Correct Entries Clearly

It’s all too easy to make mistakes, even when it comes to something as ‘simple’ as your own address. Highlighting valid entries in green and errors in red can make it quicker and easier for customers to fill out forms. 

12. Add a Confirmation Page

Your conversion rate is as important to an ecommerce business as a call center contact rate is to customer service professionals. Including an order confirmation page may seem obvious but without one, a customer can’t be sure their order has been processed. This could lead to them having to spend extra time contacting you to confirm or it could put them off using your site again.

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The takeaway 

Small online retailers can face tough competition in today’s landscape. Larger businesses can often offer better prices and a wider range of products and services. 

That’s why it’s crucial to nail as many elements of your customer experience as you can – and optimizing your ecommerce checkout page is an essential part of that. 

The two metrics you should be monitoring closely are: abandonment rates and conversion rates. Consider the most common reasons for cart abandonment then audit your site to see where you could be going wrong and what you can tweak. 

Continue to monitor your site, collect guest feedback, and keep an eye on competitors so you can continue to excel in the future. 

Image from Unsplash

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