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7 Ways to Improve Your Ecommerce Checkout Flow

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7 Ways to Improve Your Ecommerce Checkout Flow

The ecommerce checkout process is crucial to driving conversions. It’s only worth it that your customers complete the buying process after the effort (and money) you put in to develop products and make their experience worth it.

However, if your ecommerce metrics keep showing your visitors dump their carts halfway, or worse, never finalize their purchase, then you have a fundamental issue to fix.

Baymard Institute estimates seven out of ten people abandon their carts at some point in the ecommerce purchase funnel. These statistics may seem overreaching, but considering that other survey statistics from Barilliance and SaleCycle provide even higher figures, it’s important not to downplay it.

There is, however, a subtle difference between cart abandonment and checkout abandonment. With checkout abandonment, visitors abandon their carts at checkout stage rather than midway when “browsing through.” 

Nevertheless, you’re leaving money on the table when visitors abandon their carts at any point in their sales cycle. How do you fix this, and optimize your checkout processes for success? 

Well, read on!

In this blog post, we’ll be looking at seven ways to optimize your ecommerce checkout flow to bring you a step closer to higher conversions. 

1. Make the Purchase Sequence Simple

As with every other online shopping platform, customer experience is critical. A significant part of customer experience is getting visitors from one purchase stage to another without distractions that could fuel doubts.

You want to ensure that your visitors take specific and straightforward steps when completing an ecommerce purchase. 

For clarification, here’s what a simple purchase sequence looks like:

Source: the good

As you can see, an ideal purchase sequence follows a linear path from the product page down to order confirmation. Cluttering your e-commerce site with unnecessary tidbits only delays the checkout process, and makes it complicated. 

According to Baymard, you could lose nearly one out of five visitors to cart abandonment if the checkout flow is longer than 14 elements. 

So, here’s what to do:

  • Set expectations by being transparent and letting your visitors know what to expect at checkout.
  • Show progress by incorporating a visual tool that shows where shoppers are in their purchase sequence.

Shoot for a checkout flow that’s below five steps to motivate visitors to check out.

Adidas gets the simple checkout flow with only four steps. 

Once visitors click the checkout button, they’re taken to the next page. Moreover, shoppers fill in their shipping and contact details in one form, compiled into a single page, to reduce load time.

By making simple design changes like these—and more, you could improve the ecommerce checkout flow and drive ecommerce conversions sustainably. 

2. Improve the Loading Speed

Do you know how they say people now have a short attention span? Yup. It’s everywhere and on the internet too.

Following a Google page study for mobile, a page with 1-3 seconds loading speed has a bounce rate probability of 32 percent. Add two more seconds to make it five, and it goes up to 90 percent!

Source: Think with Google

What does this tell you? Quick web pages are the standard, and two seconds could make all the difference in your checkout conversion rates.

According to Amazon, each time a page takes 100 milliseconds longer to load, the company loses 1 percent of its revenue. Google also factors site speed into its search result rankings.

Furthermore, an optimized loading speed is essential to improve your customers’ shopping experience since 80 percent of users will never return to a site that takes over 3 seconds to load, according to a study conducted by HostingManual.

Here are some best practices to optimize your page loading speed:

Use Content Distribution Networks (CDNs)

CDNs distribute the load of delivering content using a network of servers. The purpose of multiple locations is to provide users with faster and more reliable access to your site by storing copies of your website at multiple data centers.

Compress and Optimize Images and Website Files

Images improve the aesthetics of your website and increase the quality of your content. However, larger images may load slowly. Compress and optimize your images without a visible drop in quality, using plugins like Smush or Optimole to increase page load speed.

Additionally, you can compress your entire website with Gzip to reduce load speed by 70 percent. It’s also important to run compression audits on your ecommerce website regularly to know when a web page is above 150kb. This helps to keep your page speed in check and sustain conversion rates.

3. Don’t Make Registration Mandatory

People expect convenience when shopping, and they prefer routes that save them time and energy. If you force customers into an unnecessary registration process, you’re stopping the conversion process in its tracks. Moreover, 23 percent of shoppers will abandon their cart if they create a new user account.

Let customers sign-up or register via their social networks. Through a pre-existing account, users can verify their identity and collect personal information from their social profiles. 

With social media logins, you make the user experience smooth and increase your chances of ecommerce checkout flow conversion. You also need to avoid forcing customers to register before they can complete their purchase. Don’t keep them longer on the site longer than they’d like to be.

Alternatively, request only necessary information such as their email address and any extra data that you need to process the order. Pro tip: You should also clean your emailing list, using email verification tools for better results.

4. Remove Additional Fees at Checkout

Before making a purchase, customers want to know what they’ll spend. Additional charges decrease the likelihood of the customer completing the purchase. Include any additional costs and the cost total at the shopping cart or billing page.

The last thing you want is for customers to abandon their carts at checkout because of unexpected charges. Displaying all the costs and charges upfront increases customer trust and reduces the chances of cart abandonment.

5. Send Checkout Abandonment Emails

An abandoned cart at checkout doesn’t necessarily mean you lost that business (well, it doesn’t have to be). That’s where abandoned checkout emails (like this example below) can help.

Source: Pinterest

You can send something similar, but for best practices, make sure to:

Send cart abandonment emails in a sequence: Do not bombard visitors with more than three emails in a sequence. Send them the first email one hour after they abandoned their carts and the second one in two to three days. If they don’t checkout, you may send the third email in three to five days. One of the major email marketing mistakes is to send too many emails one after another. 

Use social proof: Customer testimonials are another practical approach to win back customers and improve your ecommerce checkout flow. Social proof plays an important role in the decision-making process for 55 percent of shoppers, reassuring them they’re on to a good choice.

Offer discounts: Sometimes, you may need to be creative to convince customers to return and complete their orders by offering discounts, gifts, or coupons. However, don’t overdo this, else it might be counterproductive. Shoppers appreciate a good deal. By offering discounts on items already in their cart, you incentivise them to buy.

Checkout abandonment emails also help to gauge customers’ feedback about their experience on your site and checkout process. The information you gather from these emails can help improve your checkout process and boost conversion

  1. Offer Trust Badges

One of the main reasons for checkout abandonment is the fear of credit card fraud, data theft, and privacy concerns. An estimated 15 percent of shoppers abandon their shopping cart because of security concerns. Further, one-third of online shoppers are concerned about credit card fraud and data theft.

To address these fears, display trust badges on your checkout page so customers have confidence in the system’s quality of protection.

Source: ConvertFlow

Some credible and widely recognized trust badges you can apply for include:

  • Visa: This brand is the most recognized payment processor in the industry, and it is free for e-commerce store owners to get a Verified by Visa badge on their site. 
  • PayPal: PayPal protects merchant accounts from fraud, encrypts data, and holds disputed payments until a resolution.
  • Better Business Bureau: The BBB assists customers with their problem handling, resolves disputes, and monitors business practices. Obtaining a BBB badge increases your credibility.
  • Google Customer Reviews: By registering for Google Customer Reviews, your customers can leave reviews about your products or services. You earn the Google Customer Reviews badge once you meet specific standards for your reviews, and customers widely recognize this badge.

Also, if your business involves SaaS sales, you could include Trustpilot and G2 badges for brand credibility and customer reassurance for new visitors looking to purchase SaaS products. 

7. Include an Auto-save Feature for Your Cart

It takes time to go through a site’s product catalog and add the desired products to the shopping cart. Set up auto-saving by using your customers’ email addresses, so customers can immediately come back and complete their purchases.

It’s also essential that customers input accurate information. This data can help you maintain good communication with them, improve their experience with your service, and lead to future conversions. Error messages inform customers when data is entered incorrectly. As a result, they don’t miss a step.

Wrapping Up

Your store’s checkout process and page play a key role in the success of your eCommerce business. Customers have already shown interest in your business and want to make a purchase. However, many customers never complete the process, which results in revenue loss.

Unexpected costs, complications in the process, and slow page speed are often the reasons customers leave. 

An optimized checkout process increases the likelihood of an online sale. 

Use the tips in this article to create a highly functional and conversion-focused checkout process that will boost your eCommerce checkout flow.

Author Bio

Ian Loew is a web entrepreneur and inbound marketing expert, and the Owner & Head of Business Development of Lform Design. After four years of helping Fortune 500 companies with MGT Design, Ian embarked on his freelance career before establishing Lform Design in 2005. He leads a team of creative professionals to deliver inspired online experiences via modern, responsive websites that reflect his clients’ core values. When not at the helm, Ian can be found mountain biking with friends or spending time with his family.

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