11 Strategies to Optimize Your Checkout Process

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Looking for a high impact strategy to boost the online sales of your ecommerce store?

Optimize the checkout process of your website!

Shopping cart abandonment and low conversion rates are the biggest problems most ecommerce businesses face. What makes the situation even worse is the fact that a significant number of customers are lost during the checkout process, after the seller has invested a large amount of time and effort in bringing them down to the bottom of the sales funnel.

While it seems like a bitter reality of the ecommerce industry and many businesses believe that they have to learn to survive with it, the fact is that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can stop losing customers at the checkout stage by optimizing the process and helping them make an informed decision.

Here are some simple, but highly useful, strategies to optimize the checkout process, which then will cause an increase in the conversion rate of your website.

Make It Short and Simple

According to an estimate, long and complicated checkout processes are the reason behind 27% of abandoned shopping carts. This means, your website’s conversion rate can be significantly increased just by simplifying and reducing the number of steps buyers need to complete in order to make a purchase. Simply put, the lesser the number of clicks of your checkout process, the higher your conversion rate is likely to be.

Here are a few ideas to help you streamline your website checkout process:

Do Not Redirect Your Customers for Payments

Redirecting customers to a different website, like PayPal, to make payments for their orders is a common practice in the e-commerce industry. But, do you know that it makes your checkout process seem too complex, even when it is not, and may make many buyers to abandon their shopping carts?

Eliminate, or at least minimize, redirects to simplify your checkout process and increase your customer base.

Opt for a One-Page Checkout

A multi-page website checkout process not only takes a bit longer to complete (keeping in view the time it takes to load every page), but is also likely to annoy many buyers as they don’t know how many more steps they would need to complete to place their orders.

Remove these barriers from your checkout process by combining all the steps on one page.

However, if this is not possible and you are to spread things out to multiple pages, online marketing expert Neil Patel advises to give a visual indicator to your customers, so they know how many steps are left to complete the checkout process.

Offer a One-Click Purchase Option

Existing customers are the biggest asset for any company and hence, you should make every effort to retain them. One of the factors that can help successful businesses stay ahead of their competitors is that they value their existing customers and take measures to make things easier for them. Simplifying the checkout process is one of the most effective ways to do that.

Improve the online shopping experience for your returning customers by adding the ‘one-click purchase’ option to your website.

Ever since it was introduced by Amazon, the ‘one-click purchase’ feature has revolutionized the e-commerce industry. By eliminating the need for returning customers to re-enter all the personal and payment details, it has made online shopping a lot easier. So, why not take advantage of it to improve your sales?

Do Not Make Registration Compulsory for Checkout

Not allowing to checkout without creating an account is a huge customer turn-off and a big source of friction in the checkout process. It is also one of the most common reasons for shopping cart abandonment during checkout – 34% of carts are abandoned due to the non-availability of guest checkout, a study conducted by the Baymard Institute found out.

Customers don’t like to be forced for anything, so allow them to checkout without having to register on your website, if they don’t want to.

Walmart knows that forcing customers to create an account creates unnecessary friction in the checkout process, which is why the store allows its customers to complete the process without it.

Provide Multiple Payment Options

We all know that the e-commerce industry is highly competitive and with more and more businesses making their way into the digital world, it is increasingly becoming hard to attract visitors and convert them into buyers. It takes a lot of time and effort to take your visitors down the sales funnel and you don’t want to lose them when they are at the last step of the buying process i.e. at the checkout, just because of limited payment options.

Provide your customers with as many payment options as possible to increase the chances of conversion.

Make It Easy for Customers to Change Cart Contents

Customers often change their mind during the checkout process and decide not to buy one of their selected products or to make changes in the quantity.

By requiring your customers to hit the back button and go to the first step of the checkout to make changes in the cart contents, you create friction in the checkout process and give your customers a reason to abandon their shopping carts.

Allow your customers to edit the cart contents i.e. remove something from the cart or update quantity, at every step of the checkout process, without having to hit the back button, to increase sales.

Add Continue Shopping Button on the Checkout Page

It is likely that your customers may want to add something else to the cart after they have reached the checkout page. Make it easier for your customers by adding the ‘continue shopping’ button on the checkout page. Nothing is worse than clicking the back button to upgrade your cart and finding that all the items and/or details that you previously added have vanished.

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Show Full Price before Checkout

There is nothing that buyers detest more than the unexpected costs added to their bills in terms of shipping, tax, or handling charges, when they are at the last step of the checkout process. It makes them feel deceived and lose their trust in the seller.

To avoid losing customers after working hard to bring them to the last stage of the sales funnel, make sure there is no surprise amount added to their bill at the time of checkout. Make sure your customers know the full amount they would have to pay before they reach the checkout stage.

Take a look at the following screenshot taken from Sephora’s website

The website clearly shows, at the top of every page, that it offers free shipping only on orders that are

above $50 and that too would take 3 days, so the visitors know that they would have to pay for shipping if their orders cost less than $50 or if they want them to be delivered faster.

This eliminates a major friction point in the conversion process and significantly reduces the chances of losing a customer during the checkout process.

Ask Your Customers to Review and Confirm Their Order

Often, it happens that people mistakenly add a wrong item to their carts, select the wrong quantity and/or size, and/or make a mistake in the shipping details.  Allow them to review their orders and confirm that they have entered all the details correctly before finalizing it.

The best way to do this is to present a summary of the order and the shipping details at the last step of the checkout process and ask your customers to review and confirm it.

Allow Customers to Contact You

Provide your contact details, so your customers can ask any questions they may have before placing the order. While most of the e-commerce stores do offer a live chat option, it is recommended that you also provide the store’s email and phone number to make sure you do not lose potential customers just because their queries weren’t answered.

Reduce Distractions on the Checkout Page

Once you have successfully brought customers to the checkout page, your goal should be to make them complete the checkout process as quickly as possible. To do this, you need to make sure that there is no unnecessary information or distraction that can take your customer away from the checkout page or delay it.

While you should make it easier for them to find relevant information and update their carts, limit the distractions that could lead to cart abandonment.

Get the Buyer’s Email as Early in the Process as Possible

This will allow you to reach out to buyers in case they leave without completing the purchase. Also, it will help you to retain customers and develop a strong relationship with them by sending alerts about the upcoming sales or exclusive discount coupons.

Display Trust Signs On the Checkout Page

Safety of sensitive data is one of the biggest concerns facing online buyers and they want online sellers to guarantee the safety of their credit or debit card information. If you fail to convince your customers that they can trust you with their sensitive information, you are likely to lose a large number of customers. To avoid this stumbling block, make sure you display credit/ debit card logos and security icons on the checkout page at a place where they are clearly visible.

Bottom Line

As an e-commerce business, your goal is to make the buying experience as simple, quick, and pleasant for your customers as possible because this is the key to customer satisfaction. The strategies discussed in this article will help you do just that by streamlining your checkout process, which then will have a significant impact on your sales.

Next Steps...

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Finally, you can also check out my other articles on funnels and ecommerce.   
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