10 Simple Ways to Optimize Your Checkout Process

You’ve built an incredible eCommerce store. Your product images are irresistible. And you’ve invested lots of time, effort, and digital marketing dollars on attracting the right customers. 

But despite all this hard work, you keep losing them at the last hurdle: the checkout. 

You’re not alone. Shopping cart abandonment is a big problem for eCommerce businesses. Research shows the average cart abandonment rate is around 70%. That means you’re letting 7 out of 10 potential customers slip through your fingers. 

Imagine the boost in online sales if you optimize your checkout process to make sure customers finish what they started. 

After all, you’ve already done the hard yards in marketing to attract them to your eCommerce site and building irresistible product pages, so why let all that go to waste?

Consider how much money your business invested in getting more traffic to your site. Now consider how much you spent specifically on optimizing your online checkout process. 

The opportunity here is clear. Now you just need to know what changes to make to your eCommerce checkout process to win customers over once and for all. 

In this article, you’ll learn 10 ways to optimize the checkout process and win more online sales. Some are quick and easy changes you can make today. Others will require a bit more consideration and technical know-how. But all of them are proven to drop cart abandonment rates. 

10 Ways to Optimize the Checkout Process and Win More Sales

1. Add trust signals

First things first: you must gain customers’ trust. 

One study revealed a staggering 61% of online shoppers decided not to purchase because an eCommerce site lacked a trust seal. 

The safe checkout or secure payment badge is the most important badge, as it indicates that your eCommerce checkout process can be trusted, information is encrypted, and your customer’s credit card information is safe and secure.

 

ecommerce_checkout_payment_options

This is exactly the way to make sure you build trust and start increasing sales.

2. Use Exit Intent Popups

Recovering abandoned carts can be as easy as using exit-intent popups.  This requires software that figures out when visitors are about to leave your site (for example, they might move their cursor towards the exit button) and shows them a targeted message to prompt them to stay. 

The most important part of an exit-intent popup is the call to action. If the CTA isn’t clear and compelling, the customer won’t do anything, and you’ve simply wasted your time (and theirs). 

There are lots of ways to use exit-intent popups effectively:

  • Ask a question to prompt them to stay on the checkout page.
  • Offer a coupon or discount to encourage them to complete the purchase.
  • Ask them to sign up for your email list so that you can send them a coupon.

banana_republic_checkout_optin

Getting them to sign up for your email list means you can do email marketing. Follow up with abandonment emails and retargeting to get them back onto your site and straight to your checkout page. Then, watch your conversion rates soar. 

3. Shorter Forms

One simple way to optimize your checkout page is to reduce your form fields. Only ask for what you actually need to know to complete their order. 

Stop asking customers for their life history!

Here are some quick ways to save your customers time:

  • Add the “Use billing address” option for shipping details. 
  • Use autocomplete and data validation (this also reduces input errors).

If you must have a longer form, design the page so it’s revealed bit by bit on your checkout page, and the customer isn’t overwhelmed.

4. Remove Steps From Your Checkout Process

Look at how you can simplify your checkout process and make it absolutely seamless. 

It's all about making your checkout flow. Nothing will see customers flee from your site quicker than an unnecessarily complicated checkout process. Research by the Baymard Institute found that 27% of cart abandonments are due to a complicated or extended checkout process.

A massive 35% is because the site wanted them to create an account. 

If you have a login or membership option, don’t force people to sign up before they checkout. Let them use a guest checkout that makes it quick and easy for them to complete their purchase. 

rei_secure_checkout_ecommerce

5. Make It Easy To Make Changes

Make it easy for shoppers to make changes to their shopping cart at the last minute. Maybe they've decided to buy three t-shirts, not two. It should be easy to increase or decrease the quantity with a plus or minus button. 

6. Offer Lots Of Payment Options

Optimizing your eCommerce checkout is all about removing barriers so customers find it super easy to spend money with you. 

The bottom line is, if you only accept MasterCard or Amex, you’re alienating a whole group of buyers who want to buy from you. And that's never good news for your conversion rate. 

In your payment options, make sure you accept debit cards as well as PayPal and even Apple Pay.  

office_max_shipping_checkout

7. Offer free shipping

Offering free shipping is a sure-fire way to seal the deal with potential customers. 

Here’s the thing – customers expect free shipping. 

A recent report by National Retail Federation (NRF) found that 75% of consumers surveyed expect delivery to be free even on orders under $50, up from 68% a year ago. 

More than half of online shoppers (55%) would abandon a cart if they get to the checkout and find that free shipping isn’t included, according to research by The Baymard Institute.

So, there are definite gains to be made from offering free shipping. 

If you do choose to offer free shipping, don’t hide it in the corner. Make it known throughout your website, and then prominently on the checkout page. 

Here’s how ASOS displays free shipping on its home page:

asos_ecommerce_checkout_free_shipping

And Paragon Sports offers free delivery specific to its New York customers:


paragon_sports_ecommerce_free_shipping

8. Abandon cart emails

Chase down your cart abandoners with targeted email campaigns. 

According to Shopify, a colossal 67% of online shopping carts are abandoned before the customer completes the sale.‍

Cart abandonment emails are triggered when a customer leaves the site with items in their cart, but without completing checkout. 

These emails are the easiest way to increase your online sales fast. According to a Salescycle report, 46.1% of all cart abandonment emails are opened.

In many cases, the customer was simply distracted from completing the purchase. So, by reminding them of the products, you can lure them back to the site and ensure they complete the process. 

How do you lure them back?

For some, just a reminder of the product is enough.   

abandoned_cart_ecommerce_email_marketing

But you might need to add a kicker, such as a 10% discount if they buy in the next 24 hours. 

Another way is to instill a sense of urgency by telling them that stock is running out or the sale price is about to end.

Of course, you need their email address, which you can get with a well-timed popup while they shop. 

Don’t be fooled - email matters. These email marketing statistics prove how it’s a powerful way to engage customers, nurture loyalty and build their customer lifecycle value.

ecommerce_opt_in_email_marketing

9. Back in stock notifications

Is there anything more frustrating for customers than getting to an online checkout only to find out that the product they love is temporarily out of stock?

You can turn it around and use it as an opportunity to deliver an exceptional customer experience AND increase online sales. 

Start by being transparent about the product availability. Don’t wait until they get to the checkout page to tell them it’s out of stock. 

Next, add a 'Notify Me' call to action button on the page. If they’ve already invested emotionally in that product or your store, you can get their email address and send an announcement when the item is back in stock.  

That way, your customer is happy because they get the product they want, and you don’t lose the sale. 

Win, win. 

10. Avoid Surprise Fees

There’s nothing worse than thinking you’re spending one amount, only to find out there are a ton of delivery costs, fees, and taxes.

Proof in point, extra costs are an issue for 60% of cart abandoners. 

This means it should be at the top of your list with checkout page optimization. 

Always show clearly what items will cost (and what they save!). If free shipping is really not an option, consider a zip code/shipping calculator on the ‘Review’ page or even on the product detail page.

shipping_ecommerce_checkout_process

Ready to Win More Customers?

A strong check out framework can and will deliver huge eCommerce growth, improve your customer experience, and create tangible revenue impact. Combine the strategies above with Sendlane’s advanced marketing automation tools, and you'll open up even more cart abandonment email opportunities that can increase sales later! And if you're ready to discover more ways to drive sales and increase your average customer lifetime value, Online Marketing Gurus have made it easy to get started with a Free Digital Audit. Claim yours today to get a free 30-minute strategy call with one of our Growth Gurus, a comprehensive free audit of your online marketing AND a free 6-month multichannel game plan.  

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Andrew Raso
CEO & Co-Founder
Online Marketing Gurus

CEO and Co-Founder of Online Marketing Gurus, Andrew has had a long, illustrious career in the SEO and SEM industry. After years of working for agencies, Andrew started OMG to remove the complexity of SEO and provide simple, transparent results. He has recently won a B&T 30 under 30 award in the Entrepreneur category. Andrew has featured in and contributes to Entrepreneur, CMI, Jeffbullas, Search Engine Journal, and more. Andrew has also been featured on Sky News Business and Foxtel’s ‘Industry Leaders’.

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