eCommerce Checkout Optimization for Higher Conversion Rates
What makes the eCommerce store successful? It’s a combination of many factors, such as a beautiful design, fast page loading, excellent customer service, etc. All this contributes to a great customer experience. The user starts their journey on the product page or a home page. If this journey is successful, they end it on the checkout page, one of the online store’s key pages. Today we’ll talk about things that help brands build a successful checkout flow and make an eCommerce checkout optimization to grow your results.
eCommerce Checkout Page Elements
There are several essential elements that we can find on any checkout page. All of them are useful and help us make the purchase step by step.
The contact form requests the information about the customer: their First Name, Second Name, email, phone number. It’s needed to identify the customer and provide the delivery. Also, this information is highly valuable for brands and gives them access to their customers’ data. eCommerce brands can use it to upsell and cross-sell, inform their customers about new products, advertise, and make personalized offerings using various channels.
The form fields that the customer needs to fill out about shipping include the shipping address and delivery methods. This block also gives an overview of the delivery price for each available delivery method and shows the time needed for the delivery.
The order summary is about costs, and it should be clear and understandable. It summarizes all costs that the order includes: product prices, shipping costs, taxes, discounts, and Total.
Payment methods allow the customer to select the preferable way of payment. This section usually provides selection buttons and logos of payment methods to indicate the payment gateway and save the customer time.
It’s a short form that asks the customer to fill out the information needed to purchase with a selected payment method: PayPal account details, or a card number, expiration date, and CCV code, and address. This step requires the highest security level from the online store.
Pushing those buttons by the user are the goals that bring the store conversions. Those buttons turn a visitor into a customer. So buttons must be engaging, provide a bold call to action, and be notable among all that information on the page.
As we can see, there are just a few elements on the checkout page. They are simple enough, but they still need to be well-thought-out. All should be in place.
eCommerce Checkout Page Best Practices
Let’s consider what makes a checkout page design successful and grows our customers’ trust.
Minimum Number of Steps
First, remember the principle: no one wants to spend their time. People don’t want to overthink, especially doing any actions online. We should keep our customers in mind and make their shopping experience as convenient and fast as it could be. Where we can make a difference is our checkout!
Decrease the number of checkout steps to a needed minimum. There is no need to create large and heavy contact forms that request too much information. When requesting the credit card information, ask only for the necessary data:
- Card number
- Name on card
- Expiration date
- Security code
Also, let the user fill in these fields quickly. Think about the following micro-interactions:
- Avoid autocorrections;
- Allow copy-pasting;
- Disable auto-formatting and autocorrect for the key fields;
- Show a clear error message and what necessary field the user needs to fill.
Checkout page really means one page with a short form and order summary that the user can read, fill in, and confirm within a few minutes.
Various Payment Methods
The variety of payment options allows the customer to make a purchase decision quickly. Brands aim to include several most popular payment methods, such as Credit and Debit Card, PayPal, Payoneer, Stripe, American Express, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, Braintree, etc.
Lack of available payment options often results in conversion drops. There is a vast difference between spending several dollars and allowing hundreds of dollars to leave your bank account. Customers frequently face difficulties when they can’t find the payment option that suits their particular case. It’s good to carry out some research and add payment methods available for the customers in your target locations.
Order Summary in Local Currency
Talking about today’s digitalized world and the situation with COVID restrictions, brands notice the online purchases’ growth compared to the offline. Online shopping becomes international. But also customers still trust and even give more trust to their local brands. That means people from various target locations can visit your online store and make purchases. Brands should adjust and use this opportunity as never before.
Convert prices and order total into your customer local currency. This way, you show your care and help the customer. It’s hard for the customer to calculate the prices in their local currency and include all taxes and currency conversion rates in their calculations. It’s hard for them to understand clearly what price they need to pay and whether they have enough money in their bank account. Help and do that for them!
Transparent Shipping Costs and Taxes
The total on the checkout page summarises all the costs included in the order. However, the order summary must list all additional costs, such as taxes and shipping. Free shipping is a competitive advantage for many brands and a reason for customers to buy products in a particular store. Customers want to see how much delivery costs at your online store. Also, shipping costs and taxes may differ depending on the customer location and the delivery method chosen. So, the user must always have the choice and decide what suits them best.
Multiple Shipping Options
As mentioned before (about the variety of payment options), the same goes for the shipping options. First, shipping costs usually differ depending on the delivery method used. Second, different people tend to trust particular delivery methods and prefer their advantages. For example, someone needs lower costs and is ready to wait a bit. Another person needs to get their order as quickly as possible to make a present for some holiday. Know your customers and always give them flexibility and choice.
And to sum up, let the numbers speak:
Great Customer Journey Before
The first impression counts for a lot. But the sum of many small interactions across the website count even more. Provide a great customer experience at all stages: from the home and product pages to the checkout and customer support. This way, you increase the loyalty of your customers and lead them to the purchase in a great mood 🙂 When they saw a great product page, quickly added all needed products to their shopping cart without any distractions, chances for the successful checkout will grow.
Analyze your customer behavior with the Google Analytics funnel tool and observe which steps of the buying process have room for improvement. You just find out at what stages your customers usually leave before the purchase. It could be product pages, a shopping cart page, or even a checkout page, meaning that these particular pages hide some reasons that stop your customers from placing the order. This is where you can start your conversion optimization.
Such services as Hotjar can give you an overview of the customer experience on your website. It shows the user interactions’ heatmap, and you can see whether some elements need changes, testing, and analysis.
High Data Security
Implementing data security technologies on the website is essential for all businesses that deal with payments. Use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) on the website to secure payment operations from data theft and hacking. SSL helps increase the security level of digital communications on eCommerce websites and provides data encryption. Also, enable two-factor authentication combining the request of two security factors such as the information that the user has (e.g., a credit card number) and who the user is (e.g., a fingerprint, face ID, etc.).
Protect your payment operations with a firewall. A firewall blocks any unauthorized access to the online data. Also, the website should have https authentication to secure your website communications over the network.
Engaging and Convenient Buttons
Confirmation buttons on the checkout page should not scream, but they need to be well-notable and be in the right place. There is some difference between pacing the buttons on desktop and mobile devices – you can test and find out the best and the most convenient place for the buttons. On mobile devices, the button size must be large enough to tap with a finger.
The button color also plays an important role and influences conversions. We know that red or green buttons are often used to catch attention and create urgency. But there is a cultural difference between the meaning of colors in different countries. That’s why we should take it into account when designing the store view for customers in our target locations. Furthermore, most stores nowadays use minimalistic colors in grey, black, and white that still catch attention but don’t put pressure. A/B testing is helpful here to find what works best.
eCommerce Checkout Steps Optimization
When we already know some of the best practices for creating an effective checkout page, let’s consider practical steps to optimize the checkout flow and grow the conversion.
Engage with Product Pages
We all know that customers start their journey somewhere on the product pages or a home page. That means their experience on the product page significantly influences their readiness to checkout. Make an excellent product presentation with a high-quality product description and images, provide outstanding customer support via live chat, offer beneficial bonuses, and share your brand values with customers. This way, you grow their trust and desire to shop in your store. Create a great impression right from the beginning and support that feeling on the checkout!
Add Trust Signals for Credibility
We often talk about growing customer trust, and that’s where we really can make a difference. Our customers need trust signals at all stages of their journey. They need to see https:// in your website URL to know that your website is secure. They also need to see customer reviews to know that others trust your brand. Again, you can grow credibility by showing logos of brands responsible for web and payment security, such as Norton, McAfee, etc.
Remove All Destructors
The checkout stage is a step that leads to the conversion. That’s why you should focus customer attention on this goal. Different banners, pop-ups, links, colorful elements, or additional widgets can distract the user and take away from the primary goal. That’s why make your checkout page clear, minimalistic, and consistent.
Omit Unnecessary Links
All additional links, banners, and other unnecessary information are not for the checkout page. Focus on the key actions: fill in the form and confirm the order. All other links can be placed on the product pages, home page, and additional marketing pages. The checkout page must have only one call to action – make a purchase and confirm the order.
Be Careful with Promo-Codes
That’s a tricky moment. Promo codes are useful when used wisely. Be careful when offering the field to enter the promo code on the checkout page. When users see that field, they don’t have promo codes and experience ambiguous feelings in most cases. It’s something like: ‘This order may cost fewer. I don’t have a promo-code. That’s not fair. Where can I get it?’. So, you see.
For example, this is Forever 21’s checkout page:
- Their promo code field is pretty bright and catches attention. That will not work for many brands and will distract from the purchase. But maybe, Forever 21 builds some of its competitive advantages and marketing tactics on this offering.
- They tell you how to get these discounts. You just need to invite a friend and get a gift (probably, a promo code for the discount).
One more good tactic is to add a small link with a question such as ‘Have a promo code?’ This way, you don’t bring too much attention to this feature, but people who have a promo code will look for that field and find it. Others will not even notice it and continue their shopping.
Suggest Free-Shipping Options
The free shipping option helps you grow customer loyalty and even increase the order total in many cases. You can offer free shipping for the orders starting from the X sum. So the customers will add a few more items to their shopping cart and get free shipping. You can also offer free shipping for sharing the link to your online store on social networks or for the first order or the review. As we saw in previous stats, 70% of customers EXPECT free shipping options. That’s why it becomes the must-have for modern eCommerce stores.
Use One-Step Checkout
One-step checkout technology means that the customer makes a checkout with one step on the one page. They only need to enter contact, payment, and shipping info to one online form and confirm the order. It saves time and therefore helps grow conversion.
Save Credit Card Detail
Implement saving credit card and contact options, so the user will not need to enter them again during the next purchase checkout process. And don’t forget to admit this as a benefit for not registered users.
Don’t Force to Register
Brands benefit from user’s registration by getting access to their data. However, don’t push pressure on users. Most of the new visitors will not purchase at the store from their first visit. Some of them need to make immediate purchases on the go. Let them do this! Later they will register if they like the experience with your brand. You can provide several convenient options:
Offer Benefits for Registration
We can start collecting emails beforehand. You can show the pop-up or a banner offering various benefits for creating an account for the new customers. They could be a promo code for a 20% discount, the ability to save contact information and preferences, free delivery, etc. Motivate your new customers to stay with you.
Allow Guest Checkout
Even with beneficial offerings on your website, some users will not still be glad to register. They may need to make a quick purchase or don’t have enough trust for your brand for the first time. That’s normal. We should be flexible and provide a guest checkout option. This way, our customer will need to enter just the necessary information: contacts, delivery address, and payment details, and that’s all. This information will not be stored in your database and will be applied to only particular orders.
Look how Tom Tailor uses all the three options! They offer login for their customers, allow new customers to shop as a guest, or encourage them to register to make the next shopping more comfortable by saving orders and login information.
Return Your Customers
Another useful way to simplify the checkout process, return your customers, and grow your conversion rate is to remind your customers about their abandoned carts, viewed products, wish lists, and preferences. You can use various marketing channels or a combination of them for these purposes.
A large number of users abandon their carts and don’t complete the purchase process. You can send them friendly automated reminders via email with links to their saved abandoned carts. This way, your customers return to your store and complete their orders.
With Facebook and Google remarketing ads, you can show ads to your customers based on their previous purchases, preferences, and saved wishlists. It’s one of the most effective ways to advertise your products because your ads are personalized and based on interests. Install Facebook pixel or set up Google Adwords code on your website and launch engaging ads according to your budget.
Messengers & Phone
Connect with your customers via messengers or phone and inform them about your discounts for their preferred products. This way, you motivate the customers to buy products now because something stopped them from purchasing some time ago.
There are plenty of ways to improve our customers’ experience, but they all need testing, and some of them need an individual approach to different customer groups. To sum up, let’s look at some of the best eCommerce checkout examples.
eCommerce Checkout Examples
ASOS provides three options to check out: you can log in to your existing account, register using Google, Facebook, Apple, or Amazon account, or use guest checkout. We tested their guest checkout option:
So, what good we can see here. First, it’s a one-step checkout where you can make the checkout on one single page. Next:
- ‘Secured with Norton’ badge telling the user that the website is safe.
- Order summary with visual identification of added items and a total.
- The delivery country field allows us to find and select the country.
- The short form requests only the necessary information: delivery address, delivery options, and payment details. All this is summarized with a friendly green ‘Place Order’ button. There are no distractors; we can see just a clear and consistent form.
- And a tricky moment: a well-notable field about promo-codes and vouchers. Maybe, the ASOS team knows what they do and have enough promo codes to satisfy their customers’ expectations. 🙂
Tiger of Sweden
Tiger of Sweden is a powerful Sweden fashion brand with a long history. Their website is an excellent example of a high-quality product created with care about their customers.
Their checkout page illustrates a great example of an effective checkout process. They also provide a one-step checkout on the one page and make the shopping process really convenient for the customer.
- They provide two options to check out: as a guest or as a member.
- Customers that register get free shipping. Remember about encouraging users to register?
- The order summary’s clean and minimalistic look allows the users to place the order without any distractions.
- Pay attention to a small link offering to add a coupon. The brand doesn’t put it to the spotlight, so the users who don’t have coupons don’t overfocus on that moment.
- Benefits and guarantees serve as trust signals for the customers.
- We can see the forms that request only the necessary information. The first one asks for the shipping address.
- We scroll down and can choose the shipping method. It’s good that there are several options available, and each one provides a clear description of the time needed for the delivery.
- Then we need to choose a payment method. There are several options shown with visual logos. The user doesn’t need to overthink. Tiger of Sweden provides the most popular methods, such as payment by card, PayPal, and even Klarna to pay later. We just need to enter the data, and that’s all.
- The ‘Order and Pay’ button has a perfect call to action. First, it indicates a goal to order. And second, it informs the user that the payment will be carried out now. So it creates the right expectation. As you can see, its design is minimalistic in black and white, but still well-notable.
These checkout pages both look great on mobile. So you can take them as good examples.
We hope this information was useful for you and will help you build an effective checkout flow to grow your conversion and brand power.
Our credits*: We are thankful to the eCommerce Expo UK 2020 for sharing the useful insights and knowledge about today’s retail and digital world. And our special thanks to Ebru Keskin, Payments and Fraud Expert from FinTech 360, for her report ‘How to achieve higher conversion rate and checkout optimization by localization.’ Thank you, guys, for making a difference.