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8 ways to optimize your eCommerce checkout process

edrone
edrone

eCommerce is a hyper-competitive field, so it doesn’t take much to lose a potential client to another site with a better customer experience. That’s why every single aspect of your online store needs to be perfected to your buyers’ convenience: from the main page's design to the milliseconds it takes for a product picture to load and everything in between.

A particular emphasis should be put on a smooth checkout process with no barriers and no distractions. A recent study by Baymard claims that $240 billion worth of lost orders could be recovered across the United States and Europe through checkout optimization. That number alone is enough to justify special care when designing the checkout process.

You work hard to get customers to your site, get them interested in a product, and convince them to add it to their cart. It’s only right to ensure that all that effort doesn’t go to waste by simple yet so serious mistakes that send clients straight to your competition.

You want your buyers to get in the flow, complete the purchase, and leave your page with a sense of satisfaction and excitement for that sweet package that’ll arrive at their door soon enough.

That’s why we put together these 8 tips for optimizing your checkout process to boost conversions, help first-time customers overcome their hesitation, and get existing clients to return again and again.

Allow guest checkout

Look at it from the customer’s perspective: they’ve had a rough day and stumbled upon an ad for your product while scrolling through their Instagram. The product looked nice and the price seemed reasonable, so they clicked. And now you are bombarding them with login credentials, requests for sharing personal information, and, as they already suspect, tons of future emails. Why should they bother?

Guest checkout, on the other hand, is an effective way for both you and the buyer to get exactly what you wanted: they purchase a product without any distractions and go back to their day, while you receive a new client and a precious email address for future targeting.

Encourage shoppers to save cart contents

Remember, your goal should be to make the customer journey on your site as easy as it can get. Allow users to save the items they are interested in and kill two birds with one stone: saved products give you a reason to reach out to the client by email, push, or in-app notification for as long as it's there on the list, and users are more likely to complete the abandoned purchases.

Another approach you could try here is to auto-save the abandoned carts. This way, you can once again remind the shoppers about the products they were interested in, but also, you save them those extra steps of searching, selecting, and adding items all over again if they decide to come back.

Simplify landing pages and minimize the distractions

While we are on the topic of simplifying things, make sure your checkout landing page is straight to the point. This is the final touchpoint between a shopper and conversion, so you want to get it just right. Reconsider the importance of headers and footers for this part of your website, leave out any unnecessary information, do whatever it takes to keep your customer focused on their journey.

The checkout process is not the time to invite customers to leave the page and look at anything else. Once the buying process has started, that is the only thing that your conversation should be about until it’s completed. If you have other materials to share, sales to promote or anything else you want to put in front of customers, wait until after the sale is done.

Personalize the upsell

Personalization is among the most influential factors when it comes to shoppers’ decision-making. It’s also a great strategy for upselling relevant products pre- or post-purchase. Your store’s checkout page is the perfect place for that!

Consider suggesting relevant products to your customers right before they move from their cart to checkout. Add “people also buy” or “try this as well” categories and promote personalized items for a discounted price before the client decides to complete the purchase. Or go in the “before you go” direction and throw in the last-minute deal right after the checkout. Either way, this is a proven method for driving conversions.

Optimize your forms

An accurate form setup is paramount for a successful eCommerce page. This is how you get to know your audience, grow your contact list, and provide personalized offers known for their ability to drive conversions through the roof. However, this is also a minefield that can cause you a lot of abandoned carts and checkouts. Be careful what you ask for!

Make sure you only capture the essential information. Anything beyond shipping and credit card information is unnecessary right now. Provide auto-fill options for those clients who’ve found you through social media as well as returning visitors with cookies enabled. And, last but not least, don’t forget about form field validation. You want to make it clear which fields are optional and which are required, as well as to inform your user of where exactly they’ve made a mistake while filling the form.

Present transparent total cost information

Extra costs, especially shipping, are the number-one reason for shoppers to abandon your eCommerce store. That’s perfectly understandable, too: nothing is quite as frustrating as seeing a friendly price tag, only to discover moments later that it’s calculated before tax, shipping is billed separately, and this price only works for the item in black, while you had your heart set on the one in white.

To save your buyers some severe disappointments, optimize your checkout process in such a way that there are no hidden costs: present all the info in an intuitive and logical way, clarify the discount specifics, highlight the bargain, etc.

Show the entire checkout journey

Another aspect of an effective eCommerce landing page that could help you optimize the checkout process is clarity in terms of how far away the customer is from completing a purchase. Not only do you want it to be minimal and easy to understand, but you also want your customers to have a clear understanding of where they are at any given moment.

Provide an effective visualization of how many steps the checkout process will take, but make sure that each step you outline is part of that process. For example, it makes more sense to collect all needed information in step rather than breaking it up into several different steps along the way. Make sure that a buyer can complete the checkout process in less than 5 steps and watch your conversion rates grow!

Appeal to urgency and FOMO

Creating a sense of urgency and playing on the customer’s fear of missing out is among the oldest tricks in the eCommerce book, yet they still work. More than 60% of online shoppers report that FOMO has encouraged them to complete an impulsive purchase, which makes it a powerful and relatively easy-to-implement strategy.

The beauty of this approach is that you’re limited only to your creativity and can easily leverage this sense of urgency in a number of ways. However, it’ll prove to be particularly effective the closer your customer is getting to the end of the funnel. Tell them how many other buyers are interested in the item, reveal how many products are left in stock, offer a one-time deal for making the purchase right away - you know the drill, now go on and put your own flare on it!

There’s more to ecommerce checkout than that!

We’ve provided you with 8 bulletproof strategies for effective optimization of the checkout process. However, there is so much more you could try! Whether it’s appealing to security, building your entire site mobile-first, including reviews or real-life data to your landing - you won’t know for sure what works best for your audience until you try.

So the most important advice of all here is this: don’t be afraid to experiment. Run A/B tests, analyze the data you already have, or directly ask your clients in a quick survey - you’ll be surprised with the results. Don’t be afraid to try new things, and may the conversions be with you!

Customer experienceeCommerceMarketing automation

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edrone is an AI-fueled SaaS platform providing Instant ROI and Customer Experience solutions for eCommerce. Over 1000 Brands use our technology in 25 countries around the globe.