Best E-Commerce Checkout Process – Optimising Checkouts for Higher Purchase Volumes
For your business to succeed online, the need for top-notch e-commerce checkout practices cannot be overstated. But establishing your systems is just the beginning; e-commerce is continually evolving – last year’s state-of-the-art techniques may be hopelessly out-dated today.
To maximize the efficiency of your e-commerce checkout, you should always be optimizing and experimenting with new methods and tactics. This helps you to stay on top of the e-commerce game and ahead of your competitors.
Whether if your shop is built on Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Magento or any other platform, the crux of it all is that checkout usability produces the results you need to stay profitable. We share the top tips to help you do just that.
Best Checkout 2019 – E-Commerce Best Practice Guidelines
What makes a good ecommerce checkout? There is simply no “one size fits all” here, and the best retailers will constantly test and refine to identify and fix any barriers to purchase.
However, there are features and characteristics which are shared by the best checkouts. These include:
Slow pages are bad anywhere on a site, but in checkout they can reduce customer confidence in the process.
Easy Contact Forms
Forms can be a pain, and the key is to minimise it through good design and smart use of shortcuts.
More and more people are shopping via mobile but conversion rates are less than half those on desktop. Checkouts are part of the reason.
Make Guest Checkout Available
Forcing registration is a barrier for customers.
Users should know what information is needed and why, as well as how many steps in the process.
Practical Steps to Optimise You E-Commerce Checkout
- Garner Contact Details at The Start – E-Mail Addresses Specifically
A hard truth is that you will never convert 100% of the users who reach the checkout page (or progress from the cart).
Obtaining the e-mail address at an early stage is quite simple; your platform should require the user to enter their email address and choose whether they want to check out as a guest or create an account for later use. It also ideally performs a lookup to tell the user if the email address already has an account associated with it. The main objective behind this practice is for shopping cart abandonment campaigns. Without an e-mail, you cannot launch your abandoned cart email series, which often brings back 15% of customers who add an item to cart, get to checkout and then decide not to purchase.
- Cart Page: Simplified
With the cart and basket pages, the key is to keep things as simple as possible. Summarize what the user has added to cart and provide a very obvious next step (as well as options around making changes to the order). Only include custom fields that are absolutely necessary, since these naturally provide a higher drop-off.
Remove unnecessary clutter and make the call to actions on the page very obvious and clear. If the next step is to choose shipping method, it should be self-explanatory to the customer. They shouldn’t have to strain to determine where to enter their shipping address or other information. Some type of progress indicator can be useful here as well (for example – “step 3 of 5 completed – enter your payment method next”)
- Trusted Assurance – The “Trust Stamp”
Users really start to think about security when they reach the most sensitive parts of a webpage. For online shoppers, it’s when they reach the credit card form field on a webpage that they are on guard in terms of the of what the security of a page is actually like.
Showing trust stamps throughout the buyer journey is something that comes across as very obvious, but isn’t always implemented on websites.
The first, easiest and most important is to enable a Secure Socket Layer for payment gateways. SSL certificate and mention of secure shopping experience can make or break the purchase. You could also potentially look at third party security validation systems
Have highly visible, concise customer service, help, returns and T&Cs links available throughout the process; extra points if these are available without the user needing to navigate away from their cart to view these buttons.
Display logos of available payment options (and ideally payment certification – e.g. verified by Visa)
Social proof such as merchant reviews and ratings will also non-verbally convey trust to the buyer, even if one or two of those reviews are “poor”; it shows transparency in your product.
- Make the Experience Fun and Simple
This basic premise of e-commerce checkout design seems self-explanatory, but your checkout design speaks volumes about your company. By this point in the user experience, you should be done trying to wow the customer and ready to focus on closing the deal.
- Say THANK YOU!
There is never a wrong time to use good manners, especially to someone giving you money. This is basic common sense. There is an ulterior motive here, however. Some automation systems allow for the tracking of URL’s, and if a client reached the “Thank-You” page, that means their transaction was successful. This allows you to remarket similar campaigns, and not confuse successful checkouts with cart abandonment campaigns.
- Commit – And Stick to It
Hopefully, your customers are excited to receive your product, so why turn that excitement into anger by creating false promises regarding delivery? Customers respect honesty, so be honest. State your latest anticipated delivery date; rather under-promise and over deliver (or so the old adage says)
- Disclaim ALL Costs and Fees
Are you more inclined to trust a company you feel is trying to snatch a few extra pennies from your wallet by utilizing shady business practices? Of course not, so why should you expect your customers to feel differently? Don’t sacrifice a long-term relationship for a minimal short-term gain.
All in all, your ecommerce checkout page is the most important part of your online store. You cannot win sales and grow your business if you cannot get consumers to convert.
This is where trust is the most important. This is also where every small error or distraction can have a serious impact on your bottom line. Get as much feedback from customers on the user experience as you can, which helps you to identify every possible area to reduce friction and optimize your checkout page.
Streamline your checkout page. Offer all available, convenient solutions for your customers and make checkout the least difficult part of your customer’s ecommerce journey!