10 Best Practices to Streamline The Checkout Process on Your Website
Founder and CEO of Growisto, a rising e-commerce marketing and technology company.
You have spent considerable effort optimizing your E-commerce store. The landing page has been optimized, navigation is simple, the UX is crisp and responsive, the marketing copy speaks directly with your customers and traffic is growing.
But where are the sales?
Find yourself in this position more often than not? You are not alone, a 2020 study by SaleCycle found that on average E-commerce websites see around 84% cart abandonment rate. Not only is this frustrating for store owners, but it also comes at a huge economic cost as the user is at peak purchase intent but bounces due to a poor experience at the checkout page.
There can be possible issues and hindrances in your website interface and design that are setting off your customers and causing them to abandon their cart prior to checkout. The key is to identify those crucial areas and make changes effectively to smoothen the customer experience.
In this article, I explore the best practices that will allow you to streamline the checkout process for your customers.
- Offer Guest Checkout - Mandatory registration before checkout is significantly responsible for cart abandonment by potential buyers. People might be initially hesitant to open up an account and provide their personal information and credentials. Therefore, you can add a guest checkout option to speed up the process and make way for a quick and convenient checkout. By easing what could feel like a cumbersome process especially for first-time buyers, guest checkout is an ideal one-stop solution in terms of saving time as well as effort.
- Include Social Logins - Another way to break customer barriers during the initial stage of checkout is to provide options for logging in through social media accounts. Signing up through their accounts on platforms such as Google or Facebook allows buyers to register with one click and also saves them the trouble of coming up with a new password. Thus by streamlining the registration process, including social logins in your e-commerce site can greatly contribute to smoothening the checkout experience and leading to more conversions.
- Enable Default Selection and Autofill Options - Filling a lot of details can be cumbersome, but at the same time, obtaining the information is crucial for carrying out orders and transactions. For your logged in users select the last used address, contact and payment options as the default preference. You can also integrate your website with Google Places API Web Service to enable faster detection of shipping address or enable Google Autofill for auto-suggestion of address and contact details. Such solutions can save your buyer’s valuable time and fast-track the process to the payment gateway. You must also make a clear demarcation of the mandatory and optional fields, and use in-line validation and display error messages to assist the user in filling up the details as required.
- Use Single Page Checkout or Add a Progress Indicator - Single page checkouts result in a significant increase in conversion rate for E-commerce websites. They simplify the process, reduce the number of clicks involved and customers don’t have to go back and forth in case they forget to fill something. If your business requires you to use multi-page checkout then make use of a progress bar as buyers find it helpful if they can monitor how far along the checkout process they are and keep track of the stages involved. Use visual indicators as they attract more attention and make it easier to understand with minimum effort. It is also recommended to keep the number of stages as low as possible, as dragging it out could make buyers abandon the cart. If your existing e-commerce platform is a limitation in achieving single page check-out, it is time to move to a technology stack that will enable you to do this.
- Avoid Distractions and Reduce Clutter: You don’t want your customers to be distracted at the last stage of their user journey. Get rid of any link that would redirect the customer away from the checkout page and for information related to return policies, privacy, payments and general terms and conditions create a pop out window instead. Also, avoid embedded graphic links that would send the customer back to the home page or alternate product recommendations at this stage. Upon successful completion of the order, you can display a thank you note and redirect buyers to your catalog.
- Display Coupons and Offers - Before buyers proceed with the payment, you can display all the applicable promo codes, coupons, and offers that can be availed on the cart items. By doing so, you can combat the possibility of cart abandonment in the pursuit of better deals and discounts. Buyers are often inclined to hit the back button and look for offers and discounts, thus delaying your conversion. Having coupons and offers displayed on the checkout page could certainly induce more buyers to finalize their purchase.
- Include Multiple Payment Modes - Buyers have their own preferences when it comes to modes of payment, therefore having as many secure payment options as possible makes it extremely convenient for carrying out smooth transactions. Aside from the usual cash on delivery, credit card, and debit card options, you must also make sure to accommodate e-wallets and net banking options which are exponentially gaining popularity among online buyers. Additional options such as pickup at a nearby store can also be offered.
- Display Order Summary - Prior to payment, you must display a detailed summary of the order with the products purchased, quantity, size, color, buyer’s name and shipping address and total amount inclusive of all charges such as taxes, packaging, shipping including the discount offered. This helps set the right expectations with the customer and allows them to review one last time before they decide to spend their money.
- Maintain Transparency - Be transparent about your terms and conditions, return and refund policies and expected shipping timelines. Make sure any costs related to shipping are mentioned clearly at an earlier stage of the user’s journey to avoid surprises. Not only does it improve the user experience, but it also helps build trust between the user and your E-commerce website and significantly decreases the cart abandonment rate.
Cart abandonment can be an enduring issue for e-commerce sellers in the absence of a streamlined checkout process. It is necessary to optimize the checkout experience on your e-commerce website to prevent customers from abandoning their cart at the last moment, increasing your conversion rate and which can ultimately pay off big in return on investment.
Most of this can also be difficult to achieve using the standard frontend of an e-commerce platform such as Shopify and Magento. In such cases, use a JS driven frontend such as React to enhance your checkout experience.
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