A checkout page is arguably the most important piece of your entire eCommerce website.
After all, if your checkout page doesn’t stick the landing, all the time and effort you put into the rest of your website will be for nothing.
So, while you should take plenty of time writing effective product descriptions and creating a traffic-generating blog, don’t take your site’s checkout page for granted.
To better appreciate the important role it plays, let’s first begin by looking at the definition of a checkout page.
Put simply, a checkout page is the one that a customer sees during the checkout process. It's the online version of a physical checkout counter in a store.
Some eCommerce websites will have a one-page checkout, while others have multiple pages.
Many benefit from having just a single page since customers don't have to jump to another tab.
But multiple page checkouts have their own benefits, as well.
This is why checkout optimization is such an important eCommerce strategy. Checkout optimization is when a retailer uses one of any number of different practices to improve their online conversions. The goal is to increase trust and comfort in the checkout process while reducing distractions, so more customers complete their purchases.
As we just covered, checkout pages come in two forms: multi-page and one-page checkout.
While single-page checkouts are more popular, many case studies show that conversion-optimized multi-page checkouts can be just as effective.
Some argue that a one-page checkout is a better experience for the customer since it's faster. One-page checkouts could reduce cart abandonment, encourage quick checkouts, and are easy to understand.
But this isn’t always necessarily the case.
Depending on what you’re selling, a multiple-page checkout may be the key to higher conversions and greater revenue.
About 80% of mobile shoppers abandon their carts.
18% of online shoppers say they'd rather skip a purchase than use a complicated checkout process.
Checkout abandonment is when a potential customer leaves the checkout page without buying anything. It's vital that you work toward optimizing your checkout page to reduce this kind of loss in revenue.
Fortunately, analytics will help you understand why customers are abandoning their carts. This information will allow you to make changes to improve sales and create an improved user experience.
To improve the checkout experience, it's vital that you understand why customers are leaving. While there are multiple reasons customers abandon their carts, unexpected charges and fees are one of the top reasons.
Unexpected costs or fees that are added to their order will make customers decide if your product is worth purchasing. This extra fee might cause them to abandon their cart and go to a competitor.
The checkout process needs to be fast and user-friendly. If the checkout process is too complex, they might abandon their cart and look elsewhere. It could include providing too much information, too many steps, or that it's too hard to follow.
While minor performance issues are understandable, avoid consistent crashes, errors, and other problems. A poor-performing page could create a lack of trust in your company by the consumer.
Many will leave the checkout page immediately if you force users to register, so offer guest checkout options for those who'd rather skip creating an account. Consider various tools that could help you increase checkout completions.
You aren't providing your customers with convenience if your checkout page doesn’t support various payment methods. Customers who can't use their preferred method of payment and shipping are more likely to go looking for an eCommerce company that will.
Now, that you’re better acquainted with what an eCommerce checkout page is, let’s look at some of the most important tips for improving yours, so you can quickly see more conversions and more money.
While every eCommerce checkout page is different, these 16 tips will give you a number of options for improving your specific version for better results ASAP.
Keep the entire checkout process as simple as possible.
Among other things, this means not including unnecessary links on the page that could take them to other parts of your site.
This way, customers are less likely to click away from the checkout page. Many companies even go so far as removing the header and footer on their checkout pages to completely reduce distractions to the least amount possible.
Remove any other hindrances on your checkout page, too. This could include forced sign-ups, long forms, multiple fields to fill out, popups, and more.
Your customers should only have one focus when they show up on your checkout page.
(To check out, in case you didn’t get that)
Allow your checkout form to have a shipping address predictor. Google Autofill is an excellent option for this.
Have the form catch errors by using form field validation. Offer a check box to allow users to choose the same billing and shipping address. Smart form filling will make the overall process easier and keep the customer's attention (another way to drop your cart abandonment numbers).
Don't force a consumer to create an account.
That's a quick way to lose customers.
Instead, allow them to check out as guests and input minimal information to make the entire process straightforward and fast.
Many potential customers are short on time and won't be interested in creating an account. Additionally, they may be trying to check out on their phone, making the extra steps involved with account creation cumbersome and frustrating.
Make the process as quick and easy as possible so they can quickly enter the payment information and complete the purchase.
Another smart way to make this process as painless as possible is with a single-page checkout. With this approach, all the steps are on one page and require no navigation.
Distractions are minimal with a single-page checkout. Customization options for paying and shipping can still be available, as well.
The one drawback is that it might seem to customers like the process has too many steps on one page. To help, have a progress indicator for consumers to have mini milestones.
If you have customers worldwide, consider having a localized checkout experience. They're more likely to turn into conversions this way since it removes users' barriers.
Localized checkout is when the user's experience will vary depending on what country they're located in. A customer's expectations in Finland might be different from those in Japan.
If they hesitate during the checkout process, they might not buy items. Giving them a checkout page written in their native language will make it easier for them to understand what’s necessary to complete their transaction.
Let customers choose the currency they prefer.
Currency conversions add an unnecessary process to your checkout.
Instead, offer multiple payment gateways, including for global transactions. The entire process will be localized and seamless for the consumer.
As we just touched on supporting multiple language options for your customers is important, too.
This will remove language barriers and make buying items simpler for consumers worldwide. Without multiple languages, they might struggle to understand terms, conditions, and other legalities, making them less likely to buy items.
Transactions worldwide will have taxes.
These taxes vary from country to country.
You'll need to calculate international taxes based on the user's location. This will make it easier for the user to not have to worry about paying taxes separately.
Your customers will need to feel comfortable before they buy your items.
Adding security buttons and testimonials are two of the best ways to do this.
Add security badges such as:
The more indicators you can provide that your checkout page is 100% trustworthy, the more you’ll see your conversion rate grow.
Case studies and testimonials are positive signals that will definitely boost consumer confidence in your website. These reduce the risk of abandoned carts and build trust.
Testimonials could include videos, photos with quotes, etc. Case studies prove how your product or service works and how it'll benefit them.
Make it easy for them to contact you for support problems/questions. Have a live chat option at checkout to make it convenient. Check out your competitors for support ideas, whether through chat, email, phone, etc.
Research and reference all necessary steps to ensure that visitors turn into buyers.
Generally speaking, this is known as conversion rate optimization (CRO).
Let’s look at some of the best practices that fall under CRO.
First, make upsells easy for consumers, and you will generate a higher profit. Upsells are literally just last-minute offers you make during the checkout process to add more to their checkout. They are an excellent way to encourage users to buy more during checkout.
However, you have to avoid too many upsells since that could slow down the page, impacting the user experience. It could also make it distracting for the consumer.
Consider adding limited-time offers with a checkbox to make them easy to add. There could also be subscription options.
Cross-selling is popular, too.
This is when you offer items that are similar to their original product but provide you with a higher profit margin. You can also combine upselling and cross-selling to really maximize profits from your checkout page.
Use exit intent pop-ups to stop a customer from leaving. These ads could offer discounts or remind them of items in their cart before they abandon them. Ensure that the promo codes are only for a limited time, encouraging them to return to their cart ASAP.
Only ask for relevant information in an exit intent pop-up. If you ask for their name and email, don't ask for their birthday and phone number, as well.
Since they're about to leave your site, offer them an incentive to stay and fill in their information. Ensure that it requires little effort from them.
Consider having targeted popups instead of one for all. You might want to offer free returns or shipping to reduce cart abandonment. If you offer a deal, ensure they know it'll be gone soon, so they'll want to act fast.
Every 39 seconds, a hacking attack occurs, making people more fearful of giving out their information. Most passwords can be hacked in less than an hour.
Your checkout page design needs to include security and privacy measures to prevent this. eCommerce shops must comply with the various privacy and security regulations worldwide.
Each region might have its own security requirements, so be sure to research those and then include trust seals and security certifications to gain trust.
Be aware of the various data privacy guidelines for storing sensitive information. This could include credit card information, phone numbers, email addresses, etc.
GDPR is the General Data Privacy Regulation from the European Union. The CCPA is short for the California Consumer Privacy Act. There's also the MFA which is the Multi-Factor Authentication Standards.
The CCPA was created for the management of privacy. It's modeled after the General Data Privacy Regulation and gives users more control over their data.
If your company collects information about California residents, they must state how it's collected. Companies must also provide them with the opportunity to protect, delete, or request their personal data. Any company that collects data on California residents must abide by this.
Multi-Factor Authentication requires two factors to have a single authentication event. It's a great way to secure online accounts and prevent hackers. Only a limited number of users will be able to access the account.
Make it so easy that consumers won't want to leave your store for a competitor's. Ensure that your store’s checkout page gives them multiple flexibility options and convenience.
Offer them options for payment, ensure that the checkout process won't take long (whether for single or multiple-page checkouts), and remove optional fields.
Most people nowadays search the web from their phones. If you don't optimize your eCommerce design for mobile users, you'll lose numerous customers and large revenue.
Test the call-to-action buttons to ensure that everything works. Ensure that the entire process will be smooth, quick, and easy for them.
One of the main reasons for a high cart abandonment rate may be a lack of preferred payment methods. Payment preferences will vary from country to country.
While you might find credit cards popular in some countries, they may not be as popular in others. To build trust, give them options, including Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, and PayPal. This will also encourage them to finish buying the product.
Offer subscriptions to your consumers to encourage a steady income. It's vital to offer them one-time purchases, as well.
This will offer them flexibility and the option to choose what works best for them. You could even make signing up for the subscription service as simple as a box that they check.
Then they'll receive the products continually over time. For example, Amazon does this with its various products, from vitamins to razors!
Never stop testing.
SEO (search engine optimization), the interests of your audience, and ideal designs could change over time. Focus on designing a checkout process that's seamless and attractive.
Study color psychology to better understand the effect that various colors will have on your customers during checkout.
You should try A/B testing, too.
A/B testing is a form of split testing where you have a duplicate of the same page but make a change to one item. This will give you an idea of what works, what doesn't, and what leads to higher conversions.
Consider rearranging the buttons on your checkout page, changing the call-to-action, the design, etc. Try out different colors and study your competitors. This will allow you to see what works and what doesn't.
By using A/B testing, you can conduct this research in half the time and get the results you want for your checkout page even faster.
Many who leave their shopping cart plan to come back later to finish their check out later, but they might forget to do so. If you have their email address, you can send them an abandoned cart email series.
In short, this is just a simple email that reminds the customer they’ve left items in their cart.
It's best to send out this email within 24 hours of a customer abandoning the checkout page. Place a link in the email to bring them directly to their cart.
You could also entice them by offering a certain amount off of the purchase price. Send out at least three emails to remind them.
The first should be within a few hours, the second within 24 hours, and the third within 48. Of course, if they haven't bought it by then, they're probably not going to buy it at all.
You could send them emails that include:
Give them a limited-time offer with the products in front of them. Include a link to each product as well as the quantity. Have a checkout now button to make it easy for them.
Ask for minimal personal information first, such as their email and name, before their payment information.
Next, head to shipping information, their billing address, phone number, etc.
Have a live chat available in case they have any questions. Live chat availability increases the chances of a sale if the customer has a question.
Don't have multiple fields when they can input them into one section. Use a single field for the customer's full name (first and last).
Have the shipping and billing be the same unless the customer wants to change that. Remove additional address fields but offer them the option to add them if necessary.
Checkout pages are never where you should survey your users.
Users don't receive any benefit, so they’ll want to skip any unnecessary, optional fields. Remember that users are short on time and less likely to buy items with each step they have to take to complete checkout.
Instead, if they signed up for an account, you can ask them these survey questions as part of the onboarding process. You should only include optional fields if it benefits the user's experience.
Have your checkout button stand out. This button is what says “place your order”, “buy now”, “checkout”, etc.
Include them at the top and bottom of the page. Ensure that they stand out, so the customer doesn't have to search for them.
If your customer isn't ready to buy right now, they might be in the future. Offer wish list options for them to save items for later.
Wish lists allow them to access items that they're interested in at any time. You could also send abandonment emails based on the items they saved. Even after they add items to their wish list, make it possible for them to continue shopping.
Downsells help to build trust with the shopper.
Downsells are also known as a last-ditch effort to make a sale. If the customer isn't interested in the initial offer, they might be with a new – lesser – option that doesn’t cost as much.
If a customer continues coming back to look at an item, they might be looking for a sale. The Behavior Flow Report in Google Analytics will give you this information.
Some downsell ideas include:
Trial offers work especially well!
The fact that they're receiving an exclusive offer just for them makes it more enticing.
If you sell physical products, you could offer a subscription plan. For membership sites, offer a low-dollar option. It's a great way to generate interest in your product or service.
Consider offering multiple downsells on a single page to increase the average order value. Highlight products that compliment your customer's initial purchase.
A payment plan is a popular option for downselling.
If the customer rejects an upsell, offer the same product again but with payment plans. Payment plans could be quarterly or monthly.
This way, you get the sale you want without having to charge less (like a typical downsell).
As we’ve covered a number of times now, the less a customer has to do, the more likely they will be to make it through your checkout process.
Fewer steps mean less stress for them.
The average attention span is only 8.25 seconds.
And that’s actually 4.25 seconds less than what it was in 2000.
Imagine what that number will be in 2030.
So, a big reason for abandoned carts could be customers simply having to fill out too much information and getting distracted in the process.
One-click checkouts mean shoppers only input their information once. This could include credit card details, shipping address, and email address, all information that will autofill next time.
The concept, which was popularized by Amazon, makes it as easy as possible for customers to check out again and again without multiple steps. There’s literally just one.
Encourage customers that they need the product now.
Creating scarcity will make them more likely to click buy now.
Social proof is a good way to do this.
For example, by showing how many people just bought an item in the last hour, you show customers how many others absolutely love the item they’re considering.
BUT you also create urgency.
Will the product sell out soon?
Or pair this social proof with offering them a deal that expires in the next 10 minutes.
Earlier, we talked about how important it is to run A/B tests to see which version of your checkout page performs best.
If you have multiple and single-page checkout options, you'll want to test them separately.
For example, create multiple versions of a single-page checkout where only one item is different. Then, see which versions of the pages end in a purchase.
Do the same for multiple-page checkouts.
This is just one example of how you can conduct continued testing.
Whatever the case, the point is that your checkout page is much too important to ever settle for any results – even good ones. There are always more ways you can drop your abandonment rate, improve your conversions, and rake in greater profits for your business.
The above guide should give you a productive foundation for understanding what a checkout page is and why it’s so important for the success of your eCommerce business.
Hopefully, you’ve also discovered some helpful tips and tricks for improving your current version or for building a new one from scratch.
And if you’d like a shortcut to the best possible checkout experience for your customers, check out our popular one-of-a-kind solution. It comes packed with unique benefits that will power the best bottom line.
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