Updated in November 2021.
The standard eCommerce purchase flow should be simple: people navigate through your site, choose the products or services they want to buy, then add them to the shopping cart, complete the payment, and finalize the order.
However, during this journey, a lot of distractions and blockers could lead to unfinished orders and lost revenue. While it’s true that the whole flow needs to be smooth and optimized, the most “painful” part is right at the end of the journey: the shopping cart. That’s where the money is and where you have the best chance of capturing customer information, especially from first-time buyers. And not even a well-designed website can save a poorly chosen checkout flow.
About 9.58% of visitors to a website add a product to the shopping cart and the global average site conversion rate is 2.86%, statistics show.
In order to improve these statistics and increase your checkout conversions, you need to optimize your cart flow and offer your customers the best possible buyer journey.
We have compiled a checkout optimization guide that shares some of the best ways to optimize your checkout page as well as actionable tips to increase conversions. However, keep in mind that A/B testing is the best way to see if these tips are suitable for your website. Tailor them according to your business niche and you’ll be set for success!
Read on to find out how to boost your checkout conversion rate and ultimately skyrocket your sales!
Bonus: Check out this webinar on how to optimize your checkout when selling in global markets.
1. Make your website mobile-friendly
What if your customers start adding things to the cart on their PC/desktop and finish the order on a mobile device? You have to be prepared for these situations and have your site optimized for whatever device they may be using, including mobile.
This implies that your website needs to have a responsive design, meaning that your content should look the same whether viewed on a computer, a tablet, or a smartphone.
- 19% of worldwide online shoppers stated that they shopped online via mobile on a monthly basis and the number is increasing daily
- 74% of people say they are likely to return to a company’s site in the future if it is mobile-friendly
Given these statistics, it is imperative to have a shopping cart and a checkout flow easily navigable on a mobile device. For example, you can have longer forms and more steps on the desktop version, but it is recommended to have shorter forms and a one-page checkout on mobile.
Having a mobile-friendly website will significantly increase your conversions, especially nowadays, when your potential customers spend their time browsing online from their smartphones. So, it is crucial to keep that in mind when optimizing your checkout page. In addition, you can always check out the state, speed, and performance of your website through mobile-friendly testing tools, such as the one offered by Google.
Hidemyass Checkout page as displayed on mobile (left) and desktop (right) devices
2. Use omnichannel solutions
As previously mentioned, customers nowadays have many shopping channels available to choose from. Sometimes they might begin their shopping experience on their mobile devices, add the products to their carts, and decide to finish up the checkout process on their computers.
In order to offer your customers a seamless checkout experience, it’s critical to start implementing omnichannel strategies when optimizing your website. For example, if your customer adds some items to their cart on their smartphone, they need to be able to find the same products in the cart when they move on to finalizing the purchase on their desktop browser.
Using an omnichannel strategy will ensure that all your data is stored in one place and the buying process will be seamless and much more fluid.
A helpful tip: you can also use omnichannel solutions for cart recovery campaigns. For instance, you can use omnichannel marketing strategies to send out automatic cart reminders through push notifications, emails, website pop-ups, chatbot messages, and so on.
“Not only is it important for omnichannel retailers to implement shared cart functionality to meet growing customer demand for the service, it makes smart business sense as well. Retailers that have a shared cart see less cart abandonments and, in turn, higher conversion rates.” – Joe Keenan
3. Use strong call-to-actions
Sometimes, all it takes is a little push to place an order. Call-to-actions are a great way to “help” shoppers decide to buy whatever caught their eye. The best way to determine which call-to-actions are more appropriate for your shoppers is to test several options first. This way you can see which ones most effectively fuel your conversion rate growth.
Another point to add here is that you should try to have your call-to-action buttons as visible as possible. The buttons such as “Add to cart” or “Buy now” should stand out and easily draw the attention of your potential buyer to increase user engagement and boost your sales.
A tip you could use is to add the “Checkout” button both at the top and bottom of the page, so it will be easier for your customers to move forward with their purchase.
“So, what button copy should you use? ‘Click here’, ‘buy now’ and ‘order now’ are a few call-to-action texts that you see around. I’ve found that generic phrasing like the words above don’t really impact conversion rates by much. If they do, then there are other elements on your webpage that need to be tested.” – Neil Patel
4. Offer wish lists
It often happens that people browse a website and add things to their cart without being 100% sure they will buy them. Then they abandon the cart but later change their mind, only to see that the items they have added are no longer in the basket. In this situation, you can allow shoppers to create wish lists or keep their products in the cart for an extended (although limited) amount of time. Thus, you will be able to offer your shoppers a seamless experience once they finally decide to go through with the purchase process.
Even if your potential buyers aren’t 100% sure upon their purchase, allowing them to add items to a wish list will also make it easier for you to contact them through email remarketing campaigns and to notify them when discounts on those exact items take place. Moreover, you can offer them a discount coupon that could motivate them to finish their purchase.
“Offer your customers a wish list to save articles they love but aren’t ready to purchase. This does two very important things: it prevents your customers from using a shopping cart as a wish list, which will lower your overall cart abandonment, and it will offer you the opportunity to communicate with your customer based on the merchandise that you already know they love.” – Whitney Blankenship
5. Enable buying without creating an account
Offering a guest checkout is already known to be an effective eCommerce checkout strategy. Also, as you can see in the latest print on demand eCommerce stats, the competition in the eCommerce field is growing rapidly, so offering a faster check out option is crucial. Shoppers don’t always want to fill out long forms in order to create and confirm an account so they can buy the products they want. Some websites even ask for email address verification after creating an account. Or, if the buyer already has an account but doesn’t remember the password, they have to deal with the recovering password process. Both situations create too many unnecessary steps in the checkout process.
When facing such issues, most buyers will simply turn away from your cart and look for a less complex shopping experience. To avoid these situations, give them the option to buy without creating an account on the spot, but allow creating one after placing the order by simply checking a box. Your customers will prefer to give out their contact details after they have placed the order, so they will be able to track their purchase instead of stopping mid-checkout to fill in the forms beforehand.
Thus, your cart conversions will significantly increase by offering your potential customers a seamless checkout experience without the hectic steps of creating an account first.
6. Have you considered exit offers?
Introducing exit offers for shoppers who are about to abandon the cart is a great way to keep them from churning. Offers can be triggered when they want to close the tab or browser or when they want to edit the URL. In such situations, you can offer a discount to persuade your shopper to complete the purchase on the spot.
Exit offers have a much higher conversion rate than remarketing emails since only 30 to 50% of shoppers open emails. Best is to use both exit offers and remarketing campaigns for optimal results. In your exit pop-up, you can also ask the shopper for their email address to send them a coupon for their next purchase, which sets yourself up for easier email marketing in the future.
Since it’s already proven that personalization can increase eCommerce conversion rates, you can apply this strategy to your exit offers as well. Using the visitor’s name, offering the option to chat, or presenting a specifically tailored bundle at a good price are just a few ways to apply this principle to your exit pop-ups and significantly increase your checkout conversion rate.
7. Give small incentives or discounts
Don’t underestimate the power of an incentive, as it is effective for most shoppers. Try not to limit yourself to discounts, but offer vouchers, freebies, upgrades to PRO versions of software, or a longer subscription period. You can also try cross-selling discounted items or offering complimentary products related to their order. You’d be surprised how willing people are to buy when they are offered a great deal.
“Don’t make coupons prominent – when people see an “enter coupon code here” field, they feel less special. “How come I don’t have one?” Many go to Google to find a coupon; many never return. Leaving the site in search for coupons is a common reason for shopping cart abandonment. Instead, have a text link saying “Got a coupon?” or something similar, and clicking on the link makes an input field appear.” – Peep Laja
8. Ditch the long forms
Let’s face it: no one has the time to enter two delivery addresses, a nickname, and three phone numbers when buying something online. So, the best route is not to ask for unnecessary information at checkout because shoppers get impatient fast and might not finish their order.
Our advice is to test multiple form variations and see what information your shoppers are willing to share with you. In other words, make the checkout as easy and short as possible.
Also, to make things easier, in the form field for credit card number, enable auto-formatting the card number with spaces. This also helps to eliminate card validation errors caused by typos while also making it less troublesome for the shoppers to type in their data.
Another visual detail to consider when optimizing your checkout page for mobile users is to try enlarging your form fields and fonts. You need to make sure everything is readable and that your customers will not feel the need to zoom into the webpage in order to provide their purchase information.
Also, when filling out the purchase order with the contact details, your customers will not have the same precision of typing on their smartphones as when using a computer keyboard, so try to keep that in mind when working on your checkout page optimization.
“Try reducing input fields on guest checkout forms to the absolute minimum required. Avoid asking guests to confirm their email addresses by entering it twice. Also, use features such as an address finder to cut down input entry for addresses.” – Kunle Campbell
9. Allow different payment methods
Let customers choose the payment method and the billing currency they want. If you are running an online shop, it is necessary to offer multiple payment methods because this could be a key growth area for such a business. Statistics show that in 2021 no less than 7% of shoppers abandoned their cart when there weren’t enough payment methods available to choose from.
Having the option of multiple payment methods and currencies will most likely decrease cart abandonment and encourage your customers to finish the checkout process.
This way, you will most definitely increase your conversion rates and boost your sales exponentially.
You might be surprised by the fact that credit cards are not the most utilized payment method in many countries. For example, in China, 47% of the total number of online orders are paid via Alipay, while in Brazil the most popular payment method is Boleto Bancario. Konbini is the most popular choice in Japan.
Given this scenario, your shopping cart should allow your customers to choose between different payment methods if you want to expand into competitive local markets. Make sure that the payment methods are clearly visible and that express options are available for methods like PayPal, where the user is redirected to another website to complete their order.
10. Earn buyer’s trust
You can do this by displaying trust seals and security badges, including a link to your terms and conditions page, showing the highlights of your refund policy, displaying short reviews, etc. For example, icons like “30-Day Money Back Guarantee” can remove any hesitations a potential buyer might have.
By letting your shoppers know that your website is safe and secure, you will gain their trust, and not only will they finish up the checkout process with more confidence, but they will also be more likely to come back to your shop for their next shopping session. This tactic shows that you care about customer satisfaction and removes any doubts that can trigger cart abandonment.
In addition to security seals, try adding a phone number where your customers can reach out to you, or a live chat option. Your customers will trust your business even more if you offer them the chance of human interaction when they need it.
“Even if your site already has an SSL certificate and the information customers share with you is secure, they may not be too assured unless they can see some seals or symbols they trust. To reduce customer anxiety and assure them that their payment information will be safe with you, you need to add some trust symbols and/or guarantee statements on your checkout page.” – Shane Barker
Movavi does this well by showing and emphasizing all of the above on their checkout page:
11. Show remaining steps
Depending on what you are selling, the checkout flow of your eCommerce store could have more or fewer steps than usual. Having a visual progress indicator where you show the number of steps before the order is completed, with a description of each, is very helpful for shoppers because they know exactly where they stand, what’s next, and a time estimation of their checkout process.
While mapping your checkout flow, make sure you don’t add too many steps, because it could backfire and lead to a decreased conversion rate. Some examples of checkout steps are Shipping & Billing, Payment, Review & Place Order, Order Confirmation, and Thank You, Share What You Bought, etc. Just make sure you don’t choose all of them. The secret to optimizing your eCommerce checkout page is to make the process look shorter.
You can also refer to A/B testing and to data to decide which checkout flow is the one that performs the best your shoppers. Keep in mind that cart preferences can actually differ based on geographic location. Based on tests we ran, users in the US and Canada prefer checkout flows without a review page while users in Europe are likely to opt for a flow that contains a review page.
12. Don’t add unexpected costs to the total
Be straightforward with your customers and showcase the final cost of the order (including shipping) from the very beginning, even before the shopper initiates the checkout, whether they are a returning client or a new one. You can ask them to enter the delivery country right in the cart or detect it automatically using localization, then calculate the total.
After the order placement, don’t charge them or send a confirmation email with another price other than the one the shopper agreed upon when buying from you. Doing otherwise is only going to bring you bad reviews and fewer buyers.
Being fair and square with your customers will not only boost your sales, but also increase your customer retention over time.
Offering your customers an optimized and seamless buying experience is one of the core keys that lay the foundation of your checkout page conversion strategy. At the end of the day, the shopping cart can either make or break your eCommerce business.
Feel free to share your eCommerce checkout tips that increase conversions with us below.
Looking for more actionable tips and tricks to boost your conversion? Check out these 7 best practices to optimize your checkout pages, where we share out tried-and-tested strategies that we have implemented on our client’s checkout pages.