ecommerce checkout page

Are Your Checkout Pages the Achilles Heel of Your Business?

ecommerce checkout pageThe ecommerce checkout page is often considered the finish line of the ecommerce process. Once your customer gets there, you’ve already won them over and the hard part is done, right?

Wrong.

67.45% of all online shopping carts go abandoned, according to Baymard Institute. That means the ecommerce checkout page should be one of the most focused, optimized areas of your site. You stand to lose the majority of your sales here.

If you haven’t been paying much attention to it, now’s the time to correct your checkout pages before they cost you any more money. It can be hard to know where to start. But here are five key steps to creating a high-converting ecommerce checkout page that can help you raise conversions, increase sales, and grow your profits.

Keep Ecommerce Checkout Pages Simple

I’m not afraid to admit that I’m an extremely lazy internet shopper. The easier buying is, the more likely I am to convert. I would be willing to bet that a lot of people are just like me. Speed and simplicity are attractive. It’s why Amazon’s 1-click purchase has basically become a cultural phenomenon. Plus, the less time checkout takes, the less time I have to potentially reconsider my purchase.

Even if you can’t manage a 1-click purchase, the principle remains the same. Make your checkout pages as simple as possible. If you can, put every element of the checkout process on one page. Divide it up into columns or bars to make it look even simpler.

Display a Progress Indicator

The last tip suggested harnessing a clean design to put the entire checkout process on one page, but if you can’t manage that, providing a progress indicator of some kind will help your customers tolerate the wait. If I’m not positive how long the checkout will take, I might abandon my cart with every intention to return and complete the purchase later, but once I’m gone I may never come back.

There are a few different visual ways to display checkout progress.

  • A simple “Step 1, Step 2, Step 3…” text display at the top of each page.
  • A progress bar that fills up as the customer goes through each step.
  • A countdown starting at the estimated completion time for checkout. One risky choice could be to add a minute to the estimated time that makes the customer feel as if their checkout is going even faster than normal.
  • A creative graphic related to your store (ex. If you sell tea kettles, the progress indicator could be a kettle filling up with tea).

Offer Guest Checkout

30% of users will abandon their cart instantly when asked to create an account for the purchase. It’s a jarring question that throws an unnecessary wrench into the buying process. Your buyer has already decided to purchase, and now you’ve giving them an entirely new question: do I want this item badly enough to spend five minutes giving my contact info to the store?

Keep the question simple by allowing an easy guest checkout process. Sure, you might not get as much customer info, but the boost in conversions will be worth it in the long run.

Show the Savings on the Checkout Page

Statista found the most common cause of shopping cart abandonment was unexpected costs. Whether it’s a hidden fee, extra taxes, expensive shipping, or the customer simply didn’t notice how much they were putting into their cart, seeing a higher-than-expected checkout price makes customers hit the back button on their browsers pretty quickly.

To remedy this, add a display to your checkout page that allows customers to see what they are saving on the transaction. You can do this by offering discounts on related bundles, offering free shipping for orders over a certain value, or even displaying a comparable competitor’s price.

A last-minute effort to ease fears about price could be the difference between a sale and an abandoned cart.

Let Customers Save Products for Later

Let’s imagine you’ve simplified your checkout page, designed a progress indicator, set up guest checkout, and displayed the savings for your customer. Will your cart abandonment rate drop to 0%? Of course not. Carts will always go abandoned for one reason or another. The customer might get cold feet, or have a sudden commitment to take care of.

Add a button to your checkout page that allows your customer to save their cart. This will give them more time to think about the purchase or deal with whatever issue is drawing them away from the page.

There’s another hidden benefit to: the customer will have to provide their email address. Now you’ve got one more name to add to your email list and you’ve got a shot at rescuing a cart that nearly went abandoned.

Final Thoughts

Running your ecommerce store like a well-oiled machine means there should be no wasted opportunities. Efficient backend operations combined with great marketing and a brilliantly designed store mean nothing if your checkout pages aren’t optimized. Remember ecommerce is like a house of cards. If one thing is out of place, the whole house can come crumbling down. Now that you’ve “checked out” these tips, your checkout pages won’t be the weak link in your strategy.

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About the Author

Dion Beary

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Dion Beary writes about ecommerce, television, and sci-fi movies. His passions are Twitter, casseroles, and 00's rap. He uses his job as a content creator for ecomdash to prop up his addiction to Chuck Taylors and Vans.

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Dion BearyAre Your Checkout Pages the Achilles Heel of Your Business?

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