Optimising at Every Stage of the Ecommerce Checkout Process

By Sam, 4 months ago (5 min read)

In the world of ecommerce, an easy-to-use, attractive website is not enough if you don’t have an optimised checkout process that will help you seal the deal. Here, we’re offering up ways businesses can make the process of making an online purchase as quick, easy and persuasive as possible for users.

Email capture

Attraction is where the real part of the journey begins – and if done right, you can make this work for both yourself and the user. This is where email capture comes in. Ideally, you want to get hold of those all-important email addresses as soon as you can. So, what better way to bag an address than by offering a discount?

A pop-up that alerts users to a (insert % of your choice here) discount sent straight to their inbox is the perfect way to entice them into making a purchase, while providing you with their details. This approach means that, even if the user doesn’t complete their checkout journey today, a) they might come back to make the most of the offer or b) you might be able to lure them back with future email campaigns.

Securing an email address means you don’t need to insist that a user registers to be able to buy. For some customers, a lengthy sign up process is an instant turn-off. One of the biggest benefits of getting them to sign up in the first place is receiving their details – but allowing them to buy as a guest user still gets you that coveted email address.

Remove distractions

With the email address secured (or not, depending on the user), next for your optimised checkout process is getting rid of distractions – so, ideally, no more pop-ups. Anything that will remove focus from the end goal is harming your conversion rate and needs to be addressed at the earliest opportunity. This goes for everything from the box that gives users the option to view their basket or keep shopping, to the actual checkout page itself…but more on that later.

When adding an item to their basket, the user shouldn’t need to look around for how to do this – the process should be simple and streamlined, and they should be gently nudged into doing this. Whether you go with “add to bag”, “add to basket” or another of the popular alternatives, you’ll want to ensure the button itself is optimised and stands out in terms of font and colour.

Once an item is added to their basket, make it easy for the user to continue shopping. A pop-up button works well here, giving the would-be buyer instant access to items they were previously browsing. The alternative is they hit the back button and have to start the filtering process again. Don’t let this be the reason they don’t go through with the sale.

Keep the basket process easy

Okay, so we said we’d get back to this: the actual checkout page. This should be easy to access at all times so that, once a user is ready to finalise the sale, they don’t have to spend time searching for how to do this.

This is your last chance to convert the user into a paying customer – so a sense of urgency will work well here. No-one likes to feel like they’re missing out, so embrace the FOMO (fear of missing out) and use prompting semantics like “last chance to buy” or “final few hours of sale” to encourage orders.

Any last-minute surprise costs are sure to turn your would-be customer away – so try to highlight delivery fees and any other costs (such as paying by credit card) as early as possible in the checkout process. Make the actual payment form itself quick and easy to fill out, too, so that users aren’t deterred by needing to populate numerous fields with personal information.

Trust signals

Users will undoubtedly be put off from making a purchase if they don’t believe your site is secure. Now, this isn’t such an issue with repeat buyers, of course. They know your brand, they’ve done business with you before and they’re confident that their bank details are safe when they make a purchase.

New customers are a different story. They may want to see evidence of an SSL certificate and mentions of the promise of a secure shopping experience when they’re on your site. This is where T&Cs pages and returns policies are invaluable – as cautious users can read them and look for available payment options and certifications for peace of mind before they buy.

So, make sure links to relevant pages are prominent and easy to access. These are generally found in the footer of a site and should be easy to navigate. Once on the pages themselves, information should be clearly displayed and users should be able to see how to access further information if required.

On top of that, showcasing positive reviews here (from third-party sites such as Trustpilot) allows you to emphasise to users that yours is a reliable brand that fulfils its promises to users and is trusted by a great many customers just like them.

Payment options

From Klarna to PayPal and everything in between, customers expect to see a variety of payment options when it comes to checking out. As the very last port of call in the sales funnel, the last thing you want is to fail to secure the sale because you only offer a standard debit or credit card payment option.

With buy now, pay later becoming an increasingly attractive prospect for online shoppers, if you’re willing to work with merchants who offer this – and display their badge on your website – your sales could see a boost. In the name of making a purchase as easy as possible for users, you need to make sure you’re giving them what they want.

Trialling some A/B testing could help you here. Speak to different payment companies and trial what works best for your business and your customer base. Remember to compare basket abandonment rates based on any changes you make, as well as the number of sales and amount of revenue generated.

TL;DR

  • Capture email addresses early using pop-ups
  • Get rid of anything that distracts the user from completing their journey
  • Ensure you have easy-to-use basket and payment processes
  • Make trust signals prominent across the site
  • Provide a variety of payment options to give customers choice

If you believe you’re following checkout process best practices and are still at a loss as to why your conversion rate isn’t increasing or your abandoned baskets are on the rise, get in touch. At Land Digital, we’ve got the tools and know-how to help you see sales soar.