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How To Create An eCommerce Checkout Experience That Boosts Conversions

Congratulations! You’ve finally been able to design and optimize a pre-purchase shopping experience that’s driving loads of customers to your cart checkout page. Your eCommerce checkout is where the money is and a great opportunity to collect valuable customer data. This is your make-it-or-break-it moment and you have just one job: To create an eCommerce checkout experience that induces customers to complete the purchase. 

The common eCommerce checkout flow looks like this: 

On many websites, this flow has some friction and distractions that ruin the customer experience and prevent them from completing the purchase. That’s why you need to be meticulous with its design so you don’t end up losing conversions.

With approximately 70% of shoppers abandoning their carts already and a 3.65% conversion rate on average, the goal here is to create a clear and seamless eCommerce checkout experience for shoppers that increases their chances of converting. So we have packed this guide with actionable tips to help you design and deliver a high-converting checkout page.

Why do customers abandon eCommerce checkout?

Before proceeding with your checkout design, it makes sense to take a step back and try to identify the possible reasons why a customer might abandon the purchase after filling up their cart. 

The truth is, not every customer who gets to the cart checkout page is ready to buy from you. Some probably just want to have a glimpse of what the total cost would be with shipping and taxes compared to another online store. Others might just be curious about the shipping timeline to see if it matches their expectations. However, some shoppers are ready to buy but may eventually abandon the checkout process for common reasons, including:

Source: Baymard Institute

  • Unexpected additional costs

48% of customers can abandon the cart checkout if they discover that they have to pay additional shipping costs, taxes, or any other extra fees. 

  • Complicated checkout experience

Online customers demand convenience, and if they have to complete too many unclear steps just to buy from you, 17% of them will more than likely exit the checkout and go elsewhere. 

  • Mandatory account setup

If shoppers have to create an account to be able to complete the purchase, it might prevent them from buying because they'll consider your process tasking and burdensome. This is why 24% of customers abandon their shopping carts.

  • A lack of multiple shipping options

Customers love to buy from retailers who offer choice and flexibility with shipping and fulfillment. Since their circumstances and needs are always changing, shoppers want multiple customized shipping methods. If you're not providing that, they'll leave. 

  • Technical issues

The best eCommerce checkout experience is fast and smooth without unnecessary lags and incessant crashes. Of course, some issues can pop up from time to time, but when customers experience frequent performance failure, crashes, and slow load times, at least 13% of them might just give up the entire eCommerce checkout process. 

  • Information security concerns

Customers understand that they have to give away sensitive information to get through checkout. Such information could be personal or involve their financial details. If your cart checkout page doesn't instill confidence in them, there's no stopping them from abandoning the checkout, as evidenced by the 18% of shoppers who do so already.

These are just a few of the many reasons why customers who want to buy from you could decide to abandon the checkout process, and most of these issues are fixable by making some changes in design. With that being said, it's time to learn how to design and deliver an eCommerce checkout experience that gets more of your customers to complete their purchases and boost conversions. 

Related: How to Design an Irresistible Website Product Page That Drives Sales

12 eCommerce checkout page best practices to delight customers and convert higher

In order to create a delightful experience for customers, many successful online stores are applying checkout page best practices to optimize and improve the flow. After much research, we have put together the best checkout flow ideas to replicate in your store and boost your conversion rate. Check them out below:

 1. Get rid of friction from the cart checkout flow

2. Be transparent about everything

3. Don’t force customers to create an account

4. Collect only the necessary information

5. Provide multiple payment methods

6. Introduce security features

7. Include customer support features

8. Guide customers with a progress indicator

9. Allow customers to sign up via social media

10. Save customer progress automatically

11. Display multiple shipping options on your eCommerce checkout page

12. Display accurate delivery date estimates on the checkout page

1. Get rid of friction from the cart checkout flow

The entire design of your eCommerce checkout process should be tailored towards removing distractions and reducing friction to the best extent possible. Keep in mind that shoppers only have an interest in important details such as the estimated delivery date (EDD), shipping costs, delivery options, total amount, etc. So create a minimalistic design that excludes distractors like pop-ups, different CTAs, a poorly-designed layout, and others.  

2. Be transparent about everything

Online shoppers avoid completing the checkout page transaction for different reasons, with 60% of customers citing extra costs as the most common, as evidenced by a Ready Cloud survey. Hidden additional costs will only increase your cart abandonment rate, so make sure you are transparent with all details at every point in the shopping flow so that you don't catch customers by surprise. Make everything clear from the get-go, from taxes and shipping fees to policies and other important information. Since customers want to see every cost ahead of time before being asked to pay, include a clear breakdown of the total fees on the checkout page showing every additional cost.  

3. Don’t force customers to create an account

Expect lower conversions if you don’t provide guest checkout to customers. Baymard Institute reveals that forcing customers to create an account before completing the checkout process will see around 30% of them exit your eCommerce checkout page. Customers dislike it when they have to go through too many steps because it contributes to shopping fatigue. They've already spent time navigating your website product pages and filled up their carts. Now, they just want to pay for the items and get on with their day. Don’t make it any harder for them. Instead, enable guest checkout to allow them to complete their purchase.

4. Collect only the necessary information

Streamline the eCommerce checkout process by collecting necessary information only. Most post-purchase, upsell, and cross-sell strategies today only require the customer’s email address. Where possible, collect customer emails early in the pre-purchase journey to reduce the number of additional steps required to complete the purchase and enhance convenience. Remember that shoppers are usually skeptical about releasing personal information due to security concerns, so stick to the essentials.

5. Provide multiple payment methods

Online shoppers who visit your eCommerce store come from diverse backgrounds and circumstances, so it makes sense to provide multiple payment methods because that’s what they expect. Equipped your online store with as many different payment options as possible, including Stripe, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, and other popular digital wallets to match their expectations.

6. Introduce security features

As earlier mentioned, shoppers have security concerns and are naturally skeptical about releasing their personal or financial information. You have to devise ways to bury their doubts and make them trust you. This is where security badges and seals come in. Display these features across the eCommerce checkout flow so that customers can easily build confidence in your system. Research proves that seeing badges and seals puts their worries to bed and motivates them to purchase.

7. Include customer support features

Being able to access customer support just before completing a purchase can be the one factor that helps a shopper get through checkout successfully. At some point in the eCommerce checkout process, a customer might require some sort of guidance and when they can't find it, they might just abandon the process altogether. So make sure to include support prompts like a live chat or call center feature on the checkout page so that customers can get quick assistance if they need it.

8. Guide customers with a progress indicator

When customers can have an overview of the number of steps they must get through to complete the purchase, it makes the checkout experience a lot more convenient. By providing a progress indicator, they can easily keep track of where they are so far and even click back to review any steps. The progress indicator is more like a map that gives the customer a sense of direction as they approach the end of the pre-purchase journey.  

9. Allow customers to sign up via social media

Social sign-in when enabled on your eCommerce store allows shoppers to create an account straight from their preferred social media account. It also enables them to recover a preexisting account easily without having to key in new information before completing the order. If you reduce the number of steps customers need to get through when buying from you, it saves them valuable time and encourages repeat buys in the future.

10. Save customer progress automatically

This should come in handy for customers who abandon their carts but later return to browse your store after some time. By auto-saving the items in the cart for them, they can save time and start the cart checkout process easily. This is good because customers who abandoned their carts have already done their research on the added items. Being able to return and just complete the process guarantees a delightful checkout experience rather than having to search for those products again. Auto-saving items in the cart also increase their chances of returning to finish the process.

11. Display multiple shipping options on your eCommerce checkout page

According to Retail Week research, around 70% of customers want retailers to offer flexible shipping options like free shipping, same-day, next-day, two-day shipping, BOPIS, etc. Having multiple options to pick from allows them to decide when and how they want their orders delivered. The best way to meet customer demand for flexibility and choice is to adopt a multi-carrier shipping strategy. Since different carriers offer varying rates across their shipping services, integrate carrier optimization software like FenixCommerce to help you scan between your negotiated carriers in real time. Fenix will then select and display only the best rates and services for any order on your checkout page, allowing customers to choose the best option for them as per their circumstances.

12. Display accurate delivery date estimates on the checkout page

ShipStation’s research highlights the simple fact that customers want total transparency with shipping timelines or they won’t complete the purchase. They want to know when the package will arrive beforehand. Your cart checkout page is the best place to address their delivery concerns. How? 

Discard the regular “delivers in 5-7 business days” promise and start displaying clear and accurate estimated delivery dates (EDD) on the checkout page. When customers see date-certain delivery promises for every shipping option during checkout, it eliminates any doubts that they might have and leads to more conversions.

Create a superior experience that converts every last customer

Creating a frictionless checkout flow devoid of distractions will see more customers complete their purchases. By learning how to plan and deliver a superior pre-purchase customer experience in eCommerce, from the product page to checkout, you can start to see increased conversions, reduced abandoned carts, and more repeat business.

FenixCommerce provides the expertise, platform, and tools you need to deliver a superior pre-purchase and post-purchase experience. Want to learn more about how Fenix can help optimize your eCommerce operations so you can match customer expectations? Speak to one of our customer experience experts here!

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