Growing any type of online business is challenging. You are probably competing with dozens, if not hundreds, of different businesses. So increasing your market share by getting more people to visit your site will always be an uphill battle.
There’s no excuse for failing to maximize your conversion rate once they are on your site. One of the best ways to directly increase profits is by focusing on your eCommerce checkout conversion rate. There’s a good reason for this. The average cart abandonment rate is 69.82%!
That figure gives you a sense of the scale of the problem. Take a look at the reasons customers abandon their carts.
You can see a range of reasons for shoppers to abandon their carts. Some of them result from well-meaning site features. For example, sign-ups may be an excellent metric to focus on, but they can impact sales. Here is a list of seven tips to improve your checkout rate and overcome these challenges.
1. Experiment with a one-page checkout
One survey by Invespcro found that 11% of carts were abandoned due to a complex checkout process. Having multiple pages to click through makes the process slow and frustrating.
When there are multiple pages for the checkout process, users may find too much is being asked. They have to provide unnecessary information to make a simple purchase. Around 12% of people in the same Invespcro survey abandoned their carts for this reason.
You can take various approaches to design a more streamlined checkout system.
There are different one-page checkout methods. Like the example above, some pages place everything in one visible space. Here, buyers can put all information on one page, view their cart, add any extras, coupons, or discounts, and generally do not need to navigate. The advantage is that it is incredibly simple. The disadvantage is that it may be a bit overwhelming to users.
Another method is to have an “accordion” structure. That’s where you have tabs for different sections which open up when clicked.
That lessens the amount of information on the page. Each step requires the user to enter information to proceed, reducing the chances of mistakes. However, there can be usability issues. You must implement it well to get good results.
Experiment with these approaches, and find what helps best. Look at the structure, the simplicity, and the general UX experience of the checkout. Focusing on the experience will help streamline the process in a user-friendly way. Whatever approach you use, a one-page checkout system can streamline the process and boost your checkout rate.
2. Emphasize free shipping, returns, and secure payment options
Surprise costs are the most significant reason people abandon their carts. Being clear from the start on the costs, and removing these hidden costs, will boost your checkout rate.
Free shipping is one way of removing surprise costs and making the offer seem more attractive. A UPS study found free shipping was important for 59% of shoppers in 2019. Furthermore, the more companies offer free shipping, the more critical it becomes.
A straightforward returns policy is also a must-have. Sites that have and advertise their free returns policy have higher checkout rates. The case study below from VWO nicely illustrates this point.
You can see the effects. One company, Cocohanee, decided to add their shipping and returns policy clearly when purchasing. You can see this above. That led to a 16% increase to their add-to-cart CTA. More importantly, it led to a 17% increase in revenue.
Security is also an essential aspect of e-shopping. People enter their valuable private payment information and want to know that it is safe. Including security trust badges can boost your checkout rates too.
Bonus tip: Offer a range of payment options.
People like to choose how they pay. There are many different methods—cards, PayPal, other platforms, etc. Forcing customers to use one method can cost sales, which is why you should provide a range of payment options.
3. Simplify your forms
If you want to improve your eCommerce checkout rate, you need to review your forms. You should only request essential information, for example, addresses, names, and payment information. People don’t like providing more than they need, making a lengthy buying process.
A lengthy buying process harms conversion rates. The graphic below nicely illustrates this point. You can see how just 83.90% of people who started to complete this form reached the third input field. That’s a pretty significant drop.
Asking for the minimum amount of information will help you boost those conversions. Keep in mind that it is illegal to demand unnecessary information during the checkout flow in the EU.
Autofill is a great way to speed up filling out forms. Chances are, the customer has entered their information on other sites. Using autofill speeds up the process and leads to a faster checkout rate.
4. Avoid the obligatory sign-up
Making buyers sign up for an account harms your checkout rate. 28% of customers reported it as the reason they abandoned their cart. Customers resent having to spend time making and verifying their accounts. Customers are also protective of their data and wary of spam.
Wanting registered users may be a reasonable goal. Yet, satisfying customers will be more conducive to sign-up. That means you need to focus on creating a positive buying journey.
There are various reasons people may want to sign up. Take a look at this graphic:
The top two reasons to sign up are for discounts and updates. Offer these in return for signing up. Display the benefits of signing up to users as they check out as guests.
Amazon, for example, allows for payment as a guest. But signing up has benefits. The user’s information is stored for a quicker checkout. Additionally, product recommendations are based on previous purchases. This information saves people time and makes the future buying experience better. It motivates people to sign up without interfering with the buying journey.
5. Improve the shopping cart experience
Improving the cart experience is another valuable tip to improve your checkout rate. There are various steps you can take to improve the experience. Providing membership to existing users is an obvious option.
Many sites, such as Amazon, AliExpress, and others, have a buy now option for members. That allows the customer to use their information to purchase without additional forms and steps. It removes apprehension and allows for efficient purchase.
Of course, you have to have the customers’ details to offer this.
Another way to improve the checkout experience is by showing the product has been added to the cart. That way, the customer knows the product is stored. You should provide the option to edit and review the cart too.
Customers do not want to return to the site, even after days, and find they have to enter the same buying information again. Log the information for the user to make the customer feel valued and remembered. Provide any discounts available to customers as well. Potential customers will feel that you are trying to provide the best value if you take these steps.
You can also add a chat widget to support your customers in case they have concerns.
6. Use retargeting to re-engage customers.
Those who have come to the site have been drawn to you for a reason. It is the result of efforts that cost you money. Just because a potential buyer has left the site doesn’t mean you can’t undertake efforts to get that checkout rate higher.
What you need to do is retarget. There are various strategies you can implement to try and get those leads back to the checkout page. The most commonly used approach is the cart abandonment email.
You send cart abandonment emails to people who added products to their cart and didn’t complete the checkout. With members, you can send emails based on user actions. I.e., you know they added content to the cart so that you can send them an email. With new leads, you can only send an email after the person inputs their email address on the checkout page.
It’s good practice to send a series of cart abandonment emails over several days. The first email can be sent as a reminder on the first day.
You can send an email where you offer extras like discounts or free shipping in subsequent emails. Consider using some email templates to help craft great messages.
Email marketing software can help you effectively engage with customers and potential customers and deliver emails that get good responses. They are often affordable and scalable to the size of your company.
You can also run retargeting ads to people who abandoned their shopping carts. The ad should remind them of what they nearly bought. Of course, you can only run ads if you can generate a return on ad spend. That’s harder to achieve, which is why fewer companies use paid retargeting.
7. Other strategies to test
We’ve covered a range of tips up to this point you can apply to improve your eCommerce checkout rate. Yet, there are plenty of other minor tweaks and changes you can make to boost your eCommerce conversion rate.
An obvious thing to try is reducing your page load time. You can check your page load speed using a tool like GTMetrix or Google PageSpeed Insights.
The tool provides a list of recommendations you can implement to improve load times on mobile and desktop. You might need a developer to implement some of the recommendations.
Trying to improve search rankings for keywords relevant to your product offerings can also boost conversion rates. You will need to optimize your product pages and create guest posts that will provide value to your readers.
The blog will help you build those backlinks you need to help your content rank. You can use a backlink analysis tool to keep a track of your performance and improve your content marketing campaigns.
The final tip for improving your cart abandonment rate is probably the most complex. It involves reducing your shipping time. Reducing shipping times is becoming an increasingly important differential. Major companies like Amazon and Alibaba are trying to do everything possible to deliver products to consumers in the minimum amount of time.
We gave some essential methods to increase your checkout rate. There are other methods, like using analytics or notifications, but this is a solid start.
The main things to remember are to:
- Streamline the process by making checkout one page
- Abandon mandatory registration
- Make it safe, clear, and easy for users
- Reward the customer for using the service
- Offer and advertise free shipping and returns
- Use retargeting
- Test and tweak
You don’t necessarily have to exert a lot of effort to do these things. The rewards are significant, so every online retailer should consider focusing on them.
About The Author
Daryl Bush is the Business Development Manager at Authority.Builders. The company helps businesses acquire more customers through improved online search rankings. He has extensive knowledge of SEO and business development.