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January 24, 2022
With all the important elements on your ecommerce website, it can sometimes be easy to overlook the checkout experience. But once a customer has decided to buy, you must get out of their way and let them purchase.
A faster checkout means less friction stopping your potential customer from making a purchase. The more quickly a customer can checkout, the more likely you are to get the sale, increasing conversion rates and providing more revenue to your business. When you consider that nearly 7 in 10 ecommerce carts are abandoned, it becomes critical to converting as many prospective customers as possible.
Below, we’ll provide a few tips on how to improve your checkout experience by making it faster and more seamless.
Some inexperienced ecommerce store owners make the mistake of trying to grab every last bit of information they can from customers, with the intention of marketing to them in the future. While most ecommerce shoppers will be okay with email marketing at a reasonable frequency, excessively long checkout forms with too many fields are universally disliked.
One study found that by reducing the number of form fields from 11 to 4, conversions increased by 120%. During your checkout experience, remember to ask for the bare minimum needed from your customer to process the order. Don’t worry about losing out on marketing data: There will be plenty of time to get to know them later, using post-sale tools like emails and surveys. Minimizing fields and forms will speed up your checkout in a way that increases customer satisfaction.
One of the most time-consuming elements of an ecommerce checkout is entering billing and shipping. This is especially frustrating for customers when it happens with an ecommerce store they shop at frequently.
That’s why many of the most successful online stores provide users with the option to pre-load their customer information, usually by creating an account. This way, a customer only has to enter details like their shipping address and email one time. A step like this can make the checkout process significantly faster.
One obstacle that’s guaranteed to hold up the checkout process is a store not accepting a customer’s desired method of payment. If they don’t have a backup in place, it could lead to their cart being abandoned immediately.
Most ecommerce stores will accept the standard credit and debit cards like Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. But Shopify now also allows alternative methods like mobile payments through popular programs including Apple Pay and Google Pay. Even before 2020, mobile payments were on the rise. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated that growth; however, reports show that mobile payments increased 29% in 2020 alone. By 2025, half of all smartphone users are expected to use mobile payments.
This is just one example, and not everyone’s business is well-suited for mobile payments. The broader point is to look into accepting as many payments as you can to make checkout faster for more customers.
Have you ever tried using your phone to submit a form on a page that wasn’t optimized for mobile? It’s quite frustrating – lots of pinching, zooming, and tapping for not much progress! This is particularly true when you’re trying to buy something.
Don’t make your customers deal with this kind of challenge. Make sure your site loads properly on all types of tablets and phones so that people can make a purchase from you no matter what type of device they’re using. It’s easier than ever before to design a responsive (mobile-friendly) theme, and since most Shopify themes come with standard support for mobile devices, there’s really no excuse for your ecommerce store to have a poor mobile experience – particularly when mobile commerce is now a market worth over $3.5 trillion, an increase of 3.5 times since just 2016.
One of the big reasons people hesitate to make a purchase online is a lack of trust in the company they’re doing business with. Despite how long ecommerce has been around, some customers still generally distrust the idea of entering sensitive information into a form on the internet. This is especially true for small independent sites that don’t have the brand recognition of an ecommerce giant like Amazon or Wal-Mart.
Trust indicators – sometimes called trust signals – are elements on your checkout page that help build trust with potential customers. The most common forms are badges and testimonials. Trust badges typically look like icons or logos representing your payment processor, a third-party agency, or an encryption method used on your site. Whatever kind of badge you use, it’s designed to show people on your site that you are backed or endorsed by another institution more recognizable than your own brand.
What does shipping cost have to do with a fast checkout experience? Believe it or not, shipping costs might be the biggest barrier to a smooth checkout that turns into a sale for your business. According to data published by Shopify, almost half of all people who abandon their ecommerce carts do so because of unexpected shipping costs.
Shipping isn’t really free, of course. As we’ve suggested previously, our experience shows it’s best to simply build your shipping costs into the final selling price of your item. This way, people understand the amount they are going to pay before they reach the checkout page, instead of having a surprise shipping cost sprung on them right before they’re ready to complete their order.
Another strategy to reduce friction around shipping costs is to offer free shipping above a certain order threshold. For example, you might offer free shipping on all orders of at least $75. Again, the key is making sure people know about as much of their order costs as possible upfront.
The words on your website are the only way people have to communicate with you while they are making a purchase. Sure, they might be able to email you or initiate a live chat if your site supports that functionality, but neither of those methods provides an immediate understanding of your store like your web copy.
Accordingly, make sure your writing is as clear and comprehensible as possible. Use the fewest number of words to get your point across. Whenever possible, try to stay away from jargon or complicated industry terms, unless it’s necessary to describe what you’re selling. If you do sell highly technical products, consider creating a glossary or other index of terms so that people new to the field can still understand what’s in your store.
After putting careful thought into your website layout, product photos, navigation menus, and images, it may seem like the checkout process is an afterthought. But savvy ecommerce store owners know that the quality of a shop’s checkout process has a huge impact on the bottom line.
Incorporating some of these tips will help ensure that your customers have a quick and smooth checkout experience that lets them easily buy what they want. As you continue to optimize your checkout over time, you’ll find customers are drawn back to your store again and again because you make it easy for them to have a positive ecommerce experience.