Your online store’s checkout process can make or break your ecommerce business.
For shoppers, it indicates the experience your store can provide. If your checkout process aggravates them or doesn’t fulfill their needs, they might develop a negative perception of your business and buy from elsewhere.
The good news is there are several ways you can optimize the checkout process to gain more customers and more conversions. Check out the eight tips we’ve shared to get shoppers over the finish line.
What is checkout process optimization?
Checkout process optimization is a strategy an online retailer uses to improve their conversion rate. The aim is to reduce friction and instill trust in the checkout flow, encouraging more shoppers to complete a purchase (and not abandon their cart).
Why is checkout process optimization important?
Your online store’s default checkout process likely isn’t optimized to offer the best experience. Research Institute Baymard reveals that the average cart abandonment rate for ecommerce stores is 69.8%, indicating that online retailers have a lot of work to do on the checkout front in order to drive more purchases.
Checkout optimization can provide several benefits to a merchant. Ecommerce merchants who optimize their checkout see fewer abandoned carts, considering 17% of shoppers don’t complete their purchase when the checkout process is too complicated.
Plus, the strategy can also increase average order value (AOV)—retailers can use tactics like upselling and cross-selling through the checkout flow to encourage customers to spend more, bringing in more revenue.
8 checkout process optimization tips for ecommerce stores
1. Showcase the final price
Unexpected costs are one of the most common reasons why people leave during the checkout process. And it makes sense: they’re excited to buy a product, but then they’re hit with unwanted fees they didn’t expect.
That’s why it’s crucial to share a breakdown of the final price—including the retail price, shipping fee, taxes, and even the price after discounts—as clearly as possible.
Take it from Partake Foods, an online retailer that clearly displays what it would cost the customer to receive its products:
2. Allow guest checkout
Many ecommerce stores force customers to create an account before allowing them to complete a purchase. Don’t be that store! Allow customers to log in with Facebook, Google, or Instagram and buy without hassle.
Take inspiration from Anthropologie, an online clothing retailer that allows customers to log in but doesn’t force any shopper to create an account before purchasing.
While having customer information in an online account makes the checkout process faster for future purchases, asking shoppers to create an account causes 24% to leave without purchasing. Offering guest checkout is an easy way to retain and convert those shoppers.
You can enable guest checkout through the Settings menu in your Shopify admin.
3. Provide multiple payment options
Distinct customers have different payment methods that they favor. So as an ecommerce store, you should offer as many relevant payment options as possible to capture a large portion of your target audience.
Although you won’t be able to accommodate every single payment method, you’ll be able to serve the majority of customers by offering:
- Credit or debit cards
- Digital wallets, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay
- Shopping apps, such as PayPal and Shop Pay
- Buy now, pay later
Shopify lets you offer these payment options and more. Offering a wide range of payment options is a proven way to drive conversions with shoppers—including the 42% who ditch their cart if the merchant doesn’t offer their preferred payment method.
4. Offer live chat support
As shoppers go through your checkout process, they may have questions about their next purchase.
Live chat is a great way to uncover and address those objections in the checkout flow. You can use live chat to give potential shoppers immediate answers, which should prevent them from exiting the flow.
Fretting over information overload? Answer FAQs via a chatbot on your checkout page. Some 70% of shoppers rely on these conversational tools to communicate with brands, with 41% using chatbots to make a purchase.
SuitShop, for instance, gives shoppers real-time responses to shipping, size, and return-related questions.
This relieves pressure on customer support while giving shoppers less time to debate about whether or not they should purchase.
5. Use security badges
Establishing your checkout as secure is key to conversions, especially for first-time customers.
Think about it: checkout is when you ask customers to provide and disclose sensitive information, such as credit card details. Ensuring they feel comfortable entrusting you with their information is how you win the sale.
To reinforce why an online shopper should trust you, display security badges through the checkout process. You can highlight:
- Antivirus software logos
- Payment badges
- SSL certificates
- Customer reviews
- Money-back guarantees
Shopify has a lot of apps you can use to source security badges. I personally like Free Trust Badge by ShopClimb, which offers a variety of badges and even lets you customize their location with its drag-and-drop editor.
6. Create FOMO and urgency
Your checkout page is the perfect place to include psychological triggers that generate a “fear of missing out.” Some ideas include:
- Displaying a low-stock message for items selling out fast
- Offering a free voucher with an expiration date to new customers
- Providing a limited-time discount with free shipping
You can also add a timer on your checkout page. Let shoppers know they can only reserve a product or avail a special offer until the timer has run out.
Luxy Hair uses this tactic to create a sense of urgency on its checkout page:
Want to go a step further? Use a social proof app to show how many others have bought the product the shopper has added to their cart. This should end any debate about whether or not to buy that item.
7. Offer 1-click checkout
Although experts will argue on what exactly affects the checkout conversion rate, there’s one thing most can agree on: when it comes to checkout steps, less is more.
It makes sense because abandoned carts are often due to shoppers rethinking their purchases from having to fill out too much information.
1-click checkout streamlines the checkout experience by letting customers save their details, then auto-filling them upon their next visit. Details such as name, email, and shipping address can be stored via 1-click checkout.
S’Wheat, for instance, offers 1-click checkout on its ecommerce site via Shop Pay:
When you click the cart button on its online store, your details will be already filled in, meaning there’s just one button for you to click to complete your order.
Shopify merchants can offer 1-click checkout through Shop Pay, an accelerated checkout that lets customers save their personal information for quicker shopping. According to Shopify, Shop Pay checkouts drive 1.72 times more conversions than regular checkouts by letting customers buy with one tap.
8. Upsell and cross-sell
Optimizing the checkout flow doesn’t just mean preventing cart abandonment. It also means increasing revenue with tactics like upselling and cross-selling.
Upselling is when you sell a higher-priced product similar to the one a customer has put in their cart. If your brand sells carry-ons, for instance, you can upsell the more expandable versions to increase your average order value.
Cross-selling, in contrast, promotes an item that complements the one already in a shopper’s cart. The Sill, for example, uses a sidebar in the checkout window to promote additional tools for its plants—the “Don’t forget these!” heading helps customers realize they need these products to get more out of their purchase.
Simplify and streamline your checkout flow
A smooth checkout process can increase sales for your ecommerce business and reduce cart abandonment rates.
For customers, the checkout is the moment of truth: they have already spent time looking through your store, choosing products, picking sizes, and more, and they now want to complete the purchase.
Follow the tips above to make it easy for them, and they’ll reciprocate by increasing your average order value and profits.