6 Elements of a High-Converting Checkout Process


checkout process conversion optimization

Did you know that about 75% of online shopping carts are abandoned before purchase? By optimally designing your checkout process, you can not only recover those lost dollars but also build customer loyalty and drive repeat business.

 

In this article, we’ll look at 6 important design strategies that will help you improve the conversion rate of your checkout process:

 

1. Design a one-page checkout process

According to a study by the Baymard Institute, 27% of people abandoned their shopping carts simply because they found the checkout process to be too long or complicated. This is a more common problem for mobile users.

 

On the other hand, a one-page checkout requires customers to complete the purchasing process in one place and provides a breezy customer experience. Here are the main advantages of designing a single-page checkout. It:

  • Looks shorter and encourages shoppers, who are short on time, to quickly complete the purchase
  • Reduces drop-offs by eliminating the loading times from one page to the next
  • Requires fewer clicks, leading to higher sales. Ideally, your checkout process should not require more than 5 clicks to make a purchase.

 

Many big e-commerce sites like Amazon and Nordstrom have a one-page checkout to make things easy for their customers and provide a better shopping experience. It also allows users to verify all their inputs such as billing address, order, and other details, in one place.

one page checkout example

One-page checkout example

 

Source: IWD Agency

 

Here are a few tips to help you design a one-page checkout:

  • Place customer details like Name & Address on the left side
  • Include the option to use billing address as your shipping address
  • Display the order summary on the right-side
  • Show payment methods
  • Display a clear call-to-action such as ‘Place Order’ at multiple prominent locations, such as below the order summary.

 

2. Optimize your checkout process for mobile devices

By the end of 2017, mobile commerce is projected to overtake desktop and hit $700 billion, more than 300% growth over past four years. However, cart abandonment is much higher on mobile, with more 84% of shoppers leaving checkout without completing the purchase.

 

It can be annoying for users when they’re unable to tap a link, button or a menu without hitting the wrong place, because they’re too small or located too close to each other. Tiny or tightly-packed buttons can make it really difficult for mobile users to tap the right option correctly, spoiling their user experience.

 

Here are 5 design tips to optimize your checkout for mobile:

  • Make tap targets such as buttons and links larger and more visible. In fact, Google has even provided a detailed guide about sizing your tap target to provide the best experience.
  • Reduce images to speed up your mobile site/app. Even if you need to display images, scale them to the right size, instead of using high-resolution pics
  • Align forms vertically to make them easy to navigate
  • Eliminate distracting elements such as ads, popups and reduce exit points to keep your shoppers focused on the checkout
  • Evaluate easier payment options like Apple Pay, which allow users to pay with their thumbprint.

 

Here’s an example of how Dribbble does it

dribble mobile checkout form

Easy to fill mobile checkout forms

 

Source: Dribble

 

3. Offer the option to Pay with PayPal

Although credit cards are the most popular mode of payment, a lot of customers pay only using PayPal. In fact, in 2016 alone, Paypal has handled transactions worth $6.1 billion from its 197 million users. Being available in more than 200 countries, PayPal makes it easy to accept payments from overseas users.

 

The main advantage of using PayPal is that users don’t need to enter their credit card information to complete a purchase, making your checkout easy and secure. Also, the user is taken to PayPal’s secure site to make payment, which only increases your site’s credibility.

 

Major retailers like Macy’s offer PayPal as a payment option. In fact, they show it right at the beginning of their checkout process, allowing users to review all the available options even before starting the checkout.

 

multiple payment options

Multiple payment options

 

Source: Optimonk.com

 

Quick tip about international payments:

If you’re selling overseas, then ensure that you localize your international checkout. For example, UK buyers pay in Pounds while Germans pay in Euros. Britons prefer to pay by credit cards, debit cards and Paypal whereas Germans prefer to pay by invoice.

 

Buyers from different countries have different expectations & preferences about their checkout process. If you don’t provide the payment option that your shoppers are familiar with, you might drive them away. If they don’t see the price in their currency, they might conclude that your service is not available in their country, or that your prices are not accurate.

 

4. Ask for only the required information

Every extra field that you add to your checkout forms has the potential to bring down your conversion rates. People hate filling out information that’s not required to make the purchase.

 

In fact, according to ZDNet, an Expedia VP told the SAS Business Leadership conference that they were able to increase their profits by $12 million by simply deleting a single field ‘company name’ from their checkout form.

 

In your checkout form, include only those elements that you absolutely need to complete the purchase and make delivery. Don’t ask for extraneous information. It will only discourage users from completing the transaction.

 

If you absolutely need to ask an extra field like phone number, ensure that you provide an appropriate explanation about why you need it and how it will be used.

 

Although, to increase conversion, you should ideally limit your checkout forms to 12 elements, you’ll be surprised to know that most checkout forms in United States have an average of 23.88 elements.

 

Evaluate each form element critically, and remove the ones you don’t need such as :

  • Title
  • Address Line 2
  • Middle Name
  • Initial

 

Also, explore the option of using Google Autofill. A large number of people use Chrome or Android to shop online, and their personal details are, most likely, already saved on Google. Google Autofill allows people to enter required information without actually typing it every time. It will also take your website closer to the 1-click checkout model leveraged by Amazon.

 

Google’s Autofill helps customers quickly complete checkout

google mobile autofill

Source : Google

 

Typing on mobile devices is a time-consuming and error-prone task, which can frustrate your users and cause them to drop-off. The autocomplete feature automatically enters form details that users have previously entered, making it easy for online shoppers to quickly enter the required information without making any mistakes.

 

5. Offer guest checkout

Many online shoppers don’t like the idea of having to create an account on your website, especially if they’re buying from you for the first time or if there’s just 1-2 small items in their shopping cart. In fact, did you know that 25% of users will abandon their cart if forced to do so?

 

Instead, offer the option to checkout as a guest, without creating an account. Even large brands like Target and TOMS allow guest checkout.

 

Guest checkout option for new customers

guest checkout

source:TOMS

 

When the customer clicks the option for guest checkout, immediately take them to your one-page checkout. Once they complete the purchase, offer them the option to save their details for a faster checkout in future. However, don’t force them to create an account. This will improve the chances of your customers saving their details on your website, for a better shopping experience.

 

6. Highlight security features during checkout

Shoppers also abandon their carts due to security concerns, especially if you’re a new business. If your checkout page doesn’t have the trust indicators present on the sites of major retailers, then your customers may choose to buy from your competitor instead.

 

Ensure that you display security badges such as Verisign or Norton logo on your checkout page. This will indicate that your site is reliable and secure. In fact, according to Shopify, 61% of customers abandoned their carts because they didn’t have trust logos, and 75% of consumers did so because they didn’t recognize the trust logos.

 

trust logos during checkout

Trust logos displayed during checkout

 

Source: Instapage

 

On the other hand, according to a study by Baymard Institute, among the trust logos, 36.5% of surveyed customers trust the Norton Verisign badge. Also, BlueFountain Media found a 42% increase in conversion after using the Verisign badge.

 

If you have a multi-step checkout process, then you should display trust signals at each step, to indicate that all the user information is safe and ensure that your customers proceed to the next step.

 

Display these trust badges on your checkout page to instill a sense of trust and confidence, which will encourage customers to complete the transaction.

 

Wrapping it up

Improving your checkout process has a direct impact on your bottom line, and should be high on your list of website design improvements. By optimizing your checkout process, offering multiple payment options and displaying trust badges at the right places, you can not only reduce your cart abandonment rate but also boost conversion.

About Sreeram Sreenivasan

Sreeram Sreenivasan has worked with various Fortune 500 Companies in areas of Business Growth, Sales & Marketing Strategy. He’s the Founder of Ubiq BI, a cloud-based BI Platform for SMBs & Enterprises.