10 Tips to Upgrade your Online Store Checkout Process

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10 Tips to Upgrade your Online Store Checkout Process

Have you ever visited a local shop or a fancy boutique, looked at the item you might want to buy, scanned the price tag under the surveillance of a sales assistant only to excuse yourself and say that you’ll be right back or buy it the next day. You never returned though and that left you with a sense of some ungrounded guilt before a salesperson whom you might never see again.

Online shoppers do that all the time (except the guilt part) and they have their reasons for that. They visit online stores, go through the catalog to find trending products, read buyer reviews and compare prices at different stores. For some successful retailers, this journey of an online shopper happily ends with checkout and some cash deduced from the buyer’s account. The picture is not always so optimistic though.

According to the Baymard Institute’s study on abandonment statistics for e-commerce, the average cart abandonment rate for 2018 was a whopping 75,6%. That means more than half of e-commerce visitors never turned into buying clients leaving their shopping experience incomplete. Here is an infographic illustrating the cart abandonment rates for 2018 by industries, such as retail, fashion, travel, non-profit and finance:

Once you have established an e-commerce it can be assumed that you have invested a good portion of time and money to create your online store, done loads and loads of market research, optimized the search engines to be found on the first pages of Google or Bing, hired some of the best digital marketing specialists to make sure your products or services are selling wildly. You are finally seeing the first fruits of your hard work in the form of high visitor rate. The last thing you can afford at this stage is to see those hard-earned visitors leaving your website empty-handed.

The reasons for such incomplete shopping experiences are numerous: bad reviews from previously unsatisfied buyers, unjustified high prices, complicated and user-unfriendly interface, low-quality product to name just a few. A recent quantitative study on checkout usability conducted by Baymard Institute suggests 58,6% of online shoppers haven’t gone through checkout saying they were just browsing and were not ready to buy. However, if we take away this segment of those just browsing, we get the following distribution for other reasons to abandon a cart:

Most of the reasons illustrated above involve major or minor issues with checkout process most of which can be eliminated with some effort that is definitely worth it. Let’s go through a list of hints to help you make the checkout process a pleasure for your customers.

1. Make it simple

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”, that’s one thing Leonardo da Vinci was convinced of. And the good news is, it works in every sphere you can think of. Parting with your money is never a particularly pleasant thing to do, so make sure your customer goes through a few steps as possible when paying for a product that has already landed in his or her cart. A good rule of thumb here is to make it so simple that your toddler or your grandma could make a purchase without much trouble. Amazon, for instance, has added the one-click ordering button to make the buying process dead-easy for its customers.

This simplicity has its dark sides though. According to The Atlantic Amazon had to return more than $70 million for in-app purchases made by kids without their parents’ consent between November 2011 and May 2016.

2. Improve your forms

Let’s assume you have done your due diligence to get a potential buyer to visit your online store. He or she has gone through a long and tiresome process of choosing the best of what is out there. The last thing now your client wants to see is a clumsy form with a lot of scrolling to be done and fields to be filled in. Avoid asking for more information than it is necessary to get the payment done. Keep it as minimalistic as you possibly can and your customers will love it.

3. Add multiple payment options

The second best thing after simplicity that customers love is a choice. Add at least three payment options for your clients to choose from. Considering the unlimited opportunities that e-commerce offers for shopping from any location, it is imperative to give your customers a few payment methods for them to choose the one that best meets their needs. Depending on the type of your industry it might be a good idea to consider cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, along with traditional cash to stay competitive in the ever-growing age of digital opportunities.

4. Add discount code box

Offering high-quality products or services at a reasonable price is one thing. Making your customer feel privileged to get a special offer is another. According to data collected and analyzed by invespro.com around 62% of online women, shoppers pay attention to discounts and promotions as compared to 57% of online men shoppers.

  • 54% of shoppers will purchase products left in shopping carts if those products are offered at a price lower than its original.
  • Nearly two-thirds of consumers surveyed admitted that a promotion or a coupon often close the deal if they are wavering or are undecided on making a purchase.
  • 30.6% of female internet users often use discounts and coupons for day-to-day shopping, including digital shopping and dining at restaurants, compared to 16.8% of males.
  • More than 70% of US internet users claim discounts have the biggest effect on purchase decisions during the holidays.
  • 83% of respondents said they were “somewhat likely” or “very likely” to click an ad offering a discount or promotion.

Hopefully, all these data should be more than enough to urge you to add a discount code box to your website.

5. Guest checkout option

Everybody of you has probably experienced the laziness to create an account for purchase once in a life. Having this point in their mind, online retailers have simplified the checkout process adding a guest checkout option. It’s a handy solution for lazy people and for those who are in a hurry. Additionally, it enables shoppers to avoid the common barrier of entering so much information about them.

SaleCycle survey has found out that almost 23% of customers have abandoned their carts because of checkout process requiring a lot of information and time. Implementing a guest checkout option, the retailers give the shoppers the chance to move forward with their purchase just entering their email address.

From the other side, registration has its advantages as well, since the customers are not obliged to enter their email during repeat purchases. So, keep the registration offer always visible to customers, after they complete a purchase with guest checkout option.

The example presented below is from John Lewis. It offers a simplified checkout process with either entering your email address and creating an account later or using the existing account details.

In short, with the help of guest checkout option, online shoppers avoid the barrier of fulfilling a lot of information and enjoy their purchase.

6. Provide social sign in

Another useful tip to upgrade your online store is providing social login while checkout. Human brain structure allows the user to remember only a few of the set passwords, and the lucky ones are usually social networks. Hence, adding a social sign-in button at the checkout page, you will totally simplify the checkout process.

As far as the majority of social network users are logged in, it’s a matter of seconds to verify their identity and smoothly pass to the final step of payment. As a result, you gain registered customers who are not obliged to fill in any information.

7. Optimize for mobile

Having so many consumers armed with smartphones out there, mobile optimization is a must-to-have option for online stores. It’s estimated by Mobile Payments World, that the number of mobile shoppers will consist of 56% of the consumer population in 2020.
It’s not surprising that this number is on its rise, but online retailers have a lot to fix.

Sometimes, mobile users face many obstacles while checkout process which is not a welcomed fact for an online store. Let’s see a few common errors that mobile shoppers will never accept with cheers:

  • Hard-to-tap crucial buttons
  • Outdated checkout forms
  • Horribly slow checkout
  • Unfocused checkout CTA

Consequently, fixing these sort of common mistakes you will optimize your online store for mobile improving customer satisfaction.

8. Show the final price before checkout

One of the most hated things on e-commerce is hidden prices. People will never feel trust and loyalty to a website that unexpectedly changes the total price of purchase during the last step. So, you had better show the final price before checkout and avoid negative customer feedback.

Moreover, showing the total amount of order to the customer before clicking the payment button, the chances are higher that they will go back and add something else in the cart. Lacking a transparent and clear pricing policy you will cause confusion for potential customers.

9. Recommend relevant products in the checkout page

Checkout is a great chance to recommend relevant products to customers. There is a widespread opinion that customers are in euphoria during checkout which opens a perfect opportunity to upsell to the customer. So, using this fruitful state of mind of the customer, you can convince them to buy more. Adding a well-thought discount to it, you will obtain customers ready to buy more.

Furthermore, you can reward your customers at this stage with those really cheap products or promotions that you have currently. A polite and customer-friendly checkout process is the guarantee of higher conversion rates and returning customers.
From the other side, be cautious not to overdo with upselling, as your main goal at the checkout process is having an order made not losing customers in vain.

10. Optimize errors and fix them

And finally, here comes the error optimization stage. There are some remote testing tools, which are not expensive and will enable you to detect and fix any error related to the checkout process. Moreover, there is even a completely free option of asking friends and family to try out the website and tell about possible bugs and malfunctions.

Another helping and free tool is Google Analytics. It will allow you to identify the troublesome area throughout checkout. An increased number of users dropping out during the checkout is a signal that there is an issue that should be fixed.

All this is about fixing any possible bugs and problems that can prevent the customer from buying. Thus, fixing similar issues you will scale your online store to another level and will improve conversion rates of your website.


Taking streamlined actions according to these tips you will increasingly change the checkout process of your online store.

Any customer will leave your store happy and satisfied if they meet a simple-to-navigate website with multiple payment options, discounts, and promotions. Keeping mobile users in mind and making the checkout process easy for them is also essential.

And it goes without saying that recommendation engines will play their crucial role as well. All of us enjoy an individual approach, be it online or in the brick and mortar store. With the use of even the simplest recommender engine, you will show your customers that you care about their needs and wants.
Thanks to these tips you will change the whole landscape of your website improving conversion rates and generating more sales.

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    Sobre o Autor:

    Fundador e diretor de negócios da SmartHint, também é diretor regional Paraná da ABComm, com mais de 10 anos de experiência em comércio eletrônico para grandes marcas dos mais variados segmentos.