When it comes to customer acquisition in ecommerce, checkout pages are the great equalizer. No matter how incredible your products are – if your checkout process isn't as fast and convenient as it possibly could be, your cart abandonment rates will be unnecessarily high. It’s a pervasive issue that even big sites have to deal with. Fortunately, any changes you can make to bolster your checkout's functionality (even small ones) will pay dividends over the long term. In this post, we'll cover some of the most effective changes you can make to your checkout pages to reduce cart abandonment.
Cluttering your checkout with multiple pop-ups, pages, and hyperlinks distracts customers from actually completing the process. While its fine to have pages on your site with more than one call-to-action, the checkout should only focus on checking out. If possible, condense the checkout into a single page that is structured to clearly guide shoppers through the process of finalizing their order. Save other CTAs for the "Thank You" page instead. If your checkout process must be more than one page, adding a simple progress indicator to the top of each page can proactively address a customer’s frustrations with a longer or more complex checkout.
Many ecommerce sites notice an increase in abandonment rates among customers who start the checkout process and see the cost of their order change – especially if it has increased because of shipping, taxes, and other necessary charges. To keep these "surprise" fees from eroding the trust of would-be customers, include an estimate of the total/final cost as early as possible in the checkout process.
Convenient payment options
Collecting payment info is usually the most tedious part of the checkout process – especially for mobile users who are likely trying to tap in 16 digits with only one thumb. Alternative payment options like Google Wallet, PayPal, and Apple Pay are designed to securely store users’ information and drastically speed up the checkout process by autofilling all the necessary payment fields. Additionally, the more payment options you can accept, the more customers you can serve.
There are several reasons why shoppers choose to abandon carts. But in most cases, the reason boils down to checkout pages with poorly designed user experiences. In a behavioral survey of 1,300 online shoppers conducted by ecommerce technology company, Namogoo, 75% cited the importance of an "easy checkout process" for a desirable shopping experience. According to the survey, the following UX issues had the greatest influence on cart abandonment rates. Are you addressing these on your ecommerce site?
More than half of those surveyed (63% of mobile and 53% of desktop users) said that excessive or repetitive form fields at the checkout stage were the most frustrating part of shopping online. With this in mind, think about ways you can streamline the process of submitting information during checkout. For example: incorporating autofill features into your delivery/billing address forms. Or if your ecommerce site requires account creation to complete a purchase, consider alternatives like Guest Checkout or social media login functionality.
If your checkout process loads too slowly or crashes, that’s definitely going to cost you sales. Make sure to test your site's checkout thoroughly by accounting for as many user actions as possible, like using the browser’s back button (in the above mentioned survey, 36% of mobile shoppers abandoned their carts when the back button didn't work as intended, requiring them to re-enter all of their purchase confirmation information). Additionally, look for ways to proactively help users avoid checkout errors. For example, you can automate error messages so they appear dynamically as each form field is filled out, rather than after the user attempts to submit the info.
Distractions and Clutter
Shoppers are more likely to abandon their carts if any of the steps for finalizing the purchase are unclear. The Namogoo survey found that 46% of users consider website navigation to be a deciding factor for whether to purchase from that site. Similarly, 29% of users said that pop-ups and interstitials on the checkout page distracted them from completing their purchases and negatively affected their perception of the website. Keep the checkout flow as clean as possible by saving non-checkout CTAs (e.g. "Sign up for our Newsletter" or "Other products you may like") for the "Thank You" page, and adding features that help users progress with checkout rather than pause it – for example, adding options to change the quantity, color, size, and other attributes of the items in their order without having to leave checkout.
From the perspective of customers, the checkout process is the most tedious part of shopping online. With that mindset, it's no wonder that many ecommerce sites struggle with cart abandonment.
The less time and actions your checkout requires, the more likely users will be to complete their orders. While looking for ways to streamline the design of your cart and checkout pages can be very effective in this regard, there are other strategies you can deploy to improve your checkout process to make it more convenient for customers, such as:
Alternatives to account creation
If your ecommerce site requires account creation to complete a purchase, you may want to consider alternatives like Guest Checkout and/or social media login functionality. While account creation helps you collect information about your customer base, the process adds more steps to what should be the simplest part of your ecommerce site.
More convenient payment options
Alternative payment options are designed to shorten the checkout process by eliminating the multiple form fields required for credit card payments. Additionally, the more payment options you can accept, the more customers you can serve. However, there are many systems to choose from – so consider surveying your customers to find out which alternative payment options are most popular for your target audience.
Autofill form fields (even for coupons)
By streamlining the process of inputting information, you can speed up your checkout while demanding less effort from your customers. Incorporating autofill features into your forms accomplishes this while also reducing the amount of errors that come from manual user input. By autofilling the coupon field with your latest promotion, you instantly show customers your best deal so they don't have to shop around – perhaps the most common motivation for abandoning the cart.
In ecommerce, abandonment rate refers to the difference between the number of initiated transactions and completed transactions. For example, if you had 100 users reach your site's checkout page, but only 30 finalized their orders, you'd have an abandonment rate of 70%. The majority of lost sales in ecommerce can be traced back to cart abandonment. The abandonment rate for individual e-tailers varies, but averages to about 69%.
There are several reasons why a shopper abandons a cart. Aside from all the users who are just window shopping or researching products (which you can't really control), most carts are abandoned due things like:
- Complicated checkout process
- Multiple steps and loading screens
- Info collection forms that are too lengthy or numerous
- No option for guest checkout
- New information
- Prices that aren't revealed until checkout, like taxes or shipping costs
- Inflexible return policy
- Inconvenient delivery timing
- Limited payment options
- Privacy or security concerns
As you can see, most causes of cart abandonment boil down to simplicity and convenience. Fortunately, there are many features and preventative measures you can implement to reduce abandonment rates and improve your customers' experience.
Speed and convenience are the hallmarks of ecommerce. But all too often, these are not reflected in checkout - causing almost 70% of shoppers to abandon their carts at the checkout stage. Any change (however small) that you can make to improve the speed and/or convenience of your checkout guarantees a positive impact on your cart abandonment rates. In this post, we'll go over some easy-to-implement changes to make your checkout process more appealing to customers.
Trim the fat
Part of why cart abandonment rates are so high in the ecommerce industry is because, from the customer's perspective, the checkout process is the worst part of shopping online. Filling in forms, creating an account, seeing the bill – surely we can all agree that it's more fun to fill a shopping cart than empty it. From the user’s perspective, the less time and effort they have to spend in the checkout, the better. With this in mind, try to have as few form fields as possible. If your ecommerce site requires account creation to complete a purchase, you may want to consider adding Guest Checkout functionality.
Add more payment options
Alternative payment options, like Google Wallet, PayPal, and Amazon Payments, are designed to securely store users’ information and drastically speed up the checkout process by eliminating the multiple form fields associated with credit card payments. Additionally, the more payment options you can accept, the more customers you can cater to.
When all else fails, you can use remarketing to get shoppers to come back to the cart they've abandoned. Whenever returning customers abandon the shopping cart, you can send out a personalized email asking them if they’d like to complete the purchase or get assistance from your customer service team. You can apply the same strategy to new customers if they've given you their email via any of the sign up incentives you have on your site. You can also use retargeted paid advertising strategies to funnel shoppers back to their abandoned carts.