Some might argue that the first impression of the website is more important than the last page where the payment transaction takes place. After all, the main page is the first opportunity to persuade consumers to stay and browse through your site. Once consumers are engaged, it is easier to influence them down the purchase route. Hence, spending time and money on optimising the design of the checkout page may seem like a superfluous activity that could be postponed for a later stage as long as all functionalities such as shipping and payment mechanisms are in place for a transition to take place.
The practice shows that the design of the checkout is the most vital component of your entire website. It is known that on average 7 out of 10 shopping carts are abandoned. Of course, large portion of cart abandonments are due to so called window shopping habits, where many will be comparing prices and saving for later. These are a common consumer behaviour and they are unavoidable. However, the top three reasons for cart abandonments are costly shipping fees; customer did not want to create an account and the check-out process was too long. It is estimated that 35% of this lost orders is recoverable through the optimisation of the check-out page. There are more than a two dozen potential areas for the checkout process improvement. Below we will cover some of the best practices.
How to make the check-out process less frictionless
When a consumer is ready to part with their money, your sole focus should be on getting them through the payment process with minimal friction. One way is to shorten the check-out point to the bare minimum, for instance to have up to 8 form fields and 14 elements overall. Question yourself if all the information you are asking for is absolutely necessary to complete the transaction.
Display the most important information that you want to gather about your customer first. Their Email address is one of those critical pieces you want to collect, so make it first thing they encounter on the page. If for any reason the customer decides not to go ahead with the purchase, you can still remind them about their abandon cart via follow-up email. Make sure the follow-up email goes out sooner rather later, in order to avoid losing them to your competitors.
Offer alternative forms of login to your site, such a guest login or social login. Some consumers do not have time to fill out the forms, remember a new user name and a password or they do not intent to shop from your site again. Having an alternative login will allow not to lose these deals. Once the purchase is completed, you can always offer the opportunity to register their details.
Make the entire check out process visible to your customer. By graphically indicating where the customer is in the check-out process and how far to go, you manage their expectations and have a higher likelihood of successful conversation.
Provide some means of resolving issues at the check-out. This could be via chat or common issues summary option, so when the consumer encounters an issue with their transaction they do not abandon the cart and can resolve the problem swiftly.
Use predictive search or auto-fill function. The customer has to fill out their billing, shipping and payment details for every order they make across the web. By allowing auto-fill function, the only thing the customer has to do is to check their details and confirm the order.
Provide inline or instant form validation that catches errors. This allows validating that the customer inputs correct information as they progress through the form, in contrast checking all the information in bulk after the form has been submitted. This could save avoiding a lot of frustration and decrease the likelihood of abandoning the cart.
Provide multiple shipping options. Before confirming the order, consumer wants some information on when the desired product will be delivered and what the cost will be. Offer store pick up and home delivery methods with the associated costs. You could provide regular and express shipping with associated costs. Communicated whether or not free shipping is available and what customer is required to do to be eligible.
Display trust and safety badges. The payment information form is the most sensitive part of the cart for the consumer, since they have to input the credit card available payments, mentioning that this is a secure transaction, use SSL certificate and third party security validation, such as Norton McAfee and others.
Enable alternative payment options. Providing wide range of flexibility in how consumers can complete the payment transaction. Payment options such as PayPal, Apple Pay and eWallets streamline the checkout and provide extra security and trust for consumer.
Don’t forget to thank your customer for completing the purchase. A customised thank you with a summary of the order will please your customer. Also, thank you page is a great place for offering a promotion for the next order or for tailored recommendation for a future purchase. This will increase the chance of your customers making repeat purchases.
In a nutshell. Completed transactions are a key indicator of how successful is your site. If consumer decides to give a chance to your website and go ahead to purchase a product, make sure that they can do it in least frictionless way by creating a better consumer experience.