December 28, 2023

Checkout Experience Optimization: 12 Ways to Increase Online Sales

How your checkout process is optimized has a significant impact on customer experience. According to research, shopping cart abandonment causes E-commerce retailers to lose $18 billion in yearly revenue. 

Intuitive design, smooth functionality, and security are some of the major areas of e-commerce checkout best practices that engage shoppers and prevent cart abandonment. 

Retailers spend time and resources on building the right design to establish their online presence. As the functionality and usability of your digital platform directly impact customer satisfaction, this blog covers the strategies you can implement to improve conversions.

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What Causes Customers to Abandon the Checkout Process

Firstly, let’s clarify that the reasons why customers abandon checkouts can vary depending on the industries and targeted audience. To address some of the common reasons across different categories, let’s start with additional costs that are disclosed at checkout.

shopping cart abandonment statistics
Sources: Hubspot, Baymard

Looking at statistics, it's clear that a majority of customers visit e-commerce websites just for comparing prices, saving items to purchase later, or just window shopping. A study has shown that 58.6% of US shoppers abandoned a shopping cart at checkout within the last 3 months. The reason was “I was just browsing / not ready to buy”.

Wondering why your customers are abandoning checkouts? 

Here are some of the areas you can look into for enhancing customer experience:

Unexpected costs and charges

It’s a common practice in e-commerce that charges for shipping and tax are only displayed when the customer reaches the checkout step.

As customers go through the shopping process while looking at individual product prices, they do not expect to be slapped with additional fees at the last step. As a result, they have to re-think whether they should proceed with the purchase.

Forced account creation

Similarly, when a customer’s shopping journey is interrupted by a registration form, they may simply abandon the checkout altogether. 

Prompts for account creation and adding a payment method must be kept away from a checkout flow, as one of the primary reasons for customers to shop online is time-saving and convenience.

Complex process

The steps involved in checkout must be minimum and easy to comprehend for every customer. Online shoppers do not have time to spend on complex forms and redirections just to make a payment. 

In case they get stuck, it’s easier for them to switch to another platform rather than scratching their heads and finding a way out. Developing a quick and convenient checkout process is key to achieving success in e-commerce.

Limited shipping methods

When it comes to online shopping, delivery needs to be on point. Customers from different regions are comfortable with different shipping methods and sometimes also want customized delivery services. 

E-commerce businesses that do not offer flexible shipping methods are bound to experience a higher rate of shopping cart abandonment.

Security concerns 

Every checkout page asks for personal information from online shoppers. While customers understand the need to enter this information, they also expect it to be secure. 

The solution is to provide shoppers with a guarantee of security by displaying ‘verified’ badges where possible. 

Limited payment methods

Customers often abandon a checkout just because the shopping platform does not offer their preferred method. Integrating the maximum number of payment methods allows online shopping platforms to cover a wider range of customers that use different methods.

Performance issues and errors

Let’s suppose your checkout process covers everything mentioned above, there is one last box to check. Performance lags during checkouts are a stain on the customer experience. 

If a checkout page takes too long to load or crashes after a customer has spent time adding items to the cart, they will abandon the site for sure. For this reason, your checkout process needs to be optimized for consistent performance across the web and mobile platforms. 

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Optimizing the E-commerce checkout process

The best checkout process is the one that is simplest for customers to go through. Your online shopping platform’s checkout experience can be enhanced by implementing a clear and straight-forward flow between steps or pages.

ecommerce checkout process

While every step is important to successfully complete the order, the checkout process must not be a hassle for customers. For instance, the transitions between a billing page and a shipping info page must be frictionless, and customers that have previously entered personal information must be assisted with ‘auto-fill’ functionality. 

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Improve your Checkout Experience with these 12 Best Practices     

Depending on what you are selling, the checkout process for selling any product or service must be at par with modern times. While customers are experiencing 5G internet speeds and 120-hertz transitions on their smartphone screens, they will not accept a slow checkout process.

In the case of digital products, you do not need to ask for shipping details as customers can simply go ahead and download what they have paid for. However, e-Commerce checkouts do require shipping details, which is one of the steps that frustrate customers.

Whether your checkout process is based on multiple pages or complex, here are some of the common aspects you need to consider for improving the online shopping experience for your customers.

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1. Optimize Checkout for Mobile-friendly UI

More than 50% of customers use mobile devices for online shopping. This means retail platforms that have unresponsive mobile-first checkout pages are missing out on a large portion of their target audience.

Optimize Checkout for Mobile-friendly UI

Modern e-Commerce checkout pages must be optimized not only for the web but also for mobile platforms. In fact, today’s users are more inclined towards mobile platforms, so developing a suitable mobile-friendly layout must be the top priority. 

Apart from adding CTAs (call-to-action) and interactive page features, you can boost customer engagement by making your checkout page mobile-friendly and responsive.

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2. Add a Guest Checkout Option

While repeat customers are great for e-Commerce success, guest buyers can also not be ignored. First-time visitors should be able to go through the same checkout process as repeat customers. 

Add a Guest Checkout Option

Allow first-time buyers to make purchases just by entering their email addresses. The key aspect to consider here is convenience. Not every online shopper is willing to register for services during or after making their first purchase. 

Instead of creating hindrances in the way of their smooth checkout process, make it as convenient as possible. Even if you want to offer them free registration, they can be reached after checkout.

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3. Avoid Asking for Unnecessary Information

Asking for information is all good when it is limited to shipping and billing. However, it’s important to eliminate unwanted questions. Ask for the customer’s email address as it will be helpful when you want to follow up in the future. 

Without adding extra pages, ask for the shipping details and the preferred payment method for the order. As a whole, information gathering should be an easy and swift process. The more time it takes, the more chances there are of checkout abandonment.

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4. Remove Distractions and Use a Clean Design

Getting your customer to the checkout stage itself is a costly and painstaking process. So when you have them there, ensure that they complete the checkout.

Remove Distractions and Use a Clean Design

Firstly, the UI of your checkout page must be clean and free of distractions. Too many ads, headers and footers, and suggestions for ‘frequently bought together’ often become the reason for checkout abandonment. 

Making the checkout experience simple and immersive allows customers to easily complete their purchases and not want to leave. Give them only what they need to complete the checkout process. Everything else is a distraction.

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5. Accept a Variety of Payment Methods 

Most modern e-Commerce platforms include as many payment methods as they can. This is because every customer selects their own service provider when it comes to payments. 

If a customer does not see their preferred payment method at checkout after spending time choosing the right products, they are most likely to abandon the purchase.

To get around this matter, it's important to include the most popular payment methods along with others that are available based on the targeted market.

XPay is a powerful payments management solution that automates the receiving of online and offline payments from your customers. Offering top-notch security for payments, XPay offers integrations with all popular payment gateways.

Enhance Your Checkout Experience with XPay

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6. Remove Surprise Costs and Fees

If you want to charge your customers an extra fee, add it to the price of the given products. 

Some e-Commerce businesses hide additional costs like taxes and shipping costs until the last point when customers have to complete their purchase. At that point, customers are not expecting the costs to add up to their total.

Remove Surprise Costs and Fees

If you want to avoid increasing your checkout abandonment rate, disclose these additional costs beforehand. Let your customers know all applicable charges up front, as they are more likely to abandon the checkout after looking at the amount of added taxes and shipping costs.

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7. Security Badges 

17% of online shoppers ditch their carts over concerns about payment security.

Coming back to the topic of secure payments, you need to let customers know the level of security your brand offers. Security badges are ideally displayed prominently in places where customers can clearly see them. 

These may include accepted credit cards, virus threat protection logos, or simple padlock icons.

Security Badges 

As customers want a guarantee of security before making payments, these security badges must be displayed throughout the checkout process. This reduces the chances of checkout abandonment as customers feel a sense of trust while completing the payment.

It’s also advisable to let customers review their order before completing the checkout so they have a confirmation of the information they have shared.

With XStak’s module XPay, you can offer your customers a secure checkout experience by verifying payments through the top service providers. Whether it is bank transfers, mobile wallet payments, BNPL (buy now pay later), or offline point of sales payments, XPay has got you covered.

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8. Use Form Validation and Error Notifications

At this point, it’s important to address data inputs that affect both your customer and your brand. Real-time form validation and error notifications assist your customers in entering accurate information and allow your business to collect real information.

Use Form Validation and Error Notifications

This process acts as a way to validate transactions as both parties know what they are dealing with. 

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9. Connect Customers to Support when Needed

Staying on the safe side, let’s say a customer runs into a problem and does not abandon the checkout. If they decide to contact your business, your customer support team can either make or break the deal.

Facilitating the customer instantly through call, live chat, or through a knowledgebase will allow you to win a sale and also help build trust. However, it is important to ask the customer which mode of communication they prefer. Some may be comfortable with a live chat, while others would prefer calls.

If your business regularly analyses customer data, you will know why customers abandon checkouts and can offer support accordingly. Even a single prompt, if sent at the right moment, can change the game and turn the customer into a repeat purchaser. 

At the end of the day, winning customers in e-Commerce is all about engagement - the more you engage them, the better.

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10. Enable Social Sign-in to Speed up Registration

While it is quite common in today’s online shopping platforms, here is an aspect we cannot miss. When customers encounter a prompt that asks them to sign up, they instantly feel that it will waste their time. 

Your e-Commerce platform must allow the option to sign-up using social media accounts or the customer’s Google account. While signing up manually takes more than a few minutes, registering using an existing account takes only a few seconds.

Not only do customers save time, but your business also gets the guarantee of authentic information. Reducing the number of steps and the amount of time taken during the checkout process increases the chances of decreasing the checkout abandonment rate.

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11. Use Discount and Promo Codes Carefully

It’s not just your customers who need to be careful about using discount codes. While you are offering an option to your customers for using discount codes, it’s also important to make the input process convenient for them.

Use Discount and Promo Codes Carefully

Moreover, customers who do not get a discount code must not feel left out. Customers who do not have discount codes often end up looking for ways to obtain them and abandon the checkout process for this reason. 

The field for discount coupons must be designed with a condition that makes it appear only to the customers that have discount codes. Meanwhile, the rest of the customers can proceed with the normal checkout process,

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12. Send Post-payment Order Confirmation

Upon completion of a purchase, your customers begin to wonder what is next. As the ETA is usually 2 to 5 business days, you need to follow up with a confirmation email upon receiving the payment.

This email usually comprises the order number and the list of items purchased along with their prices. It also includes all extra costs and the percentage of tax. Apart from order details, you can acknowledge the customer and thank them for purchasing from your brand. 

Not to forget, this is the right time to push in the offer for creating an account with your brand. Checkout experience optimization is not only about the process that takes place on customers’ mobile screens, but also includes post-checkout engagement, packaging, and timely delivery.

With XPay, you can save valuable time and automate your checkout process. Offer your customers a frictionless payment journey along with a unified online shopping experience across web and mobile platforms.

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