Gen Xers and Millennials spend an average of six hours per week shopping online, and the time spent online only increases as the demographic gets younger. Nonetheless, customers opt to abandon their carts for a variety of reasons.
While customers are at the cusp of purchasing, once they reach the checkout point, they can quickly decide that the product isn’t for them if the process is too complicated or drawn out. For instance, they realize that they must fill out a painfully long form or that a preferred payment option isn’t available.
Even if shoppers have a full cart and intend to complete the purchase, there is a significant chance of losing the customer if the checkout experience falls short of their expectations. On average, 70% of online shoppers abandon their carts at checkout.
Yes, you read that right!
But merchants need not despair! Awareness of the kinks a customer might face during checkout is an excellent place to begin, and there are numerous ways to improve an eCommerce checkout experience. This blog will cover some of the best strategies to help customers click the final purchase button.
7 Effective Strategies to Enhance eCommerce Checkout Experience
1. Simplify the checkout process
A typical checkout process includes several steps, primarily login/sign up, billing information, shipping information & shipping method (for the sale of physical goods), order preview, and payment confirmation. Whether these steps are a part of a single-page checkout, multi-page checkout, or even a more complex checkout process, all checkouts have the same fundamental steps.
To optimize your checkout process, start by eliminating unnecessary fields or information. The devil is often in the details – remove anything that might distract a customer from completing a transaction, like a header and a footer, ads, sidebars, popups, repetitive product information, and long-form fields to ensure your customers get through the checkout flow easily.
Here are some tools that can help:
Smart form filling
About 70% of consumers expect checkout to take 4 minutes or less, and close to 30% expect it to take just two minutes. Therefore, efficiency is a top priority for online shoppers. To ensure filling forms is as efficient as possible, utilize shipping address predictor tools or autofill features such as Google Autofill to provide a smart checkout form-filling process.
Form field validation and error notifications are also helpful to keep the process accurate and error-free. You can simplify the process further by allowing users to choose the same address as the shipping address by enabling a small checkbox or radio button for the billing address.
With customers expecting quicker checkout times, think twice before implementing a multi-page checkout. From a user’s perspective, a single-page checkout is a better option as it requires minimum navigation. In addition, consider adding a progress indicator to make the next step in the process evident to keep customers moving forward while giving them a clear path to make last-minute order changes.
For customers who make infrequent purchases, having to sign up or create an account to purchase can be a serious point of friction, leading to abandoned carts. A guest checkout option can help eliminate the unnecessary step of requiring customers to register before making a purchase, thereby expediting the purchase process.
Guest checkouts are also a great way to convert impulse shoppers and improve first contact as it demands a lower level of commitment.
Here’s an example of how H&M, a famous retail brand, displays its guest checkout option:
2. Facilitate cross-border sales
Borders have virtually disappeared owing to digital commerce, allowing eCommerce merchants to reach more people than ever. Following a 25.7% surge in 2020 to $4.213 trillion, forecasts anticipate retail eCommerce sales worldwide to climb a further 16.8% this year to $4.921 trillion.
Suppose you’re an eCommerce business that serves customers across the globe. It’s essential to consider localizing your checkout process to remove any potential user barriers, giving you more opportunities to boost your conversion rates.
Here’s how to go about it:
Navigate global tax regulations
When factoring in cross-border customs duties and taxes, getting the prices right at checkout can impact the customer experience even after they have completed their purchase.
Customers usually accept the price quoted at the checkout as their final checkout price. However, failing to account for custom duties, added shipping costs, or geo-specific taxes at the point of checkout can spring an unpleasant surprise at the point of delivery for customers not in your source country. To avoid such issues and ensure a frictionless checkout, it is crucial to dynamically calculate international taxes based on the user’s location.
Pro tip: Apart from configuring country-specific taxes, businesses also need to configure taxes at each product/service level if they are selling products/services that are subject to different tax rates and compliance. It is helpful to consider implementing a tool that will do all the work for you – create and manage multiple tax profiles and automatically apply them to invoices – so you can confidently scale boundaries. For instance, a subscription management tool like Chargebee helps comply with international tax laws like the US Sales Tax and the EU VAT.
Localize the checkout process – support multiple payment gateways, currencies, and languages
Payment methods preferred in a seller’s home country might not be acceptable to customers in another. It is best to support multiple payment gateways, particularly those that support global transactions, to ensure a localized payment experience for the user. Allowing users to choose their preferred currency makes the process more seamless, as currency conversions add an extra cost for the user, which could be a source of friction.
Multilingual checkout is another crucial aspect of localization. Ensure your customers feel comfortable by talking to them in their local language. Here’s an example of how Touchize (a Sweden-based Drag2Cart solution for the Shopify platform) speaks to its customers in their language:
3. Make the checkout process flexible
A smoother checkout process is key to more satisfied customers and more conversions. For instance, the checkout process can be made more flexible by allowing your customers to choose from multiple payment options, offering guest checkout, or ensuring that you optimize checkout for mobiles.
Since the global marketplace offers consumers more options than can be handled, the slightest inconvenience during checkout might be enough to sway a customer’s mind.
Here are a few ways in which you can make it difficult for potential customers to leave your online store for another:
Provide ample payment options
You don’t want a lack of a preferred payment method to be the reason for a customer’s departure. As previously discussed, preferred payment methods differ by region. Credit cards, for example, are a popular payment method in the United States. However, this isn’t the case in some parts of Europe. So, go ahead and spoil your customers by providing them with all payment options, such as PayPal, Amazon Pay, or Apple Pay, to encourage them to complete the purchase.
Pro tip: It is helpful to work with an eCommerce subscription and billing platform that integrates with all popular payment methods. For instance, Chargebee, subscription management, and billing solutions support over 25 payment gateways and accept payments from over 40 countries.
To make the checkout process more convenient, you can allow customers to choose between one-time purchases and subscriptions. Combining both billing strategies (cross-selling) can help businesses increase average order value (AOV), customer lifetime value (LTV), and satisfaction by giving their subscribers more control over their shopping experience.
It’s what the Superfoods Company, an online effervescent tablet company, did.
4. Entice customers at the checkout point
Persuade your customers with additional products they may need or some incentives to ensure they complete the purchase process, thereby improving your conversions.
Here’s how you can make the most of your checkout:
Create opportunities for upselling
Most customers are willing to spend a little more for an alternative product (essentially, an upgrade) as long as it provides greater value. This is where you can create an upsell opportunity and give your customers more nudges to convert. There are several upsell strategies; one of the most common upselling methods is offering a side-by-side comparison. Here’s how Spotify does it:
Customers are given a side-by-side comparison of “Spotify Premium” before choosing “Spotify Free.” At a glance, all the extras that come with paying $9.99 per month for “Spotify Premium” are evident, persuading music lovers to select the premium service over the free one.
Another upsell strategy includes offering recommendations with better ratings. Many online sites like Amazon showcase a product and, below it, display a row of alternatives (similar products) with better ratings, giving customers more readily available options so they can purchase without having to search for a choice themselves. Here’s an example:
Upsell strategy by showing “users also viewed” section
Use exit intent popups
In a final attempt to get a leaving customer to stay, exit intent popups are a great way to communicate incentives like discounts and limited-time promo codes. Using exit intents to address an immediate need or provide additional value will look like a genuine attempt to help the customer, nudging them to finish the purchase.
Here’s how ActiveCampaign provides its target audience with helpful information (6 free email templates) via an exit intent popup:
5. A/B test everything
The world of eCommerce and their checkout experiences are constantly evolving. Businesses should therefore treat checkout optimization as a continuous philosophy, A/B testing their efficiency at regular intervals. Experimenting with different versions of your checkout page and collecting feedback from your customers can help uncover their pain points during checkout and to do away with any inherent friction in their payment journey.
Some A/B testing ideas for the checkout page include testing different elements, such as where to place the CTA and how to arrange the images on the checkout design. You can also test out various templates, mobile view optimization, and discounts to ensure higher chances of conversion.
A/B testing an offer to display an attractive guarantee or refund policy.
6. Establish trust
Customers unsure of clicking the purchase button may need assurances regarding the product, support, or even the transaction’s security. Here are some ways to develop trust and help them complete the transaction:
Comply with security and privacy guidelines
Due to the rising tide of data breaches, it is challenging for businesses to build and uphold customer trust. Many users tend to worry about security when it comes to entering their payment information. Giving your customers the knowledge that your business complies with all the necessary security and privacy regulations like SSL and PCI, and CCPA, GDPR, and MFA standards can help increase customer confidence before they even reach the checkout.
Include customer testimonials
For a customer who is in doubt at the checkout page, a positive review can help restore their belief and nudge them to complete the purchase. Besides improving customer perception, positive reviews can help boost your brand’s credibility, as customers will be more likely to buy from a company with good reviews. Here’s how Teachable included a positive customer testimonial on their checkout page:
Give easy access to customer support.
Another way to reassure clients that assistance is close at hand should they require it is by enabling the live chat option during checkout and providing a support phone number. With support readily available, customers can quickly resolve any issues they have so they can go ahead and complete the payment. With the help of a customer chatbot on the checkout page, H&M’s customer service team can quickly help convert customers who they might otherwise lose:
7. Reach out to the customers who dropped off
A customer dropping off your checkout process doesn’t necessarily have to mean the end of your efforts to try and convert them. For instance, you can allow them to sign up for updates or newsletters.
Furthermore, you can leverage the data collected from partial checkouts in your email campaigns to nurture customers to reconsider, revisit the site, and complete their orders from payment to shipping.
Wrapping it up
The checkout process is the final stage of the sales process, serving as a crucial turning point for customers. Hence, you must continually improve the checkout process to make customers feel valued, at ease, and eager to make additional purchases.
Creating a great checkout experience can be challenging, but the strategies we have discussed so far will assist you in improving it. In addition, it is helpful to experiment further to determine what works best for you.
If you want specific input on how to build a frictionless checkout experience for your business, we’ve got the keys. Click here for information on we can help.