Web Design

How to optimise checkout for your customers

If you’re using an ecommerce platform, by the time it comes to customising the order process you’re pretty deflated and tired of the whole thing and so the temptation is to leave it as it stands. After all, it must work for other people, right?

The important thing to remember is that your order process can always be better.

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You can increase your conversion rates pretty easily with a few simple tweaks to your registration and checkout process. Whether you’re simplifying it, making browser-specific amendments or doing some A/B testing to find out which version is more successful, you should take the time to meticulously go through the order process to check it – and then ask a friend to do the same.

There are so many potential issues with pages timing out, calls to action which are difficult to spot, required fields not being obvious, and upselling and cross-selling that it becomes quite a complicated process. Once you have special offers, postage and discount codes to factor in, the potential of your customers encountering errors or getting frustrated is increased even more.

You should always revisit your checkout process from time to time so see can it can be improved even more and to check it still works with new browser updates.

Here’s a checklist of questions for reducing basket abandonment and ensuring your customers have a positive experience when shopping with you.

Simplify

  • Is your checkout process as short as it can possibly be?
  • Is it really necessary to have any fields that aren’t required (e.g. second line of address)?
  • Have you considered offering a one-click checkout option for registered users?
  • Do you offer a guest checkout option?
  • Do your visitors have to register separately before they check out, or have you integrated it into the checkout process?
  • Do you allow your visitors to click any navigational links to leave your order process?
  • Can visitors enter information such as postcodes and credit card numbers in any format without having to worry about spacing etc.?
  • Do you only show the countries you ship to in the drop down menu?
  • Do you offer customers the ability to look up their address and copy it across for delivery/card holder’s address to save typing?
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Checkout Pages

  • Do you use as few images as possible?
  • Are your images as small as they can possibly be in terms of file size?
  • Do you use visual cues so your visitors can easily see how many steps of the process are left to complete?
  • Are calls to actions clear?
  • Are error messages (e.g. ‘This field is required’) very clear?
  • Do you offer a means of easy contact should the customer have a question or problem with purchasing?
  • Is everything on the order checkout pages clear and presented in well-laid-out sections with little scrolling required?
  • Do you offer hover-over explanations or helpful tips to clarify requests?
  • Do you make your security features clear and use appropriate badges and symbols?
  • If you ship to a destination without postcodes, e.g. Ireland, do customers have clear instructions to bypass the field?

Compatibility

  • Have you tested your checkout process in all browsers?
  • Is your checkout compatible with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets?
  • Have you checked your checkout process in a variety of large and small screen resolutions?

Post checkout

  • Do you send an email confirmation with clear contact details in the event a problem arises?
  • Do you send a follow-up email if the customer abandons their basket partway through checking out?
  • Do you offer an email upselling or cross-selling similar items?
  • Do you offer an email with a discount code to use in the future?
  • Do you display a landing page once the order has been placed suggesting your customer shares their purchase on social media or by emailing a friend?
  • Can the customer choose to sign up for your email newsletter?
  • Do you provide a means for your customers to contact you with feedback about the order process?
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Ideas for testing

  • Different coloured call to action buttons
  • Multiple short checkout stages vs. one longer single-page checkout
  • Prominent security badges and reassurance of a safer checkout
  • Use of images vs. no images
  • Friendly tone for text vs. formal tone for text
  • Minimal text vs. helpful explanations for each stage

Your checkout is always a work in progress, and using Google Analytics and HotJar data can really give you real-world insights into how to improve the process for your customers. I hope you found these lists of ideas useful!

What are your checkout tips? Let us know in the comments below.

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