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How eCommerce Checkout Page Optimization Can Battle Cart Abandonment

From clean page design to price transparency to payment options and follow up emails, here's what you need to know about checkout page optimization so you can increase conversions.

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The checkout page is arguably the single most important page on a DTC eCommerce brand’s website. It is literally the end zone of the purchase journey. The customer has added items to their cart and is poised to make a purchase. But more often than not, the customer suddenly abandons their cart and the website, bringing the process to an abrupt halt. Could checkout page optimization be the remedy?

The Hard-Hitting Impacts of Cart Abandonment

Cart abandonment is a major problem all online businesses share. Today, the average cart abandonment rate across all industries is nearly 70%. That translates to almost 3/4 of shoppers leaving a website before completing a purchase. At 85%, mobile abandonment rates are even higher than desktop rates. 

Abandonment has a substantial negative impact on customer conversion and retention rates. It also indicates problems with website sales funnel efficiency and checkout page optimization. Worse, it hits DTC eCommerce companies where it hurts the most: the bottom line. All this affects the entire sales process and leads to a severe loss of revenue.

According to studies, $4.6 trillion in potential sales are lost to shopping cart abandonment each year. eCommerce stores alone lose $18 billion in sales. With such significant numbers, eCommerce brands must make dealing with cart abandonment a top priority. 

Reasons Behind Cart Abandonment

There are many reasons for cart abandonment, and most have nothing to do with website or checkout page optimization. Consumer behavior that brands have no control over is partially responsible for high abandonment rates. Website visitors might be comparing prices, exploring product options, saving items for later or simply browsing. 

But, inefficient or flawed website or checkout page elements that disrupt the purchase process are the main contributors to cart abandonment. Some of these include:

  • Time-consuming or complicated checkout process
  • High extra costs like shipping and taxes
  • Security concerns
  • Not enough payment options
  • No guest checkout
  • Bad website/technical functionality

A recent Scalefast poll revealed 38% of shoppers who left a website without making a purchase did so due to a poor checkout experience.

The good news is that each of these flaws can be dealt with through smart and efficient checkout page optimization techniques. 

Design Matters When It Comes to Checkout Page Optimization

When it comes to checkout page design, the goal is to reduce friction. eCommerce friction (AKA purchase friction) is anything that keeps the customer from reaching the end of the sales funnel. The more friction a customer encounters, the less likely they will complete the purchase. For this reason, the process needs to be fast, efficient and user-friendly. According to data, 1 out of 5 shoppers will abandon a cart if the checkout process is too long or convoluted. 

One of the best ways to improve checkout page optimization is to design a straightforward purchase process and user experience flow. Many tried-and-true design elements must also be considered when designing an optimized checkout experience. Efficient checkout page optimization can increase conversions by 35%, so the payoff can be significant for brands that put some thought into it. 

8 Design Hacks for Better Checkout Page Optimization 

web page sketches superimposed over an open laptop

DTC eCommerce brands need not fall victim to cart abandonment. Here are eight checkout page best practices that can significantly increase the chance of customers clicking on “Buy Now.”

Use a clean design and remove distractions

A checkout page should be simple and free of unnecessary distractions. These include header and footer, menu buttons, additional items to purchase or anything that can divert customers from completing their purchase. Annoying and time-consuming form fields should be kept to a minimum. Eliminating distractions will keep customers focused on the task at hand. 

Keep customers continually aware of final pricing

Sticker shock brought on by unexpected extra costs, like shipping charges, is the number one reason behind cart abandonment. To avoid pricing surprises, shoppers should know their final (or estimated) cost throughout the entire checkout process. Extra costs cause 49% of customers to abandon their cart, so brands need to be transparent about shipping, taxes and other fees. 

Allow for guest checkout

Forcing customers to create a new account is the second leading cause of abandoned carts. In fact, 37% of shoppers will abandon a cart if they must make an account to complete the process. To that end, guest checkout should be available to all customers so that anyone can easily buy. This way, one-time buyers can simply input their email and continue with their purchase.

Offer multiple payment options

A convoluted payment process can be all it takes to turn customers off. Brands need to keep their payments simple, hassle-free and flexible. Offering as many payment gateways as possible, including BNPL and options that support global transactions, can reduce cart abandonment. Letting shoppers save credit card information so they can complete a purchase without typing in card numbers is also recommended.

Make security a top priority

Reducing online shopping security risks will show customers that a brand takes security seriously. This includes prominently displaying trust badges, security seals and payment logos and complying with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). Offering a money-back guarantee or free refund options will further boost consumer confidence and brand trust.

Do not ask for unnecessary customer information

Brands need to adopt a “less is more” approach when collecting customer information. Sticking to the bare necessities eliminates extra steps and needless questions that can confuse and annoy customers. Collect only the most essential info such as name, email, shipping address and payment details. Brands should not ask for a phone number if they do not plan on using it.

Indicate progress

Showing customers how many steps they have left until their purchase is complete can significantly lower cart abandonment. This can be as simple as having a numbered progress bar that shows the steps already taken and what comes next. Letting customers know exactly where they are in the checkout journey will entice them to stay until the end.

Enable smart form filling

Forms are an unavoidable source of friction, so the form filling process should be as intuitive as possible. Smart checkout form filling techniques include shipping address predictor tools and autofill options. Offering form field validation and notifications that show errors as the customer progresses can also help. A radio button or check-box for the billing address will let users select the same address as the shipping address.

How to Save an Abandoned Sale

All is not lost should customers abandon their cart. Brands still have a few options to entice customers to revisit their site and complete the sale. 

Send automated reminder emails: Reminder emails offer brands a chance to keep customers in the loop and capture a lost sale. Repeat persuading might be needed, so sending three reminders is a good practice. Email should be sent a few hours after cart abandonment, again in 24 hours and a third a few days later.

According to a Scalefast survey, 60% of site visitors who do not make a purchase report they are “just browsing.”

Include a ‘save the cart’ option: This allows customers to quickly and easily pick up where they left off should they abruptly leave an online shop. Letting them save the entire cart or individual products for later increases the odds they’ll return to complete the order.

The Takeaway

Cart abandonment may be an inevitability for eCommerce brands, but they do not have to be held hostage by it. Following the tips featured above can help them eliminate or minimize the damage. Heat mapping and A/B testing can also help brands determine checkout page effectiveness and how it can be improved. 

Optimizing the checkout experience is a long and ongoing process. But for DTC eCommerce brands looking to boost conversion rates and revenue income, the effort will be well worth it.

Want to know why your shoppers are abandoning their carts? Air360 by Scalefast helps eCommerce companies analyze their UX practices and make changes to increase conversion rates. Learn more by talking to one of our eCommerce experts or scheduling a demo today.

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