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13 ways to quickly improve your checkout conversion rate

This is a guest post from James Garnier. James is a Content Marketing Manager at Yieldify. 63% of marketers struggle with eCommerce personalization. With Yieldify, you won’t be one of them. Brands such as Adidas, Qantas and L’Oreal turn to the Yieldify platform and support team to improve their customer journeys and increase revenues.

Having a quick and seamless checkout on your eCommerce website is absolutely essential.

Here’s why: making it simpler for your shoppers to check out drives significantly more purchases, and helps convert visitors into long-term customers.

But getting your checkout process to be the best it can be is easier said than done. There are many ways to build a checkout, with no real guidelines. Some eCommerce platforms have set structures you need developers to change. Others you may not even be able to edit much.

Often eCommerce owners can feel a bit stuck or limited with what they can do when it comes to improving their checkout conversion rate or checkout funnel.

This blog will aim to help!

So, here we will cover the 5 essential areas of the checkout process and what you can do to improve your checkout conversion rate.

The Basket Stage

7 out of every 10 visitors abandon basket pages without making a purchase. Thankfully there are several ways to prevent this.

Keep it simple

76.9% of website visitors abandon checkout forms because they’re too long. Shoppers head online for convenience, meaning they want to place their order as quickly as possible. Forms with many boxes and pages can feel cumbersome for online shoppers and often serve as a barrier to completing purchases.

To combat this, shorten your checkout forms. Only request information that’s essential, such as billing and delivery details. Provide visually distinctive clues, too. If a box has not been filled in correctly, set red lines to appear around the box, whereas something filled in correctly could be outlined in blue or green.

For new customers,  offer a “guest checkout” – avoid introducing a “create account” step before purchase. It can put new visitors off ordering if they don’t want to register.

Use progress bars

The checkout process can be a place of anxiety for new customers. They may feel vulnerable as they prepare to give over their personal information.

To negate this, always ensure that the customer can see where they are in the checkout process. A navigation, or progress bar, can help guide shoppers through the process.

Headings and subheadings can also be used throughout the pages to describe the purpose of each section in the form, i.e “Billing details” or “invoice details”.

In the below example from MandM Direct, you can see they highlight the 3 steps required in their checkout process. They use clear and concise naming so users know what to expect.

You’ll also notice that only the checkout process navigation is visible. They’ve hidden the main navigation bar so that the visitor remains focused on completing their purchase.

Use trust badges

Trust badges are seals that can be placed throughout an eCommerce store and are designed to instill trust in potential customers.

They serve as visual cues that assure the shopper their personal information will be kept secure.

Badges from organisations such as Norton Security, McAfee and Verisign give shoppers confidence while shopping which can lead to increased conversion rates.

Use exit intent pop-ups

When someone adds an item to their shopping cart and has started the checkout process, they will most likely abandon it there. But this presents you with another opportunity: exit-intent offers.

Exit-intent technology offers websites a chance at converting customers who are in that window of indecision between adding something to their basket or abandoning it entirely.

You can use incentives such as reminding them about low stock levels or giving them discounts on products they have sitting in their basket — checkout the below example from Leesa mattresses.

Now, you don’t have to do this for every user, or you may as well just have a sitewide discount. This is where using behavioural segmentation comes into play. You can add in behaviour factors such as time on site, how many pages they viewed, or what their basket value is.

This way the exit intent pop-ups are only shown to those most likely to convert, with high AOVs.

Be easily contactable

If a buyer has doubts or questions about their potential purchase you need to be able to answer them quickly. Live chat can help you do that.

Over the past few years, chatbots & live-chat options have seen phenomenal growth in adoption. Research has found that 79% of customers prefer live chat purely because of the immediate response it offers. This allows for customers to get their questions answered quickly and easily, speeding up their decision making process.

Live chat can also be used to help build trust with customers as it shows them you can quickly help, you’re accessible, and they actually talk to a person as they would in store.

The Personal Details Stage

Have a guest checkout option

If you require users to create an account to checkout, you’re potentially losing a lot of customers. Account creation is seen as a barrier to purchase for some online shoppers.

In fact, research from the Baymard Institute found that 24% of users will abandon a checkout if account creation is required.

If you wish to encourage users to create an account with you, choose where you do this carefully. For example, give them the option to create an account on the confirmation page after they have purchased.

If you need more convincing of the impact this can have, one retailer removed the mandatory log in requirements and saw a huge $300M increase in revenue. Adding to the research carried out by Baymard, one more study found that around 30% of users abandoned their carts due to account creation requirements.

You can get around this within your checkout process by clearly showing the options available. Check out the below example from Nike.

You can see options are clearly displayed, but they also incentivize you to create an account during the checkout process by offering free delivery, and highlight the benefits having an account will bring.

The Delivery & Shipping Stage

Can you offer free shipping?

There is no shortage of statistics proving the impact that offering free shipping can have on an eCommerce store. In fact, here are two: 60% of consumers will abandon their carts if the price of shipping is too high, whilst 39% will abandon their carts if free shipping isn’t offered.

That’s quite a lot of potential lost sales, and at a very important stage of the checkout funnel. Offering free shipping can have a huge impact on sales, but not all eCommerce websites offer this as of course, costs and feasibility come into play.

To fight checkout abandonment and increase conversions, try to offer free or reduced shipping costs wherever possible. If the costs don’t make sense to do this sitewide on every purchase, review what products people abandon the most. Can you offer free shipping on certain SKUs or bundle products together?

Another popular alternative (as seen above) on a lot of eCommerce stores is to offer free shipping once the total order value crosses a certain threshold, or offering free shipping coupon codes as part of a discount or promotion.

Clearly display delivery options

In the example below ASOS has made it so that shoppers can easily and conveniently find out when their purchase will be delivered, how much they are going to pay for shipping, which items qualify for free delivery and more.

In addition, ASOS offers a variety of options like next day or two-day deliveries as well as the option to have an item shipped internationally at competitive prices.

ASOS’s website provides all necessary information about costs (including international rates), timing estimates (including standard and express mailing services available) with tracking updates on every step in the process – from warehouse to final destination.

Highlight returns policy

Research from Barclaycard shows that free returns are the new normal. The research also found that a fifth of shoppers will only shop at retailers that offer free returns. From a customer point of view, buying something online is always a risk. You can’t see the product, you can’t try it on and you may not like it when you see it in person.

Free returns help negate that risk and reduce another purchase barrier. However, like free shipping, this might not always be feasible.

So it will be important for you to have your returns policy watertight and accessible to any visitors.

Your returns policy should clearly outline what shoppers can and can’t return, any time frames they need to do this by – and how much it’s going to cost to send stuff back.

The Payment Page

Showcase security

Similar to the “Use trust badges” section above, at this stage, it is all about security and trust. If the user has any doubts about the legitimacy of your website, or if they don’t feel comfortable giving their bank details, they will likely abandon.

Simple things go a long way here, as savvy shoppers will be looking for common things like a secure HTTPS link, recognisable payment badges and secure checkout guarantees.

In the example below from Home Depot, you can see they subtly cover all of those things on their payment page. They highlight secure checkout with an additional trust badge from a recognisable brand.

Payment options

It’s no longer just about credit or debit cards.

Alternative payment methods like Klarna are making high-value transactions more accessible and affordable. Combined with Buy Now Pay Later options, eWallets are also becoming increasingly popular. Apple and Google Pay are also consistent payment options across eCommerce stores.

Going back to our previous example of ASOS, you can see they offer a wide range of payment options from PayPal, Apple Pay and Klarna.

The more payment options you have, the easier it is for potential buyers to purchase. If you can, try to utilize as many of these alternative payment options as possible.

The Confirmation Page

Push for account creation here

As we highlighted earlier, new shoppers typically place orders using guest checkout. Once they hit the confirmation page, push them to create an account so they don’t lose their transaction info.

The new customer will have entered all their details already. So if you can offer a one-click account creation, or ask them to set a password – as Crate&Barrel do below – you’ll stand a much better chance of getting them to sign up.

Final chance for newsletter sign up

At this stage, if you don’t want to push for account creation, it’s probably your last chance to encourage the user to join your email list before they leave your website.

Make sure you highlight the benefits they get by signing up. Will they get first access to special offers, exclusive deals etc? Or can you give them their own unique discount code via email after they sign up?

Bringing it all together

The above points will hopefully give you some ideas and inspiration to improve your current checkout process. There’s a lot you can do, and you can get pretty creative, but these fundamentals will go a long way in increasing your checkout conversion rate.

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