How to Improve Your eCommerce Site’s Checkout Process

Last modified:
Stephanie Williams

Content Team Manager

You wouldn’t walk around a supermarket filling your trolley with items and then abandon it by the tills, would you? So why do so many people leave a website once they get to the checkout section?

68% abandon their shopping carts before payment

67.91% of online shopping carts are abandoned before payment, reports the Baynard Institute. That means out of every 100 potential customers on your site 68 of them won’t make a purchase. Think about how much extra money you could make if these people bought something!
So to entice these people into making a purchase, it is important to look at their reasons for leaving. According to Statista, here are the main reasons why people leave a site without making a purchase:
Being presented with unexpected costs is clearly the main reason people leave a site by far. So let’s take a look at this, and a few of the other reasons, in more detail.

Reason 1 – unexpected costs

Are your delivery costs clearly displayed on product pages and their own dedicated page? It is important to be upfront about these costs or buyers may get an unpleasant surprise when they get to the checkout. Some may even pick an item at random and go through the process just to find out how much this charge is!
As well as making these costs visible, make sure they are affordable. Many people will shop online because it is cheaper than making a trip to the shops, so high shipping costs may be a turn-off and cause them to make the buying journey by foot.

Reason 2 – process was taking too long

The checkout process on your site needs to be as simple as possible. You must minimise the number of pages and therefore clicks, to make these impulse buys as quick and painless as possible. Too many complicated forms are a huge turn-off.
A great tip for any eCommerce site is to give users the option of either, registering and creating an account or to make a one-off purchase as a guest.
Those customers who register can provide you with useful details to help tailor your services and products, but forcing people to do this can cause them to abandon the site. People don’t like fuss, and especially don’t like giving out personal details online!
Other things to consider include:
• Make sure a mini shopping basket appears throughout the site consistently showing quantities and totals.
• When viewing the basket, clearly display options to continue shopping or go to the checkout.

Reason 3 – concerns about payment security

The larger and better known a company is the more trustworthy and reliable it may appear to buyers. So if you have an SME make your site as safe as it can be, and clearly display security labels throughout the site. If it doesn’t appear safe, people will not enter their details.
An increase of payment options may also help. PayPal and SAGE are a trusted and safe payment methods, so enable an option like this. And make sure that every type of credit card is accepted, as credit cards offer more safety than debit cards.

What can you do to stop abandonment?

Now you know why potential customers are leaving what can you do about it? Well here are a few tips and tricks:
• Show clear thumbnail images of the items being purchased in the basket and checkout process.
• Display security logos – this can increase sales by 5%.
• Make editing the shopping cart or basket easy, so items accidentally selected can easily be removed or swapped.
• Offer multiple payment methods.
• Allow registered accounts or guest users.
• Offer free delivery if possible.
• Display refund options clearly.
• Set up error tracking to optimise the checkout process and see where visitors to the site are encountering problems.
• Use ad retargeting to bring users back to the site once they have left.
• Use Google Analytics to look at your checkout funnel and see at which page people drop off exactly. These pages can then be optimised.
• When customers click away from the checkout suggest similar or bestselling products, which they may like instead.

Other useful ecommerce articles:

5 quick wins for e-commerce websites
8 common SEO mistakes on ecommerce websites
How to create a wiining ecommerce website product page
Ecommerce websites best practice guide
Contact us:
So do you think you could improve your eCommerce site’s checkout process? If you need any help, give us a call here at Liberty to see how our ecommerce SEO agency can help you now!

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Stephanie Williams

Content Team Manager

After impressing Liberty on a work experience placement during her final year of university back in 2013, Steph was offered a role as a Junior Copywriter and joined the team after graduation. Since then, her hard work has seen her promoted multiple times to her current position leading the content team. She has a degree…

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