Tuesday 12th July 2016

6 Tips for Creating a Brilliant Checkout Process Through Conversion Rate Optimisation

Tom Shackleton

The perfect checkout process is optimised to convert as many of your website visitors as possible into paying customers. You’ve put a huge amount of effort in drawing visitors to your eCommerce store and convincing them of the benefits of your products, so losing them at the final stage through dropouts and abandoned carts isn’t an option.

Here are 7 tips for optimising the conversion rate of your checkout process:

1. Think about Your Calls to Action

Customers on your eCommerce store will use your call to action buttons to navigate through the checkout process, so you need to ensure that they are prominently placed on the page at each stage of your checkout process so that customers don’t get frustrated. In fact, your call to action for the next stage of the process should usually be the most prominent item on the page.

If visitors to your site can’t find the buy button, they’re not going to be making any purchases. A call to action that is not optimally placed is likely to reduce the number of impulse purchases from your store and will turn away customers who feel the process is taking too long.

2. Minimise the Number of Steps

Visitors are often put off by long and complex checkouts, so think about which steps are essential to the process and which aren’t. Removing any unessential steps, or at least making them optional, will encourage customers to use that ‘complete order’ button faster and give them less of a reason to abandon their cart.

Amazon One Click

A good example of an incredibly lean checkout process is Amazon, whose famed ‘one click checkout’ epitomises the concept of simplifying the checkout process.

3. Reduce the Number of Fields

Now that you only have steps in your checkout process that are absolutely necessary, you could also think about de-cluttering your pages and removing any fields that you don’t need, or that may confuse or over-complicate the process. Making sure that customers can always see exactly what information they need to enter, and where, is a great way of keeping them in the checkout process by giving the confidence that they are in control of the information they give away. It should also help to stop visitors from getting frustrated with an over-complicated checkout.

Always remember that your customers may not be as technically savvy as you are, and a simple, clean checkout can help to make them feel more conformable with buying from your site and handing over their personal information.

4. Make Sure Customers Know What to Expect

You don’t want your customers to have any unexpected or unwelcome surprises when they reach your checkout. Include all of the relevant information, such as delivery costs, on pages prior to the checkout so that customers don’t feel they’ve been hit with any hidden costs when they reach the point of paying for their order. Include the full price of products on your site and make any other fees or taxes apparent to the visitor.

You don’t want customers abandoning their carts because they feel cheated and not given the full picture. This could have wider implications for your brand and the standing of your eCommerce store as a whole.

5. Reduce Your Page Load Speeds

We all know the pains of having a page that loads excruciatingly slowly, and so do your customers. Part of keeping the checkout process smooth and streamlined is ensuring that all pages load quickly. You don’t want customers to get bored of waiting and abandon their cart. Amazon’s checkout pages are simple and text based, so load times are very quick and customers are able to see exactly the information that they need.

Amazon Checkout

With mobile becoming a more and more significant portion of internet traffic, customers are looking for quicker experiences and ones that aren’t bogged down by large image files that eat up all of their data allowance. This increase in mobile traffic also means that Google gives more weight to page load speed when ranking.

6. Test All Changes

Testing is an integral part of conversion rate optimisation. Without it, you wont know which changes have worked and which haven’t. Some of the tips in this article may work for you and some wont, so the best way to find out which is which, is to use A/B testing.

A/B testing involves running both the existing version and a changed version of your site to portions of your viewers and then comparing the conversion results from both to see if the change yielded any improvement. It’s important to be as scientific as possible with your testing in order to get the most reliable results possible.

Every eCommerce site and customer base is different and could react differently to changes, so keep testing and retain the changes that improve your conversion rate.

Don't Stop There

This article is by no means an exhaustive list of changes you could test for optimising your checkout pages. Don’t stop testing new layouts, changes and features. You can always improve your conversion rate. There are also numerous tools out there that can help you from heat-mapping applications, user recordings to analytics tools.

Have your been A/B testing changes to your checkout pages? Let us know what techniques have worked for you by getting in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter.

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