8 Ways A Smooth Checkout Flow Can Increase E-Commerce Conversion

As children of the digital age, I am sure more than a few of us have had bad online shopping experiences before. This can lead to frustration, disappointment and eventually, total abandonment of our intended shopping plans. If this has happened to you, you’re not alone, because a Baymard Institute study shows that almost 7 out of 10 people abandon their online shopping carts. Therefore, as an owner of an online business, it is in your best interest to improve your website’s checkout process.

Here are 8 tips to prevent dropouts and increase checkout conversion, resulting in more profits for your online business.

8 Ways To Improve Checkout Flow

1. Clear visuals

This is one of the most essential parts of your checkout flow. Some parts of the checkout flow process are more important than others, and you would want to draw the user’s attention to those first. A clear visual hierarchy greatly improves your site’s user-friendliness and also plays a part in its aesthetics. This simplifies the shopping process for users and thus reduces dropouts.

You can do this by making a prominent call to action button – such as a “Proceed to Checkout” button. It would be best to have two of these buttons: one above and another below the shopping cart.

This is an example of how it could look like.

Don’t forget, a “Continue Shopping” button is just as important as a “Checkout” button because your potential customers might want to continue browsing and buy more items, which will help your revenue grow.

The following are easy ways to attract attention to the call to action buttons:

  • Contrasting colours (in the picture above, the buttons are yellow in colour, which stand out against the white background)
  • Increase size so that they are more noticeable than other elements
  • Make the font bold and obvious
  • In order to draw attention, put a white background against the button
  • Use animation (sparingly, lest it become too distracting)

2. Make sure your items are actually available

It can irk your customers if you do not notify them in advance regarding the availability of an item – no one wants to be given false hopes. Let them know from the very beginning whether the product is either in stock or out.

By marking an item “Sold Out” on the browse or search page helps to give the customer a better shopping experience as it facilitates their decision-making process. Now they can either shop for other products or wait for the product to be back in stock.

If your customer does the latter, it is important to provide them an option that allows them to be notified when the product is back in stock.

The “Notify Me” button helps to decrease the number of dropouts because you appease your customer’s desire for that item. And you know they’ll be back once that item is back in stock.

3. Allow users to make changes

This seems like a trivial thing, but to customers, the ease of which they can remove or modify the quantity of their items can define their shopping experience. Putting the wrong item into their cart, changing their minds, wanting to buy more of a certain product – these are common incidents in the online shopping scene, and you would want to make it easy for potential customers.

As you can see, Colourpop allows you to remove any item with just a click of a button, instead of having to input “0” in the quantity box. Speaking of which, the box is an editable one, allowing easy additions of orders – which is good news for you because that means more revenue.

This interface is impressive, but you can take it one step further and have “+” and “-” buttons to further simplify the process.

4. To register, or not to?

Rule #1: Only ask for registration at the end of the shopping process – during checkout.

Allow your potential customers to browse the shop before asking them to register, or else you will lose them at the very beginning, before they are even able to see the products you offer.

Having to create an account is one of the main reasons that stops potential customers from completing their purchases online. On the other hand, it is also important to have this as part of the checkout flow so companies can use the information for retargeting, storing order history, etc. Hence, this process must be easy in order to encourage customers to complete their purchases.

Asos makes new sign ups very easy by providing options to sign up via different social media platforms. This might encourage more sign ups compared to the traditional one which requests for email and a password. Additionally, an option that does not require any sign up is provided, further improving the user experience.

5. Include details

Zalora includes important details in their checkout flow – such as the Free Returns Policy, Free Delivery, Cash on Delivery option as well as the other available payment methods. It might be good to have a brief FAQ at the bottom, but it is not a must-have as it might make the page look slightly cluttered. These small details give the customers a form of positive reinforcement and encourages them to purchase.

6. Add a progress bar for easy tracking

Checking out can be a long and tedious process. It therefore helps to have a progress bar which breaks down the process and make it more straightforward. It also helps to make the customer feel in control because they know exactly what they need to do in order to complete their transaction. Other than that, it can prevent any potential confusion and frustration during the checkout process.

7. Payment

Regarding payment, there are two main things that users are concerned about: 1) Payment Methods and 2) Security.

It is always good to offer payment methods other than credit or debit card, just to provide an extra option for your buyers. This also provides a payment option for those who do not own a debit or credit card. Moreover, bank transfer transaction fees are much cheaper than that of credit card fees, and thus improve your profit margins. Xfers, which integrates bank transfer payments into your e-commerce website, provides competitive prices that results in cost savings which can be passed down to your customers as well.

Next, you have to ensure that your payment gateway is secure in order to protect sensitive customer information. Then, you have to ensure that your payment method looks secure in order to give reassurance to your customers.

8. Always send a confirmation email

Your job is not yet done even if your customer has already completed the checkout process and successfully paid for their items. You must send them a confirmation email which includes details such as order history and estimated delivery time. This helps the customer to check and verify that they had ordered the correct things. If they hadn’t, it gives them a chance to make changes to their order.

All in all…

You must optimise your checkout flow to retain customers and prevent them from dropping out halfway through the process! These simple tips will help you on the right track, but they are definitely not exhaustive. Make sure to do more research so that you know what is best for your online business. All the best!