4 tips to improve your online checkout page

4 ways to improve checkout

The checkout page should make it easy for customers to provide their details and move on. At this stage the customer has committed to buy and wants to get through this section as quickly as possible.

How can you improve your online checkout page? It needs to be smooth and secure, whilst only asking for the minimum information.

I think we have probably all tried to buy something online, but the checkout process has been so arduous that you’ve actually abandoned the purchase out of sheer frustration.

If you want to understand what cart abandonment could mean financially for your business, there is a great article here. It provides different way to calculate this loss. This can be helpful if you need to present a substantiated rationale to your team to improve your checkout page.

I have identified 4 different sections of your checkout page which directly impact on checkout abandonment rates. Get them right and conversion rates will go up. Make sure your e-commerce site is reaching its true sales potential. Don’t let yourself down at the final hurdle.

  1. Address
  2. Delivery
  3. Payment
  4. Customer service information

Simple changes to the above, could have a really positive impact on sales.

Address

The address should be clear and easy to complete. If relevant, make sure the autofill is on and logical. Anything you already know about the visitor should be completed already. These days people don’t expect to have to input their entire address. I am a big fan of predictive search in address lookup. The double click approach whereby the visitor enters their house number/name and postcode and then selects from a list of possible addresses is simple, popular and easy to use. Anything that makes it easier for the customer is a winner. This may all seem very basic but I am often surprised how many websites I come across that haven’t bothered to include simple things which can speed things up considerably for your customer.

Some e-commerce sites, normally from sectors that see themselves as ‘down with the kids’, will use a ‘fresh’ or different layout for their address section. I would suggest this is unnecessary and can often cause confusion. The more ‘traditional’ form layout, with the label outside the box and a border just around the form field is usually the best. Customers are used to this design. They have already committed to buy, providing the form in a style with which they are accustomed, may make it easier for them to complete.

Make sure it is frustration free. If the customer presses the back button don’t make them complete the address section again. We all know how irritating this can be!

Think about how your checkout page will appear on a mobile or tablet. The form needs to be relatively large and clear. Remember someone actually needs to be able to press the buttons with their fingers. The form should not be so small (i.e. before the user has enlarged it) that it is impossible to complete. The form also needs to work when rotated from portrait to landscape. Thinking about these simple user requirements will reduce checkout abandonment rates.

Delivery

The delivery section should be simple and clear. I don’t think anyone particularly enjoys completing a web form. The longer and more complex it is for your visitor, the more frustrating it will feel. Given that you are only moments away from making a sale, don’t ask for unnecessary information or make things complicated. Here are a few ideas that will speed things up for your customers:

  • Use the customers IP address to geolocate where they are in the world. Don’t make them scroll through Azerbaijan to Timbuktu, if you know they are in the UK, then pre-populate this field for them.
  • Set the delivery address as the default billing address. Or include the option to check a box so that the delivery information is pre-selected from the billing address. This takes the headache out of completing this information twice.
  • Include a link or pop-up that explains what the different postage options mean. Not everyone understands the difference. Having to look this information up adds another unnecessary step to the purchasing process.
  • For some websites, it may be worth testing a ‘complete your order in the next x minutes and we will send it today’. Sometimes including a sense of urgency can help secure the purchase. Amazon use this technique to good effect.

Payment

Once again this step is critical to the buying process. It needs to be simple, clear and function well. When I am working with e-commerce companies, things that I look out for include:

  • Have all the main navigation links been removed? If not, they should be. There shouldn’t be anything on this page which distracts the customer away from the task in hand.
  • Customers are very security conscious these days, make sure your site instills confidence in the buyer with secure payment logos and Feefo ‘trusted merchant’ if relevant.
  • It helps to format the credit or debit card fields so they are the same as the customers actual card. Once they have selected their method of payment, make sure the boxes that appear are in line with those on the card e.g. if the numbers appear in blocks of four, then that is also how the form should appear. This makes things easier for the visitor and gives the payment fields more credibility.
  • Use iconography to show the customer where they are in the buying journey. This is relevant for all the above steps.

I could write a stand along post on how to simplify the payment process, whilst maintaining online security. However, in the interests of brevity, the above four ideas are simple fixes that I come across time and time again.

Customer service information

If is often helpful to include the customer service links on the final checkout page as well. Customers usually feel more at ease if you include statements like “Have a question? Do get in touch. We would love to help you”. This should either be a link or should be followed directly by a phone number, live chat, an e-mail address and/or web form.

Do show the returns policy as a sales feature on this page. This will encourage buyer confidence. If they can clearly see that they have 30 days to return their item, free of charge, then that will often give the customer the extra reassurance they need to press the ‘buy now’ button.

Most websites want you to buy something, be it a product or service. Difficult, confusing or just not user friendly online checkouts, can be a really blockage to a visitor becoming a customer. Make things as easy as possible with the best checkout experience.