11 proven ways to optimize checkout process to improve sales

How to optimize the checkout process: 11 proven ways to improve sales

Converting visitors into buyers is one of the biggest challenges eCommerce store owners face.

Around 70% of shoppers leave a website during the checkout process and every lost customer is lost profit

If you’re a store owner and you want to learn how to optimize the checkout process, you’re in luck.

In this article we’ll share actionable tips and strategies you can apply to optimize checkout.

All designed to improve the overall user experience and increase conversions.

Checkout page optimization is about listening to what your customers need. A great user experience can improve profits.

What is checkout page optimization?

Checkout page optimization aims to minimize hurdles and streamline the user journey. The goal is to drive visitors seamlessly towards a purchase and remove anything that gets in the way.

Key elements of eCommerce conversion

Conversion is the end goal for every online store. How you go about that may differ but the key elements you’ll use are the same.

Techniques can include:

  • A convincing product page with all essential information
  • Lots of product images so people know exactly what they are buying
  • A creatively designed cart to show product(s) details and the total amount the customer has to pay
  • User registration option (optional)
  • A streamlined checkout page
  • Payment confirmation page
  • Thank you page (optional but very useful)

Let’s now discuss how we can optimize the entire user journey for higher conversion.

11 Strategies to optimize checkout

Optimizing the eCommerce checkout process aims to minimize distractions and guide the visitor to making a purchase.

Here are some proven strategies you can use to improve your checkout process to make it more efficient.

1. Number of checkout pages

number of checkout pages - single page vs multipage

Is a single page checkout better than a multi-page checkout?

There is no right or wrong approach. Some stores use single page checkout, while others use multi-page checkout.

Whichever checkout layout you prefer depends on your business model and how you want to serve your audience.

A typical single page checkout will have all the information a user needs to complete the purchase.

Bellroy is an excellent example of an eCommerce store with a single page checkout. The company sells travel accessories including bags and wallets.

bellroy store: single page checkout example

When the user arrives at the checkout page, they know the page offers everything they need to complete the purchase.

This approach helps visitors see instantly what’s required.

A single page checkout can also be challenging when:

  • Users have to enter lots of information in one place which can be overwhelming
  • You want to analyze page performance as you may struggle to know which part of the page needs attention

A multi-page checkout breaks the buying process down into 3 – 5 logical steps. Users can easily interact with fewer elements on each page which improves the overall experience.

A good example of a beautifully designed multi-page checkout is Etsy.

The website allows users to complete the purchase in three steps – Delivery, Payment and Review.

Etsy secure checkout

As you can see, page titles are simple and clearly explain what users should expect next.

choose payment method

If designed properly, multi-page checkout is easier:

  • For users to enter accurate information on a less cluttered interface
  • For store owners to analyze accurately how users interact at various stages
  • For brands to collect basic user information in the first step such as email to retarget lost customers

While a multi-page checkout offers many benefits, it can slow down the buying process on less optimized pages.

2. Allow guest checkout

allow guest checkout

How does it feel when you want to purchase an item but the store asks you to create an account first?

Usually, having to create an account is friction that doesn’t usually result in a sale.

We recommend offering a guest checkout option so customers are not forced to create an account just so they can buy from your store.

A recent Baymard study tells us that 24% of online stores lost sales because they forced customers to create an account before making a purchase.

We know how important user data is for marketing purposes. But is it worth it to keep losing customers over and over?

It would be more productive to give customers the option to either create an account or continue with guest checkout.

Offering express checkout is another measure you can take to streamline conversion

By using quick payment methods such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Amazon Pay or Samsung Pay, you’re providing maximum flexibility, which should result in more sales.

3. Offer multiple payment options

multiple payment options

Every customer will have their own payment preferences. If they don’t find a payment method they use, you’ll likely lose the sale.

It is possible to overcome this blocker by offering a variety of payment options. They can include credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, and other digital wallets.

Just to give you an idea, 432 million people use PayPal around the world.

Similarly, Canada, Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom are among the top countries that use credit cards for payments.

Here are some of the popular payment methods to give customers choice:

  • Credit/Debit card
  • PayPal
  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay
  • Amazon Pay
  • Boleto
  • Stripe
  • Online transfer
  • Wire transfer

4. Implement security measures

security trust badge

What do you do if you don’t trust a website with your personal data?

It is very likely that you’ll leave and go elsewhere!

Approximately 18% of shoppers in that same Baymard survey say that they would not trust an online store with their private information because of security concerns.

To build trust with your customers, you need to show them that you have taken steps to protect their personal information.

For instance, you can show trust badges throughout your website and especially on checkout pages.

Here are a few of the most important security measures you should be taking to build trust:

  • Use an SSL certificate
  • Opt for secure hosting and add security plugins
  • Use a safe checkout seal
  • Add payment processor badges
  • Security badges from companies like Norton
  • Money back guarantee badge or notification

As a store owner, website security should be your top priority.

Make sure your customers know how seriously you take it and what measures you’re using to protect them.

5. A clear return policy

a clear return policy

Having a return policy is not just a good thing to have for brick and mortar stores. It’s a must-have for online stores as well.

If you buy something from a physical store, you have the opportunity to examine the product before you make your decision.

With online shopping, you can only check the product when it’s delivered.

Even if it’s a digital product, customers would be happy if the seller offered a money-back guarantee.

Whether you sell a small pen or an expensive mobile phone, a clear return policy contributes hugely to converting visitors into customers.

6. Be transparent throughout

a clear order summary

Another common reason customers rethink a purchase is when they see a price change they didn’t expect.

Unexpected shipping costs, taxes and any extra fees are usually enough to put people off buying from you.

Customers are more likely to buy when everything is clearly visible throughout the process.

They feel comfortable taking action if they know:

  • The details of the product they intend to purchase, such as size and color
  • The cost of the product
  • Shipping charges they need to pay, if any
  • Free delivery options such as minimum quantity or order value

Here are some useful measures to avoid any surprises at checkout:

  • Show an order summary throughout the buying process
  • If multiple costs are involved, break them down and show the costs separately along with the final price
  • Absorb shipping costs or add it to the product price
  • Tell customers clearly how much they need to spend to qualify for free shipping

With these valuable measures, customers will know from the beginning what they are buying and how much they need to spend.

7. Show a progress bar

Show a progress bar on checkout page

Human brains have a natural ability to set expectations and are more likely to complete challenges when clearly defined.

Progress bars visually communicate what is ahead and how much time it will take to complete a process.

It serves a similar purpose during checkout.

A progress indicator will increase the chances of your customers sticking with the process until the end.

To make your checkout process more interactive:

  • A progress bar should ideally be positioned at the top of the page. Human eyes are naturally drawn to this place when they load a page
  • Each step in the progress indicator should be clickable to allow users to go back if required
  • The progress bar should be able to visually show the completion
  • Titles should match each stage
  • Your progress indicator can also show confirmation of having captured information successfully

8. Customer support

customer support

When a customer is in the middle of a purchase, being able to assist them could mean the difference between making the sale or losing it.

Here are some of the ways you can convert customers with quick support:

  • A chatbot to answer the most common beginner to mid-level queries
  • A knowledge base for guiding customers through different processes
  • A FAQ section for giving customers quick information about common questions
  • Chatting with a human for more specific issues

An effective customer support system can win the hearts and sales of customers, which can result in more loyalty and more profit.

9. Optimize your eCommerce website

optimize your ecommerce website

Whether you are new to running an eCommerce store or an experienced retailer, you will hear about website optimization often.

In reality, there is no one magic button that you can push in order to solve all of your website optimization problems.

It involves a comprehensive strategy and you need to take a number of steps to accomplish the task.

Two of the key steps are:

  • Website speed
  • Responsive design

Having a slow website is one of the biggest hurdles eCommerce stores face.

According to eCommerce Speed Hub 68.9% of shoppers leave the website when page load time exceeds 6 seconds.

Your website optimization strategy should start with choosing:

  • The right web hosting provider
  • A powerful CMS such as WordPress
  • A multipurpose and eCommerce-friendly theme such as Astra
  • A fast, powerful all-in-one eCommerce plugin such as SureCart

If you’ve chosen a responsive theme like Astra, you will have no reason to worry.

Astra is a professionally designed theme suitable for any device type. Its Starter Templates library is an ultimate resource for eCommerce stores, blogs or any kind of website.

The best part about this theme is that you can customize it fully to your needs.

10. Use A/B testing

A/B testing to test checkout page performance

Typically, A/B testing is used to assess how different segments of your online store perform as a way of determining what works and what doesn’t.

For instance, you can create an additional checkout page with the guest checkout option as well as your standard checkout.

Testing the performance difference between the two versions will help you choose a more optimized checkout page.

Similarly, A/B testing of single-page checkout versus multiple-page checkout will help you determine which results are more effective.

While it looks easier said than done, A/B testing requires a considered approach.

If your website sells multiple products in different regions, your A/B testing may give you different results each time you test a product in different regions.

11. Retargeting campaign

retarget campaign

No matter how efficient the checkout process is, there will be a certain percentage of cart abandonment.

Whatever the reason was, if a customer filled in the email field and left the website later for any reason, you still have a chance.

Here are some of the ways you can retarget an almost lost customer.

  • Run retargeting ads on social media to get back customers where they left off
  • Send a series of emails to remind customers of a product they wish to buy. If done correctly, retargeting emails have the highest ROI
  • Make your emails enticing by adding incentives like a discount when they return
  • Cart recovery tools are highly effective. Use them for more conversions

While running campaigns through your company’s email, make sure to setup DMARC to protect enhance your email security and protect your brand’s reputation, providing an opportunity to re-engage customers to your sites.

Checkout page optimization with SureCart

surecart ecommerce plugin

SureCart is a powerful all-in-one eCommerce solution idea for online stores.

It is a cloud-based eCommerce solution that processes every transaction remotely.

Since it runs seamlessly with WordPress, you will be able to access everything from your dashboard with the click of a button.

SureCart comes with lots of built-in features that ensure a smooth customer experience and optimize the checkout process.

Let’s take a look at how SureCart can help optimize the checkout process.

Feature strength: Excellent = ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Poor = ⭐️

FeaturesFeature strength
Multiple designs for checkout pages⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Checkout page design customization⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Cart customization⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Guest checkout⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Multiple payment options⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Payment flexibility⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Sales tax and VAT management⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Coupon management⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Built-in security measures⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Plugin speed⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Abandoned cart recovery⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Final thoughts

As an eCommerce store owner you need to deal with many things to reduce lost sales.

You want to create a site that engages users so that they naturally flow towards checkout.

This is where you need to be extra careful if you want more sales and higher profits.

This article provides actionable tips on how to optimize the checkout process that increases sales.

Implement these measures step by step and use A/B testing techniques to discover the results of changes to your eCommerce store.

Hopefully you’ll see some amazing results!

If you’ve just created your store, which technique do you want to apply first? We would love to hear about your experience in the comments.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may receive a small commission. Read disclosure. Rest assured that we only recommend products that we have personally used and believe will add value to our readers. Thanks for your support!

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