Ecommerce Checkout Process - 7 Tips for Optimizing It
Updated: Jun 20, 2018
The customer has found his way into your online shop and now wants to order one or the other product. Now nothing stands in the way of completing the order. Stop: the
checkout process. According to an ibi research study from 2015, the average dropout rate here is 39%. So how can you overcome this last hurdle with the least possible drop-
out rate? Transparency of costs, trust-building elements and an optimal shopping cart layout are indispensable. A large variety of payment options and shipping service
providers is expected by customers more and more. The reduction of the customer's information to the essentials is certainly not to be underestimated. Just like maintaining
communication with customers after a successful order. Here you will find the most important tips for all these topics.
Optimize checkout process
1. A user-friendly design of the checkout process
Many people prefer a convenient online shopping experience in a large shopping mall. As a result, customers in an online shop pay attention not only to prices or product
diversity, but also to user-friendliness and transparency. But how do you generate that?
• Trust-building elements
On the one hand, trust-building elements, such as the online seal of quality of the retailer association or the seal of approval from another relevant body , and an authentic
and professional appearance from the start page are mandatory. This demonstrates the seriousness of your online shop and gives customers a sense of security.
• Visual checkout process
Also very important for online shoppers is a visual checkout process. Show your customers a progress bar to show them at which step of the checkout process they are each.
Every completed step seems like a small sense of achievement. However, do not finalize the completed steps. Give your customers the option to navigate back to sub-steps and
to check them.
• streamlined checkout process
The easier and faster a customer is guided through the checkout process, the better. But do you really succeed in shortening the checkout process to one step? Mostly not.
Because a single step means completing a long form. Errors can creep in more easily, it is usually confusing and has a demotivating effect on the customer. A lean checkout
process with a maximum of five steps is optimal in the experience.
The online shop Bon Prix behaves exemplary and visualizes the four-step checkout process for its customers.
2. The optimal layout of the shopping cart
Your customers have found in your online shop and put the selected product in the cart. So far so good. But saving the article in the shopping cart is not the same as a
successful order. There are, however, some aspects of a shopping cart that can reduce shopping cart abandonment rate through optimization.
• No automatic forwarding to the shopping cart
Imagine you would be sent to the cashier in the mall each time you put something in your car. Better are pop-ups here, which make it clear to the customer that they have put
their selected product in the shopping cart. In this way you avoid a loss of orientation of your customers due to a page change and an interruption of the purchase.
• Correct display of product image and description
Make sure your product images and descriptions in the shopping cart are displayed correctly. Display the selected product in the correct colour to avoid customer uncertainty.
Please also inform them about the availability and delivery time of the item. Also the number, the size and a link to the product is appreciated by customers.
• Easy customization options
Easy removal, adjustment and editing of the product is mandatory. It is best to do this without resorting to the product.
• Transparency in costing
Assign shipping and other costs as early as possible. Include these costs also visibly in the final amount. This cost transparency gives confidence. The shopping cart is also
the perfect place to point out a free return if you offer it. In this sense, you can immediately draw the customer's attention to his right of exchange.
• Meaningful buttons
A long search for the "checkout" button is demotivating for customers who wanted to shop conveniently, and often leads to a purchase abandonment. Highlight important buttons,
such as "continue shopping" and "checkout", in different colours. This will immediately catch the customer's eye.
• Session storage
The customer has put products in his cart and leaves the shop. There are many reasons for this. Not to forget here that this can also be a mistake or the customer wants to
think about his purchase for a few days before ordering. The customer calls the website again hours or days later and finds out that their shopping cart has been deleted. A
very annoying moment for the buyer. Give your customers the opportunity to save the shopping cart. If an email address exists, you can inform the customer about the remaining
But how do you, as an online retailer, handle items that are not many in stock? Let your customers also save these items in their shopping cart. Put a countdown for them
though. If this has almost expired, point it out to the respective customer. If there is still no purchase, delete the item from their cart.
• Effective tunnelling
Once the customer has decided on one or more products, you should not distract them from the actual ordering process. Tunnelling is the keyword. By hiding cross-selling
products or redundant information, you reduce their attention to the pure checkout process.
The online shop Otto makes it. The selected product can be easily removed, edited and even moved to the notepad. The delivery time and availability are displayed. The cost
transparency and the reference to the entry of coupon codes also have a positive effect on purchasing. The navigation bar prepares and guides the customer to the checkout
process. In addition, the button "Checkout" in two copies highlighted. Nothing distracts the customer more from the ordering process.
3. The possibility of guest access
The registration process is an unpopular topic especially for new customers. New customers want and should be able to convince themselves first of all of the service and
offer of their online shop, before they register themselves voluntarily. Give your customers the choice and only point them out after a successful order on the advantages of
a customer account. Also a note like: "You still have the possibility to set up a customer account after your order, in order to avoid the typing work with later purchases"
gives the customer the feeling of being able to reconsider this decision.
4. Only need to specify the most necessary data
For most people, the specification of many personal data when ordering online is a sensitive issue. Here's the motto: ask as much information as you need, but as little as
possible. Point your customers to privacy. When requesting personal data, the design of the form is not a matter of taste. Here are some basic rules to follow. So the rough
order is quasi given: salutation - name - address - etc. In addition, there are many more points to note in the information query:
• Flag mandatory fields
Typically, the online retailer needs three personal details of their customers: the name, address, and email address for order and shipping confirmations. Obviously mark
these mandatory fields, for example with the help of asterisks.
• Give reasons for certain information
Do you query information that has no apparent value for the order and delivery? Then give reasons why customers can or should provide this information. Make sure your reasons
are always traceable.
Here, H & M sets a good example and provides a reasonable reason for the date of birth.
• Live validation
Provide your customers with an immediate error message when entering information if the information does not match the field. The same applies the other way round. Confirm
correct information of the customer, as soon as this has been entered. People prefer an instant reward to a delayed reward.
Here, too, H & M is at the forefront and asks customers for a wrong indication immediately for fixing.
• Explanation window next to difficult to understand fields
Some information fields are less understandable to some people than others. For example, some may not realize what the security code of a credit card is. Attach info-icons
next to the corresponding fields and answer the customer's questions there, also visually.
Do not leave the customer alone in the ordering process. Provide contact options. A live chat, a free telephone hotline or a FAQs are a great help to customers.
• Smart selection boxes
The billing address corresponds to the delivery address? Do not let the customer fill in all the data again. Smart selection boxes store the entries of the customers. So you
save this annoying typing. This can also be saved, for example, by letting customers select their birthday via a calendar.
Summarize the key information typed by the customer in the last step of the checkout process. Thus, the buyer is given the opportunity to verify his data one last time on the
5. A variety of payment options
According to the ibi research study from 2015, 45% of purchases are cancelled when customers have to choose a payment method. But why is that? Tastes are different with
payment options. Your task is now to offer a variety of payment methods to meet as many different tastes. The payment in advance, PayPal, direct debit and credit card are
just some of the most popular payment methods. Promote the variety of payment options in your online shop, if possible on your home page too.
Do you also ship your goods internationally? Keep in mind that people have different payment preferences depending on the country. Inquire about country-specific payment
For example, an ibi research study from 2014 shows that the payment methods of payment on account, PayPal and direct debit are among the top methods in Germany.
6. Checkmark yourself
The buyer may like to keep control. Nevertheless, many check boxes, such as newsletter subscriptions or the terms and conditions are already activated by default. This takes
the control away from the customer. In the worst case, the customer overlooks the appropriate check mark and gets unwanted newsletter and Co sent.
7. Maintain emotions after ordering
The customer has completed the checkout process and is happy that his selected products are soon on their way to him. However, your communication with the customer does not
• Order confirmation and tracking
Give the customer the possibility to print or save the summary of his order. This assures the customer that everything went well with the order and thus addresses the
emotions of the customer. He is convinced again that the order was a good decision. Keep the customer up to date with the order: When will it be sent? Where can I track this?
When can he expect the product? etc.
• Note on customer accounts
Now that the customer has successfully ordered his products, he is receptive to other things. As already announced, bring to the attention of the buyer the benefits of a
customer account. The data of the customers are saved and that saves on further purchases annoying typing.
• Receive feedback
After a successful order comes the optimal time for a short feedback from the customers. Often a star ranking of the order process ranges from one to five.
It has now become clear that the checkout process offers optimization possibilities in many areas. Of course, optimizing the checkout process does not guarantee higher sales.
However, it does offer your online shop a very good chance to reduce the purchase cancellation rate in the checkout process.