Recently, we looked at a cart abandonment recovery email which is sent when users leave a store with items in the cart and without completing checkout. Cart abandonment affects roughly 70% of all all online orders.

You can reduce this number for your store by optimizing your checkout so that customers don’t leave your store without completing their order. Store owners can benefit from beefing up the design and copy of their checkout pages as this is the last stage before a customer completes the transaction. This is the crucial stage where customers need to see the value and have trust in your store to give you their money.

Below are 10 tips you can use to optimize checkout for your eCommerce store that can help improve conversions.

Optimize checkout: 1. Free shipping

Free shipping is one of the most important factors for customers when considering a purchase, according to two studies (Study 1 and Study 2). This is a cost that customers wouldn’t have to pay if they walked into a store to purchase an item. This is one reason why free shipping plays a huge role in conversions as people have to justify the extra cost on top of the product prices.

You can offer and highlight free shipping on your store. You can offer unconditional free shipping (free shipping regardless of the products purchased or order amount), or put free shipping thresholds after a certain order amount. Although unconditional shipping can boost the most amount of conversions, you the thresholds can help you increase your average order value.

Optimize checkout: 2. Clear calls to action

The calls to action on your checkout pages should be specific and descriptive of the next steps. This is especially important when your checkout is spread over multiple pages.

Instead of using standard language like “Continue” or “Proceed”, define what the next steps are so that customers are not left guessing. For example, when customers are being led to the final order overview before payment, you the button text can say “Review Order”, and the final pay button can be “Pay to Complete Order”.

In addition, display the call to action buttons at the top and bottom of the pages to make it easy for customers to navigate forward.

Optimize checkout: 3. Streamlined forms

Depending on the eCommerce platform you use, the standard checkout form may contain fields that you don’t need. Review your checkout form to ensure that each field is useful to your business. Cutting down on the number of fields that customers have to fill can reduce the work they have to do before they can complete their purchase.

You can also use field validation to make sure customers know right away whether or not they’ve missed something or made an error while filling the form.

Here’s a video by A List Apart about what field validation looks like:

This way, customers are not given the error after they submit the form, to then having to correct the field with the problem.

Optimize checkout: 4. Price displays

The cost of the purchase is one of the major deterrents of customers completing the purchase. Although it is important to have detailed pricing on your checkout pages, you can minimize the prominence of prices so that the products and other areas are highlighted.

There are two ways of reducing this prominence: remove the dollar sign from price displays, and reduce the font size of prices on the checkout pages.

Optimize checkout: 5. Trust signals

There are a number of things you can do on your checkout pages to increase your customers’ trust in your store and their purchase. Since personal and credit card information security is important to reduce fraud, you can display trust seals on checkout pages to show that you have put thought into keeping this information secure.

optimize checkout WooCommerce Checkout Trust Seals

Checkout seals

In addition to trust seals and badges, you can highlight your return policy and any guarantees that you offer. This also appeases customers as they know they can return the items if they are not satisfied.

Optimize checkout: 6. Highlight value

Although you can reduce the prominence of prices, these still affect a customer’s decision to complete their order. To overcome this hesitation, your checkout pages need to show the extra value customers are getting by shopping with you.

This can include parts of your sales copy of why customers should pick your products, product ratings and testimonials, your customer service availability and statistics, and any money that customers may have saved due to a sale or promotion.

Optimize checkout: 7. User registration

User registration is important to grow your repeat customer base. However, if your require registration before customers complete their purchase, some customers may abandon the process. This is because customers may not be ready to register without trying out your products or having any other commitment to your store.

Instead, you can prompt users to register after they’ve completed their purchase as they already have a commitment (their order) with your store and would’ve provided majority of the information during the checkout anyway. You can prompt registration by offering that customers can easily track orders and view order history when they register.

Optimize checkout: 8. Product changes

Allow customers to change quantity and remove products in their order on the checkout pages. This keeps them in the checkout process and makes it easier to proceed.

Optimize checkout: 9. Gift options

Offer gift wrapping and special message options within the checkout process in case customers are purchasing for someone else. Mention that this also means that a receipt or price information will not be included in the package.

Optimize checkout: 10. Coupon codes

If you have active coupons that apply to all customers, show these at the bottom of your checkout pages. When customers see a coupon field in checkout, they can often go off your site to search for available coupons. By displaying coupons right on the checkout page, you prevent them from getting out of the checkout process, and create extra value in terms of savings.

Optimize checkout: Summary

The checkout pages are some of the most important areas on your store as these are the last pages customers see before they complete their purchase. Poorly designed checkout pages can lead to customers abandoning their cart without completing the transaction.

You can use the 10 tips outlined above to improve your checkout process and pages. These tips aim to reduce the effort customers have to put in to complete their order and show the most value possible to customers for shopping with your store.

For each of these tips, you can test specific changes for your store to see what works better for conversions. What works for one store may not work another store due to differences in the products, prices, target market, etc.

Are there things you’ve done to improve your checkout pages that have worked really well? Please tell us in the comments below.


Cover Photo Credit: halfrain (CC BY-SA 2.0 license)
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Posted by Jai Sangha

Jai is a regular contributor to Sell with WP, and helps merchants improve their WordPress eCommerce businesses with plugin reviews, marketing or customer service tips, and tutorials.

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