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So Long, Abandoned Carts: 3 Ways to Optimize Your Checkout Process

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Jun 22, 2022

Nicole Hanson

It’s no secret that customer experience has become one of the most important factors in a shopper’s purchase decision. A tailored customer experience that speaks to an individual customer’s needs will have them coming back for more, whereas a poor one will have them telling anyone who will listen not to buy from your brand. 

While it is paramount to offer a great customer experience from start to finish, your checkout process is perhaps the most important area of your e-commerce website to optimize. The more friction a customer encounters in the checkout process, the lower their odds of conversion become. But when you provide a truly seamless checkout experience, you can improve your customer loyalty and decrease cart and checkout abandonment rates.

Here are 3 ways that you can optimize your checkout process and drive more purchases.

1. Offer various payment options

With so many different payment platforms available to consumers (e.g. PayPal, Apple Pay) you want to make sure you offer as many options as possible to cater to a large audience of shoppers. If a shopper regularly uses a payment method on other e-commerce sites that you don’t offer, they’ll likely turn to another brand that can provide a smoother, faster checkout experience. Be sure to do regular research into the most popular payment methods in your industry by looking at what similar brands offer and seeing what your customers have to say, either through surveys or customer support logs.

As more buy now, pay later (BNPL) options like Afterpay and Klarna become popular, you should also consider adding one if it’s the right fit for your brand and audience. Clothing and electronics purchases make up the vast majority of BNPL purchases. Not to mention, nearly 75% of BNPL customers are Gen Z and Millennials, which makes these payment options a good fit for brands with a younger clientele. No matter which payment options you choose to offer, be sure to list these options on your cart page so a customer can decide whether or not they want to complete their purchase before they’re halfway through the checkout process.

American Eagle makes it easy for shoppers to choose between multiple payment options like gift cards, credit cards, PayPal, and Afterpay when checking out.

2. Display shipping fees and taxes as early as possible

Just like seeing their payment options up front, a customer wants to know as soon as possible how much they’ll have to pay in taxes and shipping costs as this often makes or breaks their purchase decision. It is essential to display standard shipping costs and taxes either on the cart page or the first checkout page and not right before the customer hits ‘submit’. 

While you need a customer’s address to properly calculate taxes, you should still estimate the sales tax if you have location information from their browser. If you have a free shipping threshold that the customer hasn’t yet met, add a progress bar to the top of your cart and checkout pages to encourage them to hit that amount and save on shipping costs. Of course, be sure to clearly communicate your free shipping threshold, standard shipping costs, and any pickup in-store options on your homepage and product detail pages.

Bath & Body Works displays their standard shipping costs and estimated sales tax on their initial checkout page.

3. Remove distractions from your checkout pages

When a customer has taken the steps to add an item to their cart and begin the checkout process, you don’t want to risk any distractions before they can convert. Using a closed checkout (or hiding the navigation menu on your checkout pages) is a simple way to remove distractions and keep the customer moving through the checkout process. 

Aside from removing your navigation, using a simple, clean layout on your pages and having the customer’s cart items visible at all times are two other tactics you can use to keep the customer focused on the task at hand: conversion. If your checkout process is more than one page long, you should also consider adding a progress bar like Native does below so the customer knows how many steps are left before they can complete their purchase.

Native removes their navigation menu from their checkout pages to avoid any potential distractions.

Conclusion

A seamless checkout experience is like a breath of fresh air for your customers. The more you can optimize and simplify this process, the more customers will complete their purchases and come back again and again. 

For even more tips to optimize your e-commerce website, check out these articles: