4 Proven Ways to Optimize Your eCommerce Checkout Process
August 22, 2019
by Tirtza Giles
Although checkout pages come at the bottom of the sales funnel, it would be a mistake to think of this critical step as marking the conclusion of the customer journey.
Because checkout is a major driver of customer satisfaction, it also presents a golden opportunity to invite your customers to come back to your online store in the future. Consumers don’t forget how smooth or rough a buying experience they’ve had on your site, and that impression often dictates whether you can expect them to visit again. In fact, in Namogoo’s survey of more than 1,300 online shoppers, over 75 percent of respondents said an easy checkout process is a factor that makes for a great online shopping experience.
That’s why checkout optimization helps you not only to “close the deal” and turn a visitor into a paying customer, but also to lay the groundwork for turning that customer into a repeat customer.
To help you achieve both of those goals, here are four keys to making the most of your checkout page – four useful lessons that we at Namogoo have learned from the companies we work with, from online shoppers, and from our own data on online traffic patterns:
1. Block injected ads
Customer Journey Hijacking (CJH) is a major problem throughout the sales funnel, using malware and WiFi connections to display unauthorized ads in order to divert consumers from one online store to another. These ads appear during 15-25% of all online shopping sessions, and in many cases they will trick a shopper into thinking they are part of the eCommerce site that that shopper is trying to view.
But as bothersome as these injected ads can be throughout the customer journey, they are particularly problematic when they appear at the very bottom of the sales funnel – which is exactly where they are most likely to show up. In fact, our large-scale data analysis found that these ads appear during 28.99% of all visits to checkout pages and a whopping 40.43% of all visits to order confirmation pages. It seems that the ad-injecting malware that drives CJH makes a point of targeting shoppers who are already ready to pay.
By blocking these ads from appearing on users’ digital devices, you can prevent the damage that they do to your customer experience and your bottom line. Namogoo has found that online retailers that take this step consistently see their conversion rates increase by 2-5%, boosting their revenue per visitor by 5-7%.
2. Require less input
Checkout is not the stage of your sales funnel where you want to add work for your customers. Once a shopper has their wallet out, it is important for them to encounter minimal friction so as not to fuel hesitation, doubt, or frustration. Not only does reducing this friction make it less likely that that you will lose a sale, but it decreases the chances that a customer will walk away with a negative impression of your company.
One particularly frustrating checkout experience for shoppers is needing to fill in the same information twice. In our survey of online shoppers, 63% of respondents cited this phenomenon as the “most frustrating part of the checkout process” on mobile devices, while 53% said the same of shopping on desktop or laptop computers.
While this is just one common pitfall to avoid, it is helpful to apply this focus on simplicity to your entire checkout experience.
3. Provide more detail, especially regarding delivery
While requesting as little information from customers as possible is an essential element of checkout optimization, it is important to provide them with plenty of information – particularly when it comes to setting realistic delivery expectations. The more detail you can give regarding delivery schedules, the more you’ll succeed in removing shoppers’ doubts and gaining their trust (and their business).
In our eBook The Customer Journey: A 360° View from Top eCommerce Executives, Samsonite’s VP of eCommerce, Jay Nigrelli, highlighted the value of specificity at the final stage of the customer journey.
“At checkout, it’s important to more effectively explain to your customers when they should expect to receive their delivery,” he said. “Instead of telling customers that we’re going to deliver in 4-10 business days, we can use information about where we’re shipping that order from to tell them exactly when it will arrive or at least give them a better range, and keep them updated on where their product is in the fulfillment process.”
4. Make mobile checkout and payments the easiest part of the customer journey
Consumer attention spans are difficult to capture on desktop, but that difficulty pales in comparison to the challenge presented by mobile devices.
In The Customer Journey: A 360° View from Top eCommerce Executives, Jason LeBoeuf, then director of eCommerce at ASICS, emphasized the need to reduce the friction involved in mobile checkout by offering customers the most seamless payment options and the quickest path to getting there.
“As millennials grow you can expect the shift towards mobile to continue, so it’s critical to create a seamless mobile experience that lets you shop and check out more easily. Reducing friction means ensuring you have concise product info on mobile, make storing shipping and billing details easy, and accommodate the different payment processes people are using,” he explained. “You don’t want to force customers to have to come back, because more often than not, they won’t.”
Optimizing each and every customer’s checkout experience
By the time a shopper arrives at your checkout page, that individual is at the bottom of the sales funnel – but that doesn’t mean that a purchase is guaranteed. Getting that consumer to take those last steps and pay for your products (and to come back again in the future) still depends on providing them with a checkout experience that meets their needs.
That’s why it’s so important to focus on every customer when developing your checkout optimization plans. Some shoppers will be on desktop and laptop computers, while others will undoubtedly be shopping on their smartphones. Some may be enthusiastic enough about your products that they will be unfazed by the need to enter the same information twice, but others will not be so forgiving. Some may be happy just to know they will receive your product this week or next, but others will be unsatisfied with a customer experience that doesn’t tell them as precisely as possible when they should expect their new purchase to arrive.
And some will not view injected ads leading to your competitors’ online stores. But, unless these unauthorized ads are blocked, a significant portion of your customers are likely to see them while preparing to finalize their purchases.
How are injected ads impacting your online sales? To see the effect of Customer Journey Hijacking within your store, you can get an analysis of your eCommerce website for free.